What’s the cost of water damage in the home?

Thad White profile image November 13, 2019 | 4 min read
The impact of water damage can be surprising. For example, a small pipe leak can accumulate over time into damage to your drywall and subfloor, and may even require mold remediation. Or, leaks from a failing dishwasher could mean you’ll have to repair both kitchen cabinets and flooring, in addition to replacing the appliance.How much should you expect to spend if you have water damage in your home? Let’s review average repair costs and how much it costs to take preventative measures.

What are the average costs of water damage?

On average, it costs between $1,143 and $4,422 to repair and clean up water damage.For any individual incident, an estimate can be obtained by factoring in the square footage that’s affected, the severity of the event, and the degree of household damage. For example, a small leak that’s resolved quickly will cost much less than a burst pipe that saturates walls, insulation, and subflooring.Additionally, the type of water can significantly affect clean-up costs. Water damage from a leaky faucet, broken pipe, or water heater is classified as clean water, costing about $3.75 per square foot for repairs. Costs will increase for repairing damage from grey water, which contains detergents or contaminants. For example, water damage from dishwashers and washing machines costs about $4.50 per square foot to repair. The most expensive cleanup comes from black water, which contains contaminants that can cause serious health risks. For example, repairing water damage that resulted from sewage backups, flooding, contaminated groundwater, or storm surges would cost about $7 per square foot.Average water damage cost is $2,999An additional consideration is the cost of mold remediation. Mold will start growing within one to two days after moisture is present, and mold removal can cost an average from $2,225 up to $6,000 for large jobs. The presence of mold can have serious health consequences, and extensive mold removal can get quite expensive if standing water isn’t removed quickly.Depending upon the extent of the damage in your home, you may want to contact your insurance company. This can be a way to avoid paying for the total cost out of pocket. This process will likely begin by taking photos of the affected area.Keep in mind that your homeowner’s insurance may not cover damage from flooding if you don’t have a separate flood insurance policy. FEMA estimates that in a flood, just 1 inch of water will cost $23,635 in repairs plus an additional $3,172 in personal property loss. When flooding reaches a depth of one foot, costs are significantly higher, averaging $39,845 damage to the home and $32,317 in personal property loss.

4 Water Damage Prevention Tips

Rather than waiting until water damage occurs, you can be proactive about addressing potential water issues in your home. Whether you’re concerned about failing appliances, leaky pipes, or a flooded basement, these four strategies can help you prepare for a potential water event. Notably, the cost of these preventative measures is much lower than the costs you could face to repair water damage.

1. Smart Water Sensors

With today’s smart sensors, you can be notified immediately if water is detected. Rather than waiting until you discover the incident in person, a phone alert from an Ooma Water Sensor can give you the information to act quickly. With a water leak, damage can accumulate, and your response time can reduce the cost of repairs. Consider a situation where you come home from work to realize that a burst pipe in your basement has been leaking water for the past eight hours. If you received an instant notification on your phone, you could face significantly less water damage.Add an Ooma Water Sensor underneath your sinks to monitor your pipes, next to your washer to monitor for a failure, in your basement to watch out for flooding, and next to your sump pump to make sure it’s working.Cost: Only $29.99 each, and an optional fee for subscribing to the Ooma Secure plan

2. Automatic Sump Pump

If you live in a flood zone, the path of hurricanes, or frequently experience flooding, installing an automatic sump pump can be an effective way to remove water from basements or lower levels. Many of today’s sump pumps can be triggered to turn on automatically if water is detected. Keep in mind that installation can be an intensive process. Additionally, sump pumps require electricity, so if your power goes out, you’ll need a backup power source, such as a generator.Cost: $1,044 on average

3. Insulate Pipes and Seal Drafts

In the frigid winter months, plumbers can be very busy responding to burst pipes. Before the cold weather arrives, take steps to prevent water problems by adding insulation to your pipes or applying heat tape. Additionally, inspect your structure for drafts. An attached garage, foundation crack, or unheated closet could all potentially cause frozen pipes.Cost: $125-$350 plumber estimate

4. Maintain Exterior Drainage Systems

If you’re concerned about environmental sources of water damage, such as rain or a high water table, home repair strategies can mitigate potential damage. For example, keeping gutters clean and extending downspouts can help direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation. You may also need to reconsider the grading and landscaping of the area around your home to home to make sure that water is flowing away from your house rather than toward it. Additionally, you may be able to prevent water damage by installing a French drain that uses gravity to direct water away from your house.Cost: $100-$5,000Learn how the Ooma Water Sensor is a smart solution that can help you avoid water damage.