Owning a home or business property can be one of the most satisfying experiences, but it comes with a variety of responsibilities and risks. In addition to taking care of general building and property maintenance, there is also the possibility of damage. While structural damage can take many forms, one of the most common and frustrating sources of damage is the presence of excess water.
Common Causes and Repercussions of Water Damage
Whether it’s standard rainfall, flooding, or an old water heater leaking, there are several ways in which unwanted water can cause problems on a given property. The following are just a few common causes of water damage to homes and businesses:
- Roof leaks
- Foundation cracks
- Poor soil grade around foundation (leading to pooling and leaking into the basement)
- Broken or burst pipes/fixtures due to freezing, poor maintenance, existing damage, etc.
The possible repercussions of water damage can vary dramatically, depending upon where the water damage occurs in the structure, how much water was/is involved, what kind of air movement there is in the affected space, and numerous other factors. Damage may be as minor as slight staining or as major as significant, potentially hazardous black mold growth.
How to Tell if Your Home or Business Has Been Damaged
Sometimes, water damage is obvious: A pipe bursts, turning your floor into a wading pool. Other times, the presence of water goes unnoticed, damaging your walls or floors slowly in ways you may not be able to see for some time. Because it’s best to address water damage as soon as possible, there are a few key things you should keep an eye out for:
- Water spots on the ceiling or walls (especially if they continue to grow)
- Yellow or copper-colored stains along room or basement walls (may indicate previous flooding)
- A musty smell, particularly in the basement or crawl space
- Black spots, which can indicate mold growth
- Visible pooling of water in the house or around the foundation
- Warping floorboards
- Foundation damage
- Roof/shingle damage that may allow rainfall to leak in
If you notice any of these things (especially if you notice more than one at a time), you may have a water leak or other unseen concern that needs to be addressed before you can correct the damage you see. Even if the staining or spots are small, the situation behind the wall may be much more severe than it appears from the outside.
What to Do if You Find Water Damage
If the cause of the damage is ongoing, like a broken pipe that continues to leak water, the first thing you’ll want to do is shut off the water main. There should be an easily accessible shut-off main somewhere on your property. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the location of this valve and know how to operate it before an incident like this ever has a chance to occur.
Once you’ve stopped the flow of water, you can begin attempts to dry out the area and salvage any affected belongings. At this point, it’s a good idea to call a professional plumber to fix the leak so that you can restore water to your home.
If you’ve just noticed a water spot, staining, or possible mold growth, you’ll want to contact a professional plumber, roofer, or water damage restoration company to take a look at the situation and determine whether there is an ongoing issue. Obviously, if the damage appears to be coming from the roof, you may want to contact a roofing company. If the damage seems to be around the base of your toilet, call a plumber.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at the original inspection report from when you purchased the property. It may turn out that something you requested be fixed was not properly addressed, or that the previous owners were likely aware of an issue they did not disclose. Of course, you should also reference your insurance policy and contact your agent if you suspect the damage may be covered.
Addressing the Damage
The first thing a professional will do when they arrive on your property—aside from addressing any emergencies like continued water flow—is to assess the nature and extent of the damage. This may involve entering the attic, crawl space, or other unusual locations, so be prepared to provide access to these areas as needed. Once he or she has completed the inspection, you can discuss a game plan.
If there is staining, warping, or flooding due to leaking pipes or fixtures, a plumber will replace any damaged pipes or parts to prevent future water damage. If there is standing water present, he or she may also assist with its removal. When it comes to mold growth, misshapen floorboards, or ugly wall stains, you’ll need to schedule specialized removal and repair work with an appropriate contractor. Mold, in particular, is especially important to address, as its presence can cause allergies, illness, and/or further damage.
Prevention Is Key: Avoid Leaks and Fix Existing Damage with the Help of MET Plumbing
Once water damage occurs and things like mold, stains, and floor buckling take hold, the cost of repairs can add up rather quickly. As with any other risk, prevention and regular maintenance are the most important aspects of management. To prevent water damage from occurring in your home or business, you should make sure that all of your plumbing and water-connected fixtures (toilets, sinks, washing machines, showers, etc.) are in good condition.
At MET Plumbing, we know that even if they appear normal, old pipes can rupture or leak at any time. In addition to fixing damage in emergencies and providing maintenance to specific fixtures, our plumbing experts can also replace all the old pipes throughout your home or business for a long-lasting, reliable plumbing system.
As a family-owned, 24 hour plumber with more than 20 years of experience in the plumbing industry, and we’ll put our expertise to work to give you the best plumbing solutions no matter what the situation. To learn more about how we can help you prevent water damage from ever occurring in your home or business, contact us today at (281) 599-3336!