One of the worst things that can happen to your home is water damage. Not only will it weaken the structure of your home, but it also has the potential to cause mold growth which can lead to negative health effects. The problem is, water damage mostly happens out of sight. If you’re not sure if your home has suffered water damage, there are signs that you can watch out for.
Signs of Hidden Water Damage
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments. And you don’t have to see it to detect it, though that is easier. Visible mold growth is often a good indicator that you already have water damage somewhere. But even if you don’t see it, that doesn’t mean mold or mildew hasn’t started to grow inside your home. Look for a musty smell coming from walls, basements, or other areas where water may be accumulating.
Discoloration on your ceilings and walls may indicate water damage. Water rings and stains can be wet or day. They can also be yellow, brown, or copper in color. Aside from ceilings and walls, you can check under the sink. Yes, water spots under the sink are quite common. But this does not mean it’s normal and should be ignored. Water stains can be an indication of a slow leak.
Peeling Wall or Ceiling Finishes, Swelling Walls and Doors
Discoloration isn’t the only indicator of water damage. You can check walls, floors, and ceilings for any changes in texture. Look for any warping or cracks on the floor as this can be caused by changes in the temperature and humidity level in your home. Sagging or sinking floors may be due to water that has seeped into the subflooring. This type of water damage often occurs near the shower, sink, tub, dishwasher, water heater, and washing machine. Expanding wood or laminate floors may indicate that they have absorbed too much water, causing the wood or laminate to swell up and separate.
Causes of Water Damage
Leaky or Bursting Pipes
One of the most common causes of water damage in the home is due to a pipe that has burst or is leaking. A backed up drain or toilet can cause your pipe to crack or burst. A frozen pipe could just as easily break, causing a leak. Another cause for pipes to leak or burst may be due to the pipe becoming old or rusty. Take note that not all plumbing problems will take place in your sight as some of your pipes will be within the walls of your home.
Sudden storms, flash floods, and hurricanes can cause water damage in your home. Yes, you can do a bit of preventive maintenance in order to minimize the possibility of damage occurring in your home. However, you can never really protect it 100%.
HVAC is short for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning units. Your HVAC is another common cause of water damage in the home. Air conditioners need to be regularly maintained. Otherwise, moisture could start to build up which could start to leak into your home. Not only that, this moisture can cause mold to grow in the ducts which can become airborne whenever you turn on your air conditioner.
Malfunctioning Household Appliances
Some of your appliances, particularly those that use water, can become possible culprits of water damage should they malfunction. For example, if your dishwasher or washing machine starts leaking, or some of the fittings are not securely connected. These could lead to water, even just moisture, to accumulate in the air, increasing the level of humidity in the room and eventually causing water damage.
How to Prevent and Eliminate Water Damage
Tip #1: Be vigilant.
Prevention is better than cure. You don’t want to have to treat water damage. That being said, if you do have water damage, it’s better to catch it as early as you can. While every area in your home (inside and out) is vulnerable to water damage, some have a higher risk than others. You need to make sure that you regularly inspect these areas in your home to see if there are any signs. These areas include ceilings, walls, floors, exterior and foundations, attics, roofs, bathrooms, and the kitchen.
Tip #2: Check your appliances regularly.
Aside from these areas in your home, you should also make sure to check your appliances regularly. Look at the floor beneath your refrigerator, washer, dryer, hot water heater, toilet, and sinks to see if there are any signs of pooling or leaking water. Make sure to check behind these appliances too. A faulty piece of equipment can also cause water damage. For example, a cracked hose between your water pipes and dishwasher can result in a leak which, as we all know, could cause water damage.
Tip #3: Ensure good drainage.
Drainage matters because if you don’t make sure that water drains away from your home, it can weaken your foundation, create cracks, and start to enter your home. To ensure good drainage, you’ll need to make sure that your gutters are always clean and unclogged. You’ll also need to ensure that your downspouts are draining water away from your house at a distance of 5 to 10 feet.
Tip #4: Keep an eye on your water bill.
Regularly checking your water bill will let you know if you’re consuming more water than you normally do. A slow rise in consumption or even a huge leap can be an indication that there’s a leak somewhere inside your home.
Tip #5: Look for a reputable water damage restoration company.
If you do find that you do have water damage in your home, or even if you just suspect it, you’re going to have to call in the experts. A reputable water damage restoration company can help you locate the problem, prevent any further damage, and start the cleanup process. In addition, they can give advice on how to prevent other areas within your home from becoming vulnerable to water damage.