Most homeowners feel like they have a never-ending to-do list when it comes to maintaining their home and property. With so many daily chores to take care of, along with regular upkeep and repairs, a small toilet leak may find itself low on your priority list. However, a small leak can quickly become a big problem. Water damage remains the leading cause of Canadian home insurance claims,1 and any sign of a toilet malfunction or leak should be addressed right away.
How much damage can a leaking toilet cause?
The overall damage caused by a leaking toilet will depend on the nature of the problem, how soon you notice it and where in your home the toilet is located.
According to Canadian Underwriter, it’s not uncommon to see water damage claims of over $100,000 in connection with a malfunctioning toilet.2 These claims are often the result of a broken supply line and occur when the supply line that feeds water into the toilet tank degrades and feeds water on to your floor instead. Unfortunately, most homeowners won’t notice their toilet’s supply line is damaged until the leak has already caused damage, resulting in costly repairs.
The location of the toilet is also a key factor in assessing the total damage. For example, if the toilet is located in the basement of your home with few objects around it, the damage can be relatively minor. However, if your toilet is located in an upper level of your home, the damage can quickly spread through all levels below and could leave you with a six-figure repair bill.
How do I reduce the potential for damage once I’ve noticed a leak?
As soon as you notice a leak, shut off the toilet’s water supply at the valve by turning the handle clockwise.3 On newer models, there may be a small lever that requires only a quarter turn clockwise to shut off the water. The shut-off valve is usually located close to the wall behind the toilet tank. Once the water supply has been shut off, contact a trusted professional right away.
While you wait for the plumber to arrive, move all objects out of the path of the water and try to keep the area dry to avoid further damage. If the leak is a result of a clog, remember to follow appropriate health and safety protocols for handling sewage – you should be wearing gloves and goggles at all times to limit your risk of exposure to potentially harmful contaminents.
Water damage can be expensive and frustrating, risking harm not only to your home, but also to your possessions and the wellbeing of the people inside. With regular visual inspections of the toilets in your home, along with swift action at the first sign of a problem, you could minimize the overall damage. Even with these precautions, it’s important to know that you’re covered if a leak goes undetected.
Call your OTIP insurance broker today at 1-800-267-6847 to ensure that you have the coverage you need to protect your home and belongings in the unfortunate event of serious water damage. If you’d like to get a quote for home insurance, call 1-866-561-5559.
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1. Canadian Underwriter
2. Canadian Underwriter
3. Home Tips