Just recently we watched as another big hurricane came onshore in New Orleans, Louisiana. While the levees that were strengthened after Katrina held up as planned, there were other areas that were not so lucky. Families found that as the hurricane moved inland that their homes were under 6 feet of water. While flooding of this magnitude would be very difficult to prevent, there are some things you can check on to avoid a flood in your apartment, hopefully without the help of a hurricane.
A common cause of plumbing failure and flooding are the washing machine hoses. Many apartments have washers or washer/dryer units with rubber hoses connecting them to the source of water. These can over time fail with bubbling and stretching which severely weakens the hoses ability to contain water. Check for moisture on the outside of the hose which could signal an existing problem. If a indicator is present, notify your landlord and suggest they invest in steel wrapped hoses.
Toilets can also have a rubber hose connection so checking them for moisture and having the landlord replace them with steel wrapped hoses can head of a major water disaster. The hose is located behind the toilet, under the tank.
If your apartment has an individual hot water heater, it is another source of sudden leaks that can take you by surprise. If the heater is over ten years old, it is important to monitor it for signs of rust or leaks. Check for a sticker attached to the heater that should show you the manufacture date and installation date.
Sometimes we have so many lotions and potions underneath our sinks that we would never even notice if a leak was present unless it was gushing water all over. Check the drain pipe for moisture and touch the floor of the cabinet to check for moisture too. An undetected leak here can cause major problems for neighboring apartments too.
Leaks can be incredibly destructive and many can go completely undetected for years without sources regularly being monitored. Taking the time to check on these common areas of concern on a regular basis can save you untold stress and expense. While the landlord is ultimately responsible for repairs, avoiding a leak and possible damage to your things, should be part of your own maintenance.