Water damage is a year-round event that doesn't respect the calendar. As far as timing goes, the most predictable thing about water damage is it will happen at the least expected, most inconvenient time. Still, changing seasons make certain types of water damage more likely. Paying attention to those seasonal factors helps inform effective preventive measures. Here are some summer-related water damage issues to keep in mind:
On a humid summer day, the typical central air conditioner produces as much as 20 gallons of condensate. It's collected in the drip pan beneath the indoor air handler, then diverted down a drain line to your sewer. If the condensate drain line clogs, however, the drip pan will rapidly overflow every time the A/C cycles on. Spillage can be substantial and cause extensive water damage before anyone's aware of it.
Check the air handler drip pan weekly with a flashlight. It's normal for it to be wet when the A/C is operating. However, if you see standing water in the pan, turn off the unit and call a qualified HVAC service technician.
Keep your gutters clear and flowing free. Summer rains can be heavy. Water from clogged, overflowing gutters may seep behind exterior siding and into wall spaces. Soil directly below the gutters also becomes over-saturated from cascading water, potentially triggering basement leaks or foundation damage. If you have a basement sump pump, make sure the sump basin is clear of obstructions. Verify pump operation by pouring a few gallons of water into the basin.
There's no good time for household water damage. An especially bad time, however, is when you're away on vacation. A ruptured plumbing pipe, water heater or other leak can be literally catastrophic if nobody's home to deal with it when it happens. Locate your main water shutoff valve and test it now to see that it operates smoothly. Then, just before you leave for that well-deserved summer getaway, turn off water to the house at the valve.