Invisible Causes of Water Damage

By | January 9, 2013

Unfortunately there are many invisible causes of water damage that are a lot more difficult to identify, and which can lead to long term, serious damage to the home. It’s easy to see stains in the walls or ceilings, cracks around the doors, or smell the mold or mildew that is in the home.

Unseen causes

The most common type of water damage is due to broken or leaking pipes in the plumbing. It could be due to a failure in the joint or it could be due to the foundation settling due to drought or too much rain. These often occur in the walls, under the flooring, in the basement, or in the attic. Generally by the time these are detected, there is significant water damage to flooring or drywall.

Another issue that is frequently discovered is problems with blocked drains or sewer lines. The drains from dishwasher, washing machine, clothes washer, and garbage disposal are often the culprits because the piping goes into the walls or underneath flooring. The damage is generally done long before the clogged drain is discovered.

Leaking from heating and air conditioning systems is another invisible culprit to water damage. When either of these systems are leaking, the moisture that gathers in the cooling ducts are excellent areas to encourage mold, mildew, and other bacteria that causes disease and attracts various disease-carrying insects.

Have you seen your appliances? 

Damaged appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, and dish washers, ice makers, or coffee machines that are directly connected to water lines can have tiny leaks that trickle in the beginning that can turn into a larger leak that damages wall, flooring, and cabinetry.

Check the basement and attic

Basements can also be a source for moisture accumulations due to water leaking through the foundation, and even condensation along the walls during periods of high humidity. This can cause damage to the drywall in the basement, as well as the foundation and structure of the building.

Attics can easily be another source where unseen damage has occurred. This can be from a heavy rain that was accompanied by high winds that has caused damaged shingled to have moisture seep underneath them, or by drains that are damaged.

Be observant

Knowing that these are many ways for invisible causes of water damage in the home or office is a good way to be vigilant in routinely looking for water damage. Once the source of the leak is located, it should be repaired immediately, and the area that was damaged must be dried and sanitized or repaired. Leaving the moisture between the walls or underneath the flooring stimulates growth of bacteria, mold, or mildew, and it can attract a number of disease-carrying insects. The best solution is to get the problem fixed immediately.