Part 2: The Low-Down About Water Damage, Including Why Water Damage Restoration is Necessary (#5 is really creative and practical)

Surprising fact #1: 37% of homeowners claim losses from water damage.[1]

Surprising fact #2: Your washing machine supply hoses will fail 8.7 years from first purchasing your washing machine.[2]

And, to top it off, 75% of water heaters fail by year 12.[3]

Yep, water damage resulting from appliances is fairly common.

Which is why we don’t want you to suffer the destructive consequences, so we’ve created this series for you: The Low-Down About Water Damage, Including Why Water Damage Restoration is Necessary.

Series update

In Part 1, you found out what the common causes are (including some pretty unexpected ones) and the categories and classes of destruction.

Now, in Part 2, you’ll learn how to identify water damage and what to do if you find it. And, to reduce your chances of getting water damage, what proactive steps you can take to prevent it from destroying your home and causing problems in you and your family’s lives. Water damage isn’t fun; you shouldn’t have to suffer.

Read on! (#5 is oddly creative and practical.)

How to identify water damage

We recommend periodically going through every room of your house to inspect possible water damage.

During your home inspection, look for:[4]

  • damaged caulking
  • pipe and faucet leaks
  • repeatedly damp floors
  • soft walls
  • loose tiles
  • dampness in cabinets
  • low water pressure
  • dampness around foundation (damper than the rest of the areas of your property)
  • discoloration
  • excess moisture
  • rust stains (especially around sinks)
  • rust-tined water
  • loud noises from pipes when the faucets are off
  • peeling paint
  • swelling around door and window frames
  • wet carpet and cushioning

Basically, if you see an area in your home that is repeatedly damp, you likely have water damage.

Look for materials that are in need of repair or replacement

During your home inspection, also be on the lookout for materials that need to be fixed (this is a crucial preventative measure):

  • Bent valves and hoses (especially the supply hose to the washing machine— you will want to replace this because you risk tears or cracks in lines)
  • The direction of your sprinklers (if they’re spraying directly on your house, your house is getting the water, not your plants, which is no good for either)
  • Secure supply lines
  • Leaky pipes (remember the statistic we mentioned in Part 1 how just a one-eighth inch pipe crack can leak 250 gallons in one day)

What to do when you spot water damage

Ok, you did your home inspection and found some wetness in one area of the carpet. You inspected that area again the next day and, low and behold, it’s still there—it’s now even bigger.

Ok, you likely have some water damage.

Great.

Here’s what you need to do. This goes for any water damage situation, small or large.

First, shut the water shutoff valve off. This will turn your water supply off and will prevent further leakage if the source is a broken pipe or leaky faucet—anything that utilizes your main water supply.

Next, if it’s safe to do so (note the word safe), turn off your electricity via the electric panel. If you cannot physically get to the panel or it’s simply unsafe to do so (there’s a pile of water around there), refrain from using all electrical appliances that surround wet surfaces.

Under no reason should you use electrical appliances when you are standing on or around wet surfaces. This applies to electrical outlets, especially if the walls are wet.

Then, call your insurance about the damage.

And then call us (if you need water damage restoration in Colorado). If you don’t reside in Colorado, call your local water damage restoration company.

In the meantime, take pictures of the damage and write everything down that happened, including when you first saw the damage, the description of the damage at the time, how it got bigger or didn’t get smaller…

This isn’t a DIY project: Call the water damage restoration experts

We get it.

DIY projects are awesome.

You can build and fix nearly anything with a how-to on the Internet.

Build a bed frame? Yep.

Shelves for the kitchen? Check.

Make your own carbonated water? No problem.

Restoring your house after water damage? No way.

This is why. You need to have proper training and certification before you can inspect a house for damage. A person who is trained in water damage restoration will assess the situation and use proven methods to restore the materials and/or property to its previous condition.

Remember the different classes and categories in Part 1?

There are some categories (Category 2 and 3) that specify the water is hazardous and could negatively impact health.

And there are some classes where the structural materials are affected. In other words, the structure of a room isn’t as sturdy as it needs to be.

Both these situation are dangerous.

Call the water damage restoration experts. Do not under any circumstance try to fix the damage yourself.

Preventative steps

Here’s what you can do though to reduce the chances of water damage (creative and practical ways included):

Check your water bill

Keep a tab on your water bill. According to the EPA, an American family of four generally uses about 400 gallons of water per day.[5] Multiply that by 31 (total number of days in most months), and a pretty typical bill for a family of four would be 12,400 gallons of water per month.

If you notice your bill is fluctuating dramatically, you may have a leak and some damage.

Use food coloring to find a toilet leak

Squeeze a couple of drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If in less than 15 minutes you notice colored water in the bowl, you have a leak. (Make sure to flush the toilet a couple of times to ensure there’s no food color stain on the bowl.)

Prevent bursting pipes during cold winters by doing this trick

In very cold temperatures with no warmth, your pipes could burst, creating an emergency water damage situation.

If a one-eighth inch pipe crack produces 250 gallons of water per day, imagine the damage several ruptured pipes can do. That’s bad.

So, open your cabinet doors under the sink. This allows the warm air from your house to circulate around the pipes.

In the coldest parts of your house, place space heaters near your pipes.

And for very cold weather, leave your faucets dripping. This reduces the water pressure and doesn’t create a dramatic temperature change.

Water meter test

Record your water meter.

Don’t use water for a couple hours.

Go back, and look at your water meter.

If it changed, there’s water damage somewhere.

Water pressure test

Turn your bathroom faucet on.

Then turn on your kitchen faucet.

If the stream in one of these faucets suddenly decreases, there may be a water leak.

Think these tips are useful? Let us know!

Also, be sure to contact us if you need advice or have questions or comments about water damage.

 

Image Credit: Water damaged room via Restoration Clean.

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[1] Water Damage Defense: Water Damage by The Numbers

[2] Water Damage Defense: Water Damage by The Numbers

[3] Water Damage Defense: Water Damage by The Numbers

[4] Water Damage Defense: Tips on Preventing Water Damage

[5] EPA: Indoor Water Use in the United States

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