Detecting Water Damage In Your Home: Water Damage Can Be Difficult to Detect
Water damage from a burst pipe or storm flood is unfortunate but easy to identify. However, it can be difficult to locate water damage in homes and businesses in some situations. If you can’t see the source of the water, detecting water damage can be problematic. We look at signs that indicate water damage, plus how you can go about identifying the source of water damage.
Signs of Water Damage
If you need help detecting water damage in your home, these are the most common signs to look for. For more detail about these indicators, review our signs of water damage guide.
Damp and Musty Odors
Smells are one of the biggest signs of water damage. While musty smells are common in the basement of older homes, look for sudden changes in odor. Make note if the smell gets worse during the rain or after you run the dishwasher or take a shower.
Mold is always the symptom of a persistent source of water. If you have mold, you have a water problem. Mold is common in the basement, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. Many materials in your home will harbor mold if they remain wet, including flooring, walls, ceilings, insulation, fabric, and wood.
Yellow-ish or brown water stains can indicate a slow, consistent leak. Water stains usually form under the source of the water in irregular shapes. However, water can run along pipes, wiring, or other materials and then drip down. This can cause stains far away from the source.
Changes to Floors, Walls, and Ceilings
Over time, water can weaken or change most building materials. This can include soft, spongy walls, bowing or bouncy flooring, or cracking ceilings. Paint or wallpaper can also bubble or peal with a consistent source of water. While sudden changes are often easy to spot, it’s more likely they will appear gradually. Depending on the amount of water involved, these changes can happen over weeks or even months.
Changes to Utility Bills
Any sign of possible water damage is an unexpected change in your utility bills. There is usually a normal fluctuation but look for a rise in water usage without a corresponding increase in your sewer bill. If you can’t account for the increase, you may have a water problem.
Detecting Water Damage In Your Property
Many homeowners think of water damage as a sudden and catastrophic problem, but many water damage issues start small. By regularly check your property for signs of damage, you can often detect water damage before it causes significant damage. This can save you both money and stress in the future.
1. Visually Inspect Each Room
From top to bottom, go through your home systematically and look for the signs of water damage. Ideally, you should inspect your home seasonally, but even once a year can help with detecting water damage. Pay special attention to hard to see areas as well as rooms that have plumbing fixtures. When possible, inspect your water supply lines and drain pipes. Don’t forget to check your attic, basement, crawlspaces, and other areas you access infrequently. Try to perform these inspections when there are a variety of conditions outside. You may find different results if you inspect your roof on a sunny day than if it was raining or snowing.
2. Inspect Appliances and Replace Them As Necessary
Regularly inspect your appliances including your refrigerator, hot water tank, and dishwasher. Replace filters and washers and tighten hoses and connections. Look for leaks or other signs of wear or damage, especially underneath units or in areas that are usually hard to see. Make repairs as necessary and pay attention to the life cycle of each appliance. It’s better to replace them at the first sign of an issue than to wait until they fail completely.
3. Perform Regular Maintenance
It’s easy to forget to do regular maintenance, but an hour every couple of months can save you big in the long run. Check the washers and gaskets on your plumbing fixtures, replace old or dried out hoses, and tighten the connections on your drain pipes. Look at your windows and door to make sure they form watertight seals. Replace weather stripping as needed. In addition to do-it-yourself maintenance, remember to have your furnace, air conditioner, and hot water tank serviced as well. We recommend having them serviced by a certified professional once a year.
4. Keep a Record of Your Findings
Performing these steps is one aspect of detecting water damage, but you also need to record your findings over time. This allows you to track changes to your property over months and years, helping to forecast problems and identify issues. For example, if you have a little bit of moisture around your windows, you might replace the weather stripping. When you look at them again next quarter, the moisture should be gone. If it’s not, you know you have another issue. Without these notes, it’s easy to overlook issues until it’s too late. Also, include notes about your maintenance. This way you have a record of when you replaced items like washers and filters. Over time, you’ll be able to predict how often you need to make these changes.
Get Water Damage Restoration Services
If you have water damage, however minor, Restoration Local will connect you with a qualified local contractor to identify the issue and make repairs. We’re the nation’s largest network of restoration contractors with listings for independent companies and many popular franchises from 911 Restoration to ServiceMaster.
Choose a water damage company near you now. For emergency services, call 1-888-443-3110 to speak with the on-call contractor in your area. All of our on-call water damage companies offer 24-hour emergency services, 30-minute response time, and a free estimate. They won’t just restore your home or business, they’ll restore your life.