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Water Damage in Churches
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Like any other structure, churches are prone to water damage if the right circumstances are in play. Because they are largely uninhabited for much of the week, it becomes even more possible for water leaks or damage to go unnoticed for extended periods, until the problem has firmly established itself and the cost to repair has become substantial.
Water damage can damage or ruin hymnals, pews, and carpeting, destroy computer equipment, and delay or cause cancellation of worship services. Like any structure, though, water damage in churches can be avoided by a little judicious inspection of certain areas on a regular basis.
Prevention Tips during Winter Months
During the winter months, turn down the heat to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to conserve energy. You should also inspect all piping to make sure that they have adequate insulation.
Some areas of the building may remain unheated for extended periods, such as gymnasiums or fellowship halls, so drain all water from the pipes in these buildings. Many have a drain plug in their system that can be pulled to allow the water to exit. Non-toxic antifreeze may be placed in the drainage area to prevent any leftover water from freezing.
If your church does have buildings that remain unused and thus unheated for long periods of time, have somebody check and inspect them on a regular basis to catch any problems that may occur. This allows for a much faster response in the event of a water damage problem.
Other Areas Prone to Water Damages
One area where churches may be especially prone to water damage is the baptistry, those oversized tubs where the pastor baptizes new members and converts. Baptistry overflow is quite common, so it is recommended that someone be on hand while it is being filled in order to be able to shut it off if there is a problem. Many have overflow pipes, and these should be checked to make sure there are no blockages or obstructions.
Toilet overflows are also problems for churches, especially in the childrens' area, where kids are notorious for putting things down the toilet. Have these inspected on a weekly basis to make sure there are no problems.
Because many churches are so large, it is not uncommon for windows or even doors to be left open, exposing the building to the elements. Take time after every service or event to make sure the windows and doors are closed and locked securely in order to prevent access by water.
Finally, you may want to consider setting up a rotation schedule of folks to perform routine plumbing maintenance. This allows the church to get a head start on any problems that may arise and deal with them appropriately.
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