11 Water Damage Statistics That’ll Make You Rethink Water Damage Restoration

Water damage is a serious problem. Even just a simple faucet leak can turn it into hundreds of gallons of wasted water per year. Not to mention, an excessively high water bill.

Depending on the leak, water spillage and water damage may be a possibility.

What many people don’t know is that water damage left untreated can be the perfect breeding ground for mold, damaging floors, walls, insulation, you name it.

This could end up causing you hundreds to thousands of dollars in Insurance.

So, being proactive is a must.

That being said, we’ve put together 11 stats that’ll make you rethink water damage restoration.

That way, the next time a faucet leaks or there’s a hairline crack in one of the pipes, it will be dealt with right away.

1. Plumbing supply system failures are the number one source of water loss[1]

In fact, plumbing supply system failures lead to 48% more water loss versus the second source of water supply loss (system material failures). These types of failures cost roughly $5,092 per incident after the Insurance deductible.[2]

Out of the total plumbing supply system failures, a majority (65%) work caused by some type of damage to the supply system material.

While fewer than 1/5 of plumbing supply system failures were the result of cracks and frozen pipes.[3]

2. January and February maybe the moment with the highest amount of water damage[4]

According to a study done in 2014 and 2015 across the US, there were the most water damage claims in January and February. Specifically, there were 316,174 for claims in January. And 314,271 claims in February.[5]

This makes sense considering that January and February normally are two of the coldest months of the year.

Especially in the colder states, it’s more likely for pipes to freeze, which can lead to bursting or cracked pipes.

Nonetheless, the study revealed that California was the top state with the most water damage claims during those years.[6]

This is surprising given that California, being on the west coast, has a fairly warm climate.

Perhaps, older homes with poorly built moisture barriers may be to blame?

Or, because of the warmer climate, maybe pipes are located on the outside of the house, which would make them more susceptible to wear and tear?

3. 250 gallons of water can leak out of a 1/8-inch pipe crack[7]

Just to give you some perspective, a standard number two pencil eraser is 6 mm in diameter.

Which comes out roughly to almost a quarter of an inch (.23 inches)— almost twice the length of a 1/8-inch pipe crack.

If 250 gallons of water can leak out of that size, imagine the amount of water damage if the pipe crack was a quarter of an inch period

Given that the water leaked out of the pipe at a consistent rate, we can expect approximately 500 gallons of water would be lost — from a pencil eraser sized crack.

Now, as the pipe crack widened, you can only imagine the extent of water damage that would be present.

4. Washing machine supply lines usually fail around the average age of 8.7 years[8]

A lot of times, people forget to change out the supply line, especially since they aren’t that visible. Over the years, the added wear and tear can cause cracks in the lines, which could lead to a water leak and potential water damage.

As we previously mentioned, a small crack isn’t something to take lightly.

5. 75% of water heaters fail before the 12-year mark

Like with washing machines, water heaters aren’t normally visible — usually located outside of the house or in the basement. This makes them easily forgettable, with repairs and routine maintenance not on one’s mind.

In fact, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety puts water heater failure in the top five causes of water damage.[9]

Over the years, as the water tank corrodes and, if not maintained, it’s not uncommon for a slow leak or burst. To be exact, 69% of water heater failures result from these specific causes.[10]

6. On average, washing machine failures cost around $5,308 per incident after the insurance deductible[11]

Not to mention, there could be mold from the water damage, which means you would need to call mold removal and remediation services.

7. When there is water damage, carpet and backing usually dry in 24 to 48 hours[12]

At the same time, you may want to have a mold inspection done just so mold can be ruled out.

8. Although water damaged areas may dry within 48 hours, mold growth can still occur[13]

Like we said, for this reason, we recommend that you have a professional mold inspection done. That way, mold doesn’t go undetected, and your health isn’t at risk– A.k.a. mold allergies, asthma…

(We discuss more about mold and the health effects from it in one of our previous articles, What You Need to Know About Mold: From Mold Inspection to Mold Prevention.)

9. Your average household leak can end up being 10,000+ gallons of water per year[14]

Which, as you can tell, can put a hefty dent in your water bill. So, to make sure that this doesn’t happen, we recommend that you keep tabs on your monthly water bill. If you notice an unusual spike, check for water leaks.

(You can learn about the types of tests you can do to check for water leaks in our water damage restoration series—  The Low-Down About Water Damage, Including Why Water Damage Restoration Is Necessary parts 1 and 2.

10. 10% of homes have water leaks that waste up to 90 gallons or more each day[15]

So, that comes out to 630 or more gallons per week. 2,520 gallons or more per month. And, 131,040 gallons or more per year.

11. The total amount of water leaking from American homes exceeds 1,000,000,000,000 gallons![16]

That’s the equivalent to the total annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.[17]

Put another way, it’s equal to the amount of water needed to fill 40 million swimming pools and 24 billion baths.[18]

And, the total amount that’s in Lake Okeechobee, Florida.[19]

In case you want to know, Lake Okeechobee is 730 miles of water. Talk about a significant amount of water loss.

Besides the high water bills, what’s concerning is where that water ends up going to. Is it the carpet? Or the installation?  Or even the basement?

This is why it’s important to check on pipes before the cold winter. It’s why it’s necessary to fix leaks immediately once you find them. It’s why water damage prevent needs to be mandatory.

So, what more can you do?

Here’s what we recommend:

  • During the cold winters, make sure you turn on portable heaters next to your pipes to prevent them from bursting
  • Make sure to clear out clogged gutters to prevent water spillage, and possibly mold
  • Check for water stains on the ceiling, walls, and floors
  • Have your pipes be located inside the house (preferably in the basement) than on the outside to prevent wear and tear
  • Periodically, check all of your faucets for any leaks
  • Conduct all needed maintenance for your appliances –change the washing machine supply line and replace water heater tanks, following the manufacturers’ Instructions
  • Teach everyone how to use the water shut off switch in case of a serious water leak
  • Make sure all doors and windows are properly secure to prevent water from coming in

Remember, please feel free to check out our other blog posts for more tips to prevent water damage.

Also, if you do suspect you have water damage, we recommend that you contact a water damage restoration company as up well as your insurance.

 Missed anything? Here’s a summary:

  • Plumbing supply system failures is the number one source for water supply loss
  • January and February are months you should watch out for water damage
  • 250 gallons of water can leak from a 1/8-inch pipe crack
  • This is almost 2 times smaller than the diameter of an eraser on a number two pencil
  • Your washing machine supply line may fail after 8.7 years
  • Three quarters of water heaters fail before the 12-year mark
  • Washing machine failures can cost on average $5,308 per incident after the insurance deductible
  • Carpet and backing typically dry in 1 to 2 days
  • Still, mold growth may occur even if water damaged areas are dried under 48 hours
  • Your average household leak comes out to approximately 10,000+ gallons of water loss per year
  • 1/10 of household leaks waste anywhere from 90 gallons or more per day
  • the total amount of water leaking from American homes exceeds 1,000,000,000,000 gallons
  • To make sure you aren’t one of those households, check out our previous blog posts for water damage hacks

Question and Comments About Water Damage Restoration

Have any questions about water damage and water damage restoration?  Contact us. Have any interesting water damage stats you’d like to share? Leave a comment in the comments section.

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[1] Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Water Damage Studies

[2] Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Water Damage Studies

[3] Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Water Damage Studies

[4] NICB: Forecast Report

[5] NICB: Forecast Report

[6] NICB: Forecast Report

[7] Water Damage by The Numbers: Infographic

[8] Water Damage by The Numbers: Infographic

[9] Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Water Damage Studies

[10] Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Water Damage Studies

[11] Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety: Water Damage Studies

[12] EPA: Water Damage —Cleanup and Mold Prevention

[13] EPA: Water Damage —Cleanup and Mold Prevention

[14] EPA: Fix a Leak Week

[15] EPA: Fix a Leak Week

[16] Water Damage by The Numbers: Infographic

[17] Water Damage by The Numbers: Infographic

[18] Washington Post: The incredibly stupid way that Americans waste 1,000,000,000,000 gallons of water each year

[19] Washington Post: The incredibly stupid way that Americans waste 1,000,000,000,000 gallons of water each year

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