Cast your own preventive spell to help limit fall and winter water damage

Couple dealing with water damage

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

The witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth had their own unique way to ward off evil – boil up a brew with some nasty ingredients to make the charm “firm and good.”

But even in this Halloween month when witches and goblins are rampant, homeowners shouldn’t rely on spells or good luck charms to prevent disasters, or even small problems, from arising. It’s much better to make your own luck with a good dose of protection and preventive measures to help make your home safe and secure from potentially disastrous water damage. To learn whether or not your home insurance covers flooding, the Good Hands Advice Team has provided a helpful guide you can find here.

To help protect your home from potential water damage, let’s look at this – literally – from top to bottom, with four key items to check at each level of the home:


  1. Roof and chimney: Do a visual inspection from the ground – binoculars or zooming in with your phone’s camera can help you get a better look to identify any potential issues. Ensure your roof shingles are in good shape and are lying flat and not curling up. Check to see if any appear to be sliding down – a sign they may be loose. Look at your chimney for signs of cracks in the masonry. Take photos of potential problems so you can inspect them closely or contact a professional roofer to determine if there are any action items needed to take to prevent water leaks.
  2. House cladding: Whether the outside of your house is brick, stone, stucco, siding, clapboard or something else, give it a good inspection too. Again, take photos of potential problem areas so an expert can give you advice about whether or not it needs to be fixed.
  3. Eavestroughs: Particularly after leaves have fallen, ensure your eavestroughs are clean for the winter so water can clear properly. If you’re doing it yourself, ensure you have someone with you to secure your ladder, wear gloves, strong shoes or work boots and be careful.
  4. Look up: Remember to look up at any tree branches that hang over your property and have dead or unsecured branches removed promptly before snow, ice and wind increases the chances they might fall and damage your property.


  • Eavestrough outlets: Check to see if water can flow easily from your eavestrough outlets and that the flow is directed away from the house’s foundation. Consider adding flexible extensions to the outlets if necessary.
  • Foundations: Check your foundation for cracks that could let water in, pay particular attention to new ones or any that have grown. Take photos so you can monitor if they change and have an expert see what needs to be done before the cracks risk causing a considerable amount of damage.
  • Leaky taps or slow-running drains: These are warning signs that there’s a plumbing issue that could become a serious disaster if not dealt with. If you notice any issues with your plumbing call a plumber immediately.
  • Winterize hose outlets: Close the indoor taps that control water flow to outdoor hose outlets and drain the outdoor portion to prevent freezing and cracked pipes that could result in serious water damage.
  • We’ve provided great tips for closing your pool for the summer, click here to learn more.


  1. Drainage from house: During a rainstorm, check the places and ways water drains away from your house to ensure no big pools form. If you’ve noticed slow sewer drainage from your house, get it checked by an expert. Learn more about your sewer and water lines here.
  2. Sump pump: If you have a sump pump to remove water from your basement, ensure it is in good working order, including its drain. If your sump pump comes on often, consider getting a generator or battery backup so it will continue to operate during power failures.
  3. Backflow valve: Ensure you have a sewage backflow valve that can help prevent water and waste from flowing backwards into your basement from the city sewer.
  4. Main water valve: Make sure everyone in your house (the kids, too) knows where the main water valve is and how to shut it off quickly. This simple action can make a huge difference in limiting water damage if a sudden pipe leak occurs. It’s also very useful for everyone to know how to quickly cut off water flow to an individual tap or toilet by closing the valves under the sink or toilet tank.

An ounce of prevention and preparation is worth more than any witches’ brew to ward off the evil spirits of water damage and make your house “firm and good”. And to ensure your home insurance is also “firm and good”, contact your Allstate agency or find one here.

Disclaimer: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.