A house is generally one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. In order to protect that investment, you should vigilantly look out for household problems- such as water damage, and address them before they worsen. House problems can cause the value of your home to decrease. One dreaded homeowner issue is water damage. If left unattended, residential water damage can detrimentally impact the structure or cause other complications, including mold that poses a health risk to people who live in your house. Instead of waiting for catastrophic water damage, be proactive and look for early warning signs. Not only will this keep the cost of restoration down, but it will also prevent water from damaging your photographs, heirlooms, furniture, electronics, and other possessions. Preventing water damage starts with knowing what to look for. You should walk through your home every couple of months to look for signs you may have issues. If you see any of these things, get them fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Here are several methods for detecting water damage within your house.
Changes to Flooring, Walls, or Ceilings
A change in your flooring, walls, or ceilings is one of the many signs you could have water damage in your home. Most of us take the structural elements of our homes for granted. Sure, we may clean them almost every day, but how often do we actually take the time to really look at them? Even when we do look, we see them every day and might not really notice slow changes.While water in walls and ceilings may be obvious sometimes, it can be easy to overlook the most common signs. The early warning signs of water damage are peeling or bubbling paint or wallpaper. Over time, they will become bloated or swollen and may even warp. In severe cases, walls and ceilings may feel spongy to the touch. This could cause your home structure to deteriorate and even affect the wooden studs that are supporting your home.
Wet flooring can go unnoticed easily as well, especially if it’s only wet in the corners or in rooms that are used infrequently. By the time you notice a wet patch of carpeting or peeling tile, there could already be water damage to the wooden sub-flooring. Carpeting that shows signs of water damage will feel like a wet sponge when you touch it. Ceramic tile that shows signs of water damage usually will show signs of mold and it may even have some cracks in it. If you have Vinyl flooring that it showing signs of water damage it will begin to peel and crack. Wood flooring that shows signs of water damage will begin to rise up and warp which will eventually lead to the floor buckling.
Visible Stains or Mold
Stains and mold are another sign of water damage. If there is a slow, consistent water leak, stains will eventually develop. Mold will appear if the area of the water damage is consistently damp. Most water stains are a yellowish-brown color and typically expand in irregular shapes from the source of the water leak. These types of stains are frequently found in basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms as these areas generally see a lot of water usage or contain a lot of pipes. They normally indicate the source of the leak is related to the use of a plumbing fixture. The water stains form as these areas go through a repeated cycle of getting wet, then drying, and then getting wet again.
Mold is a variety of airborne fungus that thrives when there is a persistent source of moisture. Carpeting, drywall, ceilings, wood, and many other materials in your home are likely to produce mold if they remain damp for a long period of time. While we often think of black mold, mold may appear blue, green, grey, or black. It often appears fuzzy and grows in thread-like structures. Mold may also grow out of sight, so make sure that you check the area of your home that has water damage very thoroly. This means you have to check in the walls or ceilings, under the carpet, or behind your bathroom tiles. Mold is most commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements and anywhere excess moisture goes unnoticed. All molds pose some health risks that are similar to you having an allergy attack so it is important that you fix these areas for your health.
Musty odors are another common sign that your house could have water damage. The smell is of water damage is similar to wet newspaper or cardboard. The smell is usually the strongest around the main area of the water damage so make sure you check out that spot first. The area may also feel damp or humid, depending on the temperature of the area, the cause of the water damage, and the season. If you notice a musty smell, take a few minutes to inspect the area. Look for other signs of water damage, like mold or stains. Older homes typically have a variety of smells, especially in basements and attics, but sudden increases in odor or seasonal changes could be a sign. Newer homes are usually odor free, so a new odor may suggest that there is a presence of water damage in your house. Musty smells that develop shortly after heavy rainfall or a winter thaw are signs there could be issues with your foundation. If you have plumbing issues or notice other signs of water damage, keep track of changing smells.
High Utility Bills
Outdated Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures
Look beneath your sinks and around toilets to ensure water supply and drain pipes are in good condition and not leaking. Make sure cabinets are not wet and there is no mold. Repair any damage promptly to prevent water damage in the future. One should also inspect the caulk around your bathtub and sinks. Caulk is a quick, inexpensive fix that can prevent both water damage and mold. If your caulk is damaged or worn away, it’s possible water may already have gotten behind walls.