Even the smallest of leaks can become a big problem within the right circumstances. Protecting your home or business from potential water damage can be a simple process and as easy as enforcing good home maintenance with a few proactive measures. Two quick and simple ways to avoid costly and damaging leaks are running appliances only while you are home and turning the main water supply off while on vacation. Enlisting a helpful neighbor or family member who is willing to look after your home while you are gone avoids a much larger loss if they can recognize if water damage occurs early on.
Checking appliance hoses, particularly behind washing machines, and replacing steel-braided hoses with more durable rubber ones, replacing broken tiles in showers or on the floor, which allow water to leak through, and occasionally regrouting are never a bad idea. It is very common for water damage to be the result of a burst pipe due to excessive water pressure. A typical gauge can measure the water pressure in your home or business to ensure that it is between 60 and 80 PSI (pounds per square inch). Be sure that existing gauges are working correctly and replace them whenever necessary.
If water damage does occur, immediately shut off the water supply, remove wet items and call a professional. Remember to stay out of rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water and leave all electrical appliances turned off. You should also consider placing wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture that is too large to move in order to protect the wood from rusting or staining. Use towels to soak up standing water but be sure not to leave them too long and remove them as soon as they are saturated. Most importantly, be aware of sentimental items and valuables. Carpets, ceilings, walls and furniture can be replaced but these items cannot.
Some sure signs that water damage is in the process of happening or has already happened include porous building materials that readily absorb water. Drywall, wood flooring and other materials will feel soft or spongy if they’ve been affected by water. Wood flooring will buckle, finishing will be ruined and vinyl flooring, among others, will bubble up. Peeling paint, drywall tape, and wallpaper are also a red flag. Be cognizant of changes in color and notice dark spots on ceilings, walls, and carpeting or in some cases furniture. Drywall nails have been known to slightly pop out of drywall due to moisture and rust spots around the nails are relatively common. In addition to these signs detectable by touch and sight, smell and sound are also keys in detecting water damage.
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If water has been present for long enough a musty odor may become noticeable due to developing mold growth. In ideal situations, mold will begin to grow in as little as 72 hours. An audible sign, which is most detectable during active water damages, is the sound that water can make when running through a home or business’s walls or floors. It may sound like anything from a dripping to a rushing or even scratching sound. Some water damage signs are also examples of secondary damage which can occur if water damage is not addressed promptly and mitigation by a professional is delayed.
Acting quickly will minimize damage drastically and calling a professional to evaluate the loss and begin the mitigation process is the first step. Be sure to inform your emergency mitigation provider of the extent of the damage. Things like the origin of the water and if the leak has been stopped, which areas are affected, and any safety concerns will help the mitigation team be better prepared to immediately begin the dry-down process upon arrival to your home or business. Water damage, if left unattended and not properly dried, can result in mold growth and/or structural failure among other secondary damages.
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