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Signs of Water Damage in the Home | Detecting Water Damage

Signs and Symptoms of Water Damage in Home

Water damage is one of the most common forms of home damage, which all too often goes unnoticed. You may think that damage caused by water is easy to detect, but many homeowners go years before noticing any signs of water damage. When they do notice water damage signs, it’s often been going on behind the scenes for years.

The longer you wait to inspect your home for water damage, the worse it gets. When left unchecked, water leaks and other moisture problems can lead to mold growth, structural damage, and other serious problems. And you may be the one footing the bill.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage, and many do not cover many other types of water damage. Make sure you are aware of the details of your homeowners’ insurance policy. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Negative Effects of Water Damage for Home and Health:

  • Lowers property values
  • Leads to mold, mildew, and fungal growth
  • Attracts insects and other pests
  • Leads to costly and dangerous structural damage
  • Health problems, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and sneezing fits

For infants and young children, mold-infested homes leads to a higher likelihood of developing asthma and other respiratory problems.

Water Damage Statistics:

  • Water damage from toilets costs $2,000 – $10,000 per incident. 78% of toilet leaks were caused by faulty supply lines, toilet flanges, fill valve assemblies, or toilets that backed up and overflowed.
  • A burst water supply line caused half of all water damage incidents involved washing machines On average, these incidents caused more than $6,000 in damage per incident.
  • The chance a water heater will leak or burst begins to dramatically increase when it is 5 years old. ¾ of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years old.
  • Home 30 years old were 3 times as likely to have a plumbing supply or drainage problem.
  • 73% of losses involving an icemaker were caused by the failure of the supply line hose. 10% of incidents involved new refrigerators and were linked to improper installation.
  • Roof leaks are the most frequent source of water damage. The likelihood of a rood leak was even more common in regions where freezing weather, severe wind and hail were frequent.
  • Water damage from a sink averaged more than $7,000 per incident. Of these incidents, 44% were attributed to faulty plumbing supply lines.
  • Home more than 20 years old were 37% more likely to have water damage involving a shower. More than half of the shower stall water damage incidents involved a faulty shower pan.
  • Power outages were the cause of 18% of water damage incidents involving a sump pump. Another 40% of incidents were attributed to things such as a clogged inlet screen or a faulty float switch.

Source: Study by the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

How to Detect Water Damage

The risks associated with water leaks, intrusions, and other moisture problems are very high. Prevent the home and health problems associated with water damage by inspecting your home for the following water damage signs and symptoms:

Ceiling Cracks and Stains

If you notice any cracks or stains in your ceilings, you probably have a water leak above the roof or ceiling. Never ignore visible effects on your ceilings, such as sagging areas, stains, and cracks. You have a leak somewhere!

Wood and Wall Discoloration

Rotting, decaying, and discolored wood and walls is a sure sign that there is a water leak or intrusion nearby. Look for warped and cracked wood floors,

Sagging Spots

In addition to checking the ceilings and walls, you also want to check your floors, especially in your bathrooms, kitchens, and around water-using appliances. If you notice soft and sagging spots on the floors, you probably have a plumbing leak nearby. Keep on the lookout for other floor problems, such as

Cabinet Damage

Don’t forget to check the areas around your pipes that are located behind cabinets. If you notice any water stains, warping, or discoloration in your cabinets, contact a plumber right away.

Smells and Odors

Sometimes, the best tool for discovering water damage around your home is your nose. Never ignore mold, mildew, or musty smells around the home. If you detect a musty smell in your home, use your nose to find the source of the problem.

Water Heater Damage

A medium-sized water heater carries around 80 gallons of water. Imagine how much damage would result if the water heater released all of that water into your home. If you notice any of the following signs of a deteriorating water heater, contact a water heater technician right away:

  • Dripping, leaking, or pooling water
  • Rust and corrosion
  • Burn marks near the bottom of the water heater
  • Flame color is any other color than blue (the flame under your tank should be blue)
  • Popping, rattling, and clinking noises

Don’t wait for your water heater to fail completely. Contact a professional plumber to check your water heater’s anode rod, drain the water heater, and inspect the entire system for optimum safety and efficiency. Depending on your water heater, you should flush it every 1-3 years.

Bonus Tip: Lower your water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees to save money and lower the risk of burning and scalding.

Learn more about sacrificial anode rods and water heater maintenance. If you are in need of a new water heater, research your water heater options.

Contact a professional plumber If you notice any of these signs and symptoms!

Water Damage Tips and Solutions:

  • If you notice any of the above water damage signs and symptoms, contact a professional plumber right away. They will be able to tell you what is wrong along with recommendations for repair or replacement.
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We highly recommend signing up for a Home Maintenance Plan that includes a yearly plumbing inspection. Even if you don’t sign up for a home maintenance plan, remember to schedule a professional plumbing inspection every year.
  • Install a sump pump in your basement with a battery backup. That way, if there is a power outage, your sump pump will still function.
  • Drain your water heater once a year. Inspect your sacrificial anode rod every 3 years. Contact a professional plumber to make sure your water heater is in good condition.
  • For any and all plumbing repairs and installations, make sure the work is done by a qualified technician. If your water-using appliances and pipes are not installed correctly, you can expect water damage in the near future. Plumbing service is best left to the professionals.
  • Learn how to turn off your individual and main water shutoff valves in the event of an emergency.
  • Learn how to find and fix plumbing leaks around the home.

Related Resources:

Water damage, mold, and flooding affect thousands of NJ homeowners every year. If you notice any signs of water or moisture in your home, act quick!

Contact Gold Medal Service at (877) 803-0511 or fill out our online request form (available 24/7).

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