All About Water Damage and How to Prevent It

May 21, 2021 | Personal Insurance

Water damage has disastrous consequences for any homeowner. Water damage can easily result in the destruction of one’s house and other prized possessions inside it. Worse, it can even cause health issues in the long run since water damage can easily lead to the growth of mold which is harmful to one’s health.

Consequently, it is important for you to protect your home from water damage. The first thing that you must know about water damage is that it does not only happen on the occasion of a flood, hurricane, or other extreme weather conditions. In fact, water damage can happen gradually and silently through the leaks in the plumbing system or the broken sprinkler system in your house. As such, water damage can build up at any part of your house and at any time without you knowing it. 

However, water damage in your home can be easily prevented by regularly performing preventive measures against it. These preventive measures are simple enough that you can do it on your own from time to time. 

But, let us first discuss what are the different kinds and causes of water damage, and its negative effects. Knowing this information is crucial since this will aid you while looking for the signs of possible water damage in your home. 

Different Kinds of Water Damage 

Water damage comes in different forms in connection to their source of water.
It can be classified into three varying categories depending on the type of water involved. 

The first kind of water damage involves clean water. This is usually the result of leaking pipes, extreme rain, forgotten open faucet, or broken water line. Since clean water does not have any microbes and is not usually contaminated — this kind of water damage is easy to remedy by simply finding the source of the water leak and repairing it immediately. However, make sure that you swiftly get rid of the water and dry the affected areas in your house straight away. Leaving the water for too long can result in the growth of molds which can pose serious health hazards to you and your family. 

The second kind involves gray water which is more serious and dangerous than the first one. Gray water involves contaminated water due to broken sewers, and chemical wastes from detergent and soaps, etc. This gives rise to a more serious threat since this is contaminated water which promotes the presence of bacterial growth in the affected areas. As a result, exposure to this can result in serious health problems. Therefore, you should avoid getting exposed to this type of water as much as possible and immediately ask for professional assistance to remove the said water from your house. If you leave gray water for too long, it can turn into category 3 water damage which is the most dangerous kind. 

The third category or kind of water damage involves black water. If your house is contaminated with black water — you should not expose yourself to this. Blackwater is extremely unsanitary and poses severe health problems. This is because black water comes from toxic chemicals, pesticides, sewage water, and other highly contaminated sources. If your house is affected by this kind, immediately ask for professional help to extract it from your house. Remedying this water damage quickly is extremely important since exposure to this can lead to serious health issues which include: infections, hepatitis, and severe respiratory problems just to name a few. 

The important thing that you must know about these categories of water damage is that there is more to this than meets the eye. If water does not have a dark color, it does not automatically mean that it is not black water. Water can be seriously contaminated even though it may appear “clean” since bacteria and chemicals are usually invincible to the human eye. It is important to take extra precautions especially in cases where the source of water is due to flooding. So, just a word of advice — try to enlist the help of professional cleaning services to resolve extensive water damage in your home in order to stay on the safe side and avoid severe health risks. 

Negative Effects of Water Damage 

Many homeowners are afraid of a fire engulfing their homes. Consequently, taking precautionary measures like installing a sprinkler system and smoke detectors is a norm. Like fire, water can do as much damage in our homes. The negative effects of water damage can range from structural damage to your property to even serious health issues. 

The first negative effect of water damage is structural damage. This happens when water penetrates the very foundation of your house which weakens the materials holding up your house. As a result, the structure of the house starts to sink into the ground which makes it unstable and dangerous to live in.  Structural damage caused by water usually occurs when there is flooding or extensive water leak in your house.

The second negative effect is the destruction of your household and personal items. It is common sense that water can easily result in serious damage to household furniture and electric appliances. Just thinking about the expensive cost of replacing or repairing these items can be very stressful in itself. On top of this, your own personal items like your old photo albums, important documents, and other prized memorable possessions can be easily destroyed by water damage. 

The third negative effect is damaged wirings and electric equipment. Everybody knows that water and electricity do not go well together, in fact having the two interact with each other is deadly. As such, water seeping into your house can easily damage the electric wirings and appliances, and replacing them comes with a hefty price. In addition to this, it also poses a serious safety threat to everyone living in the house since there is a possibility of electrocution. 

The fourth one is the growth of mold in the house. The presence of water damage promotes the growth of bacteria and molds. Molds develop when there is sufficient moisture in the environment and they can start to grow in just days in the affected areas of your home. Mold growth does not only threaten your household fixture but due to its toxic nature, it can also cause health problems like allergic reactions, breathing problems, respiratory illnesses, and others. 

As you can see, water damage can pose serious threats not only to your property but more importantly to the life and safety of you and your family. As such, it is important to know what are the possible causes of water damage. 

Causes of Water Damage 

Water damage can usually occur silently which makes it hard for anyone to detect. That is why it is essential to know what are the common causes of water damage. So that you can easily discover possible water damage in your house immediately. 

Extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, intense flooding, and snow are usual causes of water damage. Hurricanes and intense rain can cause flooding in your house which results in various property damage and health risks. Moreover, severe snowfall during wintertime can lead to burst pipes in homes, especially if your house is not weatherproof. 

Another cause is leaking pipes in homes which usually happens in the bathroom and kitchen areas. In addition to this, problems in the plumbing system also cause water damage as they are usually prone to leaks. This kind of leak usually goes unnoticed since pipes are hidden behind the walls and the ceiling. 

Finally, leaks from household appliances are another cause of water damage. Appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, and air conditioners all use water which can easily leak through time. 

There are many other causes of water damage since water can come from different unexpected sources. Knowing some of the usual causes of water damage as discussed above can aid you in performing precautionary measures against them. As a responsible homeowner, it is important for you to always monitor and make necessary repairs in order to prevent serious water damage in your home. 

Always be Alert: Signs of Water Damage in your Home 

After knowing the possible causes of water damages, it is now time for you to know its signs so that you can immediately fix it before anything gets serious. 

One of the leading signs of water damage is discoloration on the ceiling or the walls of your house. As wet spots in these locations can indicate that there might be a leak in the pipes or in the plumbing system of your house. The bubbling, flaking, or peeling of walls is also a sign of water damage as this can mean that there is a possible water leakage behind it.

Another sign is a musty or moldy odor around the house. Since this smell usually comes from mold growth. Molds and mildew develop in damp and wet environments with high moisture. So, mold growth in a house can mean that there might be a hidden water leak somewhere. 

Also, pay extra attention to the sound of running water as this is another sign of a possible water leak in your home. In a lot of cases, water leaks cannot be easily seen but their source can be heard. Be mindful of the sound of running water or dripping sound around your home, especially at night when it is quiet. If you hear these sounds, investigate and track its source immediately so that you can remedy the water damage before it gets worse. 

Finally, your water bill can be a sign of water damage. If your water bill is unusually high this might mean that water is leaking somewhere in your house. Consequently, monitoring your water bill can be helpful if you have a suspicion that there might be water damage in your house. 

Early detection of these signs of water damage in your home is crucial in protecting your house from water damage. At the same time, taking precautionary measures to prevent water damage in the first place is still the best way to secure your house. 

Minimize Risks with Home Insurance
Severe hurricanes, flooding, and accidents can strike at any time. While these tips and tricks are important, sometimes water damage cannot be prevented especially in times of serious natural calamities. As such, we must protect ourselves in case water damage occurs in our home. The best way to do so is by getting home insurance which can protect your home and your hard earned money from unexpected losses brought about by water damage. Home insurance does not only compensate losses brought about by water damage, but it would also protect your personal belongings located in your property.

Explore your home insurance options today with Advantage Insurance Solutions. Our insurance professionals will make sure that you get the best home insurance possible that is compatible with your needs and your budget. Contact us today and we will guide you in every step of the way with your insurance needs. 

Tips and Tricks to Avoid Water Damage 

Here are important preventive measures that you can take to avoid water damage: 

  • Be aware of where your main water supply comes from. Make sure that it is working properly and do repairs once you find any issues. In relation to this, you must also know the specific location of the main water shut-off in your home. So that you can easily turn off the main water source just in case there is a burst pipe or leaks from any household appliances. 
  • If you live in an area prone to extreme weather conditions like hurricanes and intense snowstorms. It is recommended that you weatherproof your house to avoid burst pipes that can easily flood your home. 
  • Do regular inspections of your household appliances like your: washing machine, air-conditioning system, and refrigerator in order to ensure that it has no water leaks. You can also ask for the help of a professional for greater peace of mind. 
  • Check your plumbing system and the pipes around your house for any leaks. Make sure that they are in a good condition. If there is rust, cracks, or any damage to the pipes, then you can consider repairing them immediately to avoid costly replacement. 
  • Examine your roof for any damage or any cracks where the water can seep in. If you find any signs of decay in your roof — repair them as much as possible.
  • Observe areas in your house for any mold growth. As mold and mildew are common signs of water damage. Moreover, mold also poses health risks due to its toxic nature. 
  • If you are going on a vacation or if you will be out of town for a long period of time. It is recommended that you turn off the main water valve in order to ensure that there would be no water leaks that can happen while you are away. Given that a small leak left unattended for a long period of time can gradually flood your house and cause significant damage to your property. 
  • Keep track of your water bill. A sudden rise in the cost of your water bill might indicate that there is a leak somewhere in your house. As such, it is helpful to check your water bills from time to take note of any unusual spike in your water usage. 
  • Clean your gutter and get rid of any debris once in a while. Since rainwater can accumulate in a clogged gutter which might result in water damage to the foundation of your house. In addition to this, installing gutter guards which prevent clogging is also advisable. Installing gutter guards is a convenient way of preventing clogged gutters — as such you do not need to regularly clean them. 
  • For extra protection, you can consider buying water or leak detectors so that you will be quickly notified about any water leaks in the house. These devices monitor the moisture in the area and can be installed near household appliances prone to leaks. As of now, there are smart water leak detectors available in the market which can notify you of any leaks in your house through your phone. 

To Summarize  

In summary, water damage can result in negative effects which do not only threaten your property but the health of your family as well. Consequently, it is important to protect and secure your home from possible water damage. There are three basic kinds of water damage depending on the water involved and its level of severity. The first kind involves clean water which usually comes from leaking pipes, rainwater, unattended open faucets, or broken pipes around your home. The second kind is gray water which is contaminated with chemical wastes. The last one involves black water which is the most serious kind of water damage since it contains toxic chemicals, pesticides, sewage water, and other highly toxic substances. It is important for you to know these types of water damage so that you can adopt the best approach against it. 

The negative effects of water damage were also discussed above. As demonstrated, water damage cannot only destroy your furniture and other household items. But, it can present harmful health risks as well since water damage promotes the growth of mold that produces toxins. 

The causes of water damage can range from extreme weather conditions to poor maintenance of household appliances or the piping system around the house. Consequently, doing regular inspections in areas prone to water damage is important to avoid potential problems in the future. In connection to this, the signs of water damage like the growth of mold, high water bill, wet spots in the ceiling were also explored in order to promote early detection of water damage.

Combining all this information about water damage with the proper preventive measures can help you secure your home and your family against water damage.