Water damage is a serious hazard that costs the insurance industry a staggering 2.5 billion every year. It happens a lot more than most people think, and to a lot more people. In the US alone, about 14,000 people experience water damage emergencies at home or in their workplace every day, and 98 percent of basements experience water damage at least once in their lifetime.
A majority of cases could be avoided because most leaks are slow. The problem is that most people have no idea how to identify water damage in their homes.
So what are the signs of water damage in your home?
1. Visible Stains
Stains are among the major signs of water damage. Most water stains have a yellowish or brownish color and expand from one point to make irregular shapes depending on the direction the water takes. The first places you should look for these signs are the bathroom, basement, kitchen, and laundry rooms.
These areas generally see more water use and contain plenty of plumbing pipes that could be causing the leak. The source of the leak is likely to be a plumbing issue in these areas, although the basement could have other sources, such as flooding water. The ends of the stains may seem a little dryer than the middle because these stains are usually a result of repeat cycles of getting wet, drying, and getting wet again.
Mold harbors in areas that remain damp, so check your ceiling, drywall, wood, carpeting, and other materials in your home close to water sources or the stains you find. By the time you notice mold, though, the water damage may be extensive.
This means you are likely dealing with a slow and consistent leak. Mold is an airborne fungus that comes in a variety of colors, such as green, blue, black, or grey. It has a fuzzy appearance and could grow almost anywhere as long as there’s moisture so it’s easier to spot.
3. Changes in Your Walls and Ceiling
Changes to your walls and ceiling could mean you have water damage. Some of these signs can be quite obvious, especially when they make large stains, but other times they’re quite easy to overlook.
Signs of water damage in walls include peeling or bubbling paint on walls. After continued exposure, they may warp or become bloated, and in severe cases, the walls and ceilings may feel spongy.
4. Damaged Flooring
It’s easy to overlook damaged floors as well, and by the time you realize there’s a wet spot on the carpet or under your tiles, the subflooring may have taken a hit too. If you have vinyl and linoleum tiles, they will start to peel and crack when they come in contact with too much water, and if you have wood or laminate, they will warp, buckle, or cup.
5. Musty Odors
Musty odors are another sign of water damage, although the damage may be extensive for it to smell. Most areas with this odor are also likely to be damp and humid, so if there are any areas of the house, you notice this kind of smell, inspect it for other damages such as stains and mold.
If you notice musty smells after heavy rains, it’s a sign that water got into your home, and you may have issues with your foundation, slab or crawlspace.
Older homes tend to have musty smells all around, especially in attics and basements. However, you may notice an abrupt change in the odors or extent of the smell. Florida homes built up on a crawlspace can also suffer from musty smells due to wet soils below the home.
If you feel like something is off and you’re not sure what, it’s advisable to have a professional inspector look at it to avoid risking worse water damage problems in the long run. All water damage issues are best caught early before repairs and restoration runs into thousands of dollars.
6. Increasing Water Bills
Sometimes water damage may not be apparent, but if your water bill has been higher than usual, water leaks may be the culprit. You should check for visible pipes and faucet leaks in your home and whether you have running toilets.
Check for leaks around appliances like dishwashers or washing machines as well. If you can’t find any, you should call a professional inspection company for a complete evaluation.
7. Old Pipes and Plumbing
Most of the time, especially in homes with outdated pipes and plumbing fixtures, you may find leaks in walls. Valves, fixtures, and faucets tend to wear out after a few years, and if not replaced, could cause major water leaks that lead to significant structural damages. You may be able to listen to leaks or dripping water at night when everything is silent.
Turn off all your electrical appliances to make it easier to listen to moving or dripping water. Stand close to sinks and toilets to ensure that’s not where the leak is coming from and check whether the drain pipes are in good condition. Regardless of the cause, you should have a professional come in, identify all leaks, and fix them before water restoration starts.
Hiring the Best Water Damage Inspection Company
If you notice any of these signs of water damage in your home, the best course of action is to call a professional inspection company. CFBI inspection company has professional inspectors that provide reliable and trustworthy residential inspection services.
We strive to conduct thorough and comprehensive inspections, and we’ll leave you with a confirmed report about all the water damaged areas and the water sources in your home. We have served Central Florida for years, and if you want to know more about us or get a quote, please get in touch with us today.