Top 6 Types of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them
Water damage to your home is not something you want. You can’t prevent catastrophic flooding, but you can prevent many types of water damage in your home. Basic home maintenance and prevention can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in costly repairs. Come learn about the top 6 types of water damage, and how basic home maintenance can help you prevent water damage!
Top 6 Types of Water Damage
1. Water Overflow
Blocked drains, overflowing sinks, or water left running for a long period of time can all cause water overflow.1,2 The moisture from an overflowing sink, tub, toilet, or shower can saturate drywall, carpet, flooring, and subflooring. Where there’s water… mold will follow. Don’t wait to fix blocked drains! 17
The tiniest leak can cause the biggest problems if left too long. Regularly inspecting your home for leaks can stop big problems before they start. The most common places for leaks are near the dishwasher and toilet.
At least twice a year (preferably once a quarter), check for leaks:
- under all sinks
- around toilets
- near appliances that use water (refrigerators, washing machines)
- In basements or crawl spaces under all pipes
Checking for leaks on a regular basis can help you stop problems before
they start. Cracks in pipes, hoses, and clogs in drains can become a nightmare if forgotten long enough. Areas under sinks, around toilets, and baths or showers should stay dry to prevent mold growth.18 Use strainers on all sink drains to help prevent clogs from hair or food buildup. 10
Be sure to check hoses on all major appliances that use water at least twice a year. If water supply hoses or lines show signs of rust, bulging, cracking, or signs of moisture: replace them. Reseal any loose fittings. A cracked hose can slowly drip water over time and cause mold growth.
3. Water Heaters
Corrosion can cause traditional water heaters to leak over time. Avoid problems with repairs and plan a replacement date (about every 10 years) for your tank type water heater.
One way to avoid this type of water damage is with tankless water heaters. According to Energy.gov tankless water heaters “can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.” Tankless water heaters can be more expensive initially, but save energy and typically last longer than tank type water heaters.
To learn more about tankless water heaters go to Energy.gov, How to Select the Right Size Tankless Water Heater, and Read This Before You Buy a Tankless Water Heater.
Our top pick for a tankless water heater – Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Indoor Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater.
A roof that is not weather resistant is just asking for trouble.
Roof penetrations are one of the most likely places to find leaks.10 At least twice a year, roofs should be checked for leaks. An easy way to keep tabs on the roof is to go into the attic and look for black spots or rusted nails. Either of these signs signifies a leak and means trouble.
Check that caulking and flashing are secure and in good shape. Repair missing or loose shingles, damage from limbs and remove any moss. While you are on the roof (or your chosen repair technician is), be sure to inspect the chimney for loose bricks, or boards.10 Also, check that the flashing is secure, and that no water is passing through it.10 Be sure a chimney cap is installed and working properly.10
At least twice a year, check your gutters for blockage and clean them. This could be a DIY project or you could hire someone to do it.10 Blocked gutters can pour water near your home’s foundation causing water damage and possibly foundation issues! Cleaning gutters is much easier than cleaning up water damage or repairing your foundation.
5. Groundwater Damage
Groundwater can damage your home when the soil around your home becomes too saturated to hold all the water, and it seeps or rushes into your home.13,14 Heavy rains and flooding can cause water to enter your home and cause damage. There are many ways to prevent groundwater damage. Cleaning gutters and routing water away from your home help prevent water damage.
Downspouts should carry water at least 2 feet or more away from the home, and have a 90 degree angle elbow at the ground level. 10 This prevents soil from washing at the foundation level, and helps prevent foundation damage. 10 Downspout extensions can help to move the water further away from the foundation. 10,16 This is a DIY project and can easily be done for all downspouts in a few hours. Click on the link for a great video on ‘How to Use Downspout Extenders to Protect Your Foundation.’
Sump pumps are small electrically operated water pumps that remove excess water from your basement or crawl space. 10,15 Late winter or early spring are ideal times to check your sump pump. However, sump pumps should be checked at least 4 times per year to be sure they are working properly. To learn more about how to maintain your sump pump click here. 10,15
Waterproofing your basement or crawlspace with special paints and sealants can also help prevent damage.13,14 To learn even more go to Avoiding Groundwater Damage to Homes: Remedies For Homeowners.
6. Sewer Water Backup
Whether your home is on a city sewer system or a septic tank, you never want sewer water entering your home! Backup from a sewer system can cause not only water damage and loss of belongings but also disease. Having a licenced plumber install a backflow valve or backflow preventer on your home is a worthwhile investment. If you already have a backflow valve, it should be inspected at least once a year by a licenced plumber. To learn more go to: A Sewer Backflow Valve Can Prevent Costly Damage.
While you can’t prevent catastrophic flooding, basic home maintenance on a regular schedule can prevent water damage, mold growth, and costly repairs. Setting aside time for home maintenance and water damage prevention on a regular schedule can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs. Add an appointment to your calendar. Set a reminder on your phone or computer. Just don’t forget, and let the opportunity to prevent problems pass you by! To learn more see our post: Top 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage.
Why Water Damage Can Lead to Mold
Mold needs 4 things to grow: oxygen, moisture, a food source, and warmth. The only one of those things you can reasonably control is the moisture level. When water invades your home, things like drywall, wood, carpet, etc. are an excellent food source for mold. Mold can start growing in less than 48 hours! Water behind baseboards and cabinets, wet carpet tack strips, and other hard to reach areas are a ticking mold time bomb.
Mold can cause everything from allergic reactions to mental health problems to worse. Even with fans going and mopping up the water, it may not be enough to prevent mold growth. You need professional help to keep mold from growing.
We’re Here When You Need Us
As a company, we believe that nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick. We take every precaution to protect your health and the health of your family. We are experts in water damage mitigation, environmental safety, and air quality, with over 25 years of experience. We treat your home or business like our own. Call us today!
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For more information go to:
- Sewer Backup, Flood or Overflow? Types of Water Damage – The Balance
- 5 types of water damage and how to prevent them – NorthBridge Insurance
- Cleaning Mold: DIY v. Professional – Branch Environmental
- How To Navigate an Insurance Claim – Branch Environmental
- 5 Expectations about Mold vs. Eye-Opening Reality – Branch Environmental
- Do You Know How To Shut Your Water Off? – Branch Environmental
- Top 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage – Branch Environmental
- Tankless or Demand-Type Water Heaters – Energy.gov
- How to Select the Right Size Tankless Water Heater – Compact Appliance
- How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home – The Spruce
- How Water Infiltration Affects Your Basement Foundation – Advanced Basement Solutions
- A Sewer Backflow Valve Can Prevent Costly Damage – Balkan Sewer and Water Main
- Avoiding Groundwater Damage to Homes: Remedies For Homeowners – National Ag Safety Database. University of Wisconsin Extension
- What Is The Water Table, and How Does It Affect Homes? – Longview News Journal
- Sump Pump Maintenance for Your Home – The Spruce
- How to Use Downspout Extenders to Protect Your Foundation – Ron Hazelton
- How to Clear Any Clogged Drain – This Old House
- How to Prevent Bathroom Mold – Branch Environmental
Blog information is NOT intended to provide or replace medical advice. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.
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