Water is perhaps the most destructive force on the planet -just check out the Grand Canyon. So, when water is let loose in your home, you better believe it is going to wreak some havoc. Drips, leaks, seeps and other water-related problems must be addressed fast to mitigate damage to your dwelling and belongings, but few people know just what to do when they find evidence of water damage around their home. This guide should help you better recognize signs and symptoms of water damage and, more importantly, restore and recover as quickly as possible.
Four Signs of Water Problems
Just as Revelations explains that four differently colored horses signal the oncoming apocalypse, this guide helpfully points you toward four signs that water is doing cataclysmic damage to your home. Perhaps just as distressing as famine, pestilence, war and death, the signs of water damage include:
Changes in texture. Areas of floor, ceilings and walls that have a different texture might be affected by water. Specifically, you should look for these alterations:
- Warping, resulting in gaps or curling at edges
- Buckling, when a piece of wood tents or faces upward
- Sagging, where spaces become soft and sink down or inward
- Expanding, which forces other elements nearby to warp, buckle or sag.
Changes in color. Water tends to carry sediment or cause dyes to bleed and run. Thus, you can expect ceilings, walls and floor damaged by water to have a yellow, brown or copper color stain or watery, smudged-looking colors.
Odor. This is perhaps the most unfortunate sign. Excess moisture encourages the growth of mildew and mold, both of which produce a remarkable stench. The smell is often likened to sweaty socks, but if you smell cat urine instead, you might have toxic black mold and should leave your home immediately.
Water accumulation. This is probably the most obvious sign that you have a water problem in your home. Standing or pooling water will eventually cause damage – if it hasn’t already – so you should clean up the mess and assess the issue ASAP.
Where to Look for Water Damage
Everywhere in your home is subject to water damage, but there are a few areas you should pay close attention to because they are close to sources of water or else especially hazardous when wet. These include:
Ceilings. Your ceilings will show the first signs of a leaky roof or a burst pipe on the second story.
Walls. Walls contain pipes and drains that will cause stains when leaky.
Floors. Though floors also contain pipes, it can be difficult to recognize small or slow leaks beneath your flooring. Thus, you must be diligent about inspecting floors for water damage.
Exterior. Poor drainage in your yard can result in water pooling around your foundation. Eventually, this will damage your home’s structure.
Roof. Cracked, curled or missing shingles are good indications of impending water damage in your home.
Appliances. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and similar water-reliant equipment are vulnerable to leaks, and because they use electricity too, water damage here can be deadly dangerous.
Your First Steps to Recovery
Immediately upon discovering water damage, regardless of where it is in your home or how significant the signs, you should shut off your home’s power and water. Then, you should contact a water restoration provider, who is better equipped at assessing damage and will swiftly and efficiently return your home to normal.
While you are waiting for the professional to arrive, you should begin moving items away from the damaged area. Taking special caution with electronics, you should relocate everything in your home to a high, dry, undamaged location. By doing this, you might be able to salvage more of your belongings. However, fabrics touched by leaking water, to include furniture, curtains and carpets, might be beyond help.
Though it is possible to DIY water damage restoration, using a professional will guarantee fast and safe recovery. When the professionals arrive, they will identify the source of the damage, remove standing water, dry out the area, clean and make repairs. They will also likely be able to tell you what possessions are utterly destroyed and what can be saved.
Preventing This from Happening Again
Water restoration providers can also offer help in preventing future water damage. For example, they might recognize that your plumbing system is old, full of cracks and in desperate need of replacement, or they might make suggestions for changing the landscaping of your exterior to better channel water away from your home. You should act on this information as soon as possible to avoid another expensive and time-consuming water disaster.