Water damage can cause quite a mess. Depending on how severe it is, a good portion of your house can be affected. And unfortunately, water often penetrates far beyond the surface level. If puddles start accumulating on carpet, for instance, you can’t simply mop up the water and assume that everything will be fine. When water seeps into the subfloor, it creates an environment that’s prime for mold growth and also weakens the structure that can cause a catastrophic accident if it gets bad enough. If you get to that point, the best move is to call a water damage restoration company to take care of it for you. But by knowing the common sources of water damage and what causes it to happen, with periodic inspections you may be able to stop it before it starts.
There isn’t much you can do when the weather starts to act up. Even the best safeguards can fail during record winds, rains, or a citywide utility failure. And although it’s the most difficult to predict and guard against, the weather is actually one of the least common ways that water damage occurs.
While rain is common in the Pacific Northwest, rivers rarely get to flooding stage, although flooding has been known to happen. And occasionally, massive amounts of rain falls at once, causing minor flash floods in areas that aren’t equipped to combat such a deluge. Floods are much more likely after periods of heavy snowfall followed by a sharp increase in temperature, and many people have found themselves with water damage after such an event, especially if they have a basement.
Periods of high winds sometimes happen in the area and can blow down trash cans, trees, and even parts of roofs. This by itself won’t cause water damage, but sometimes these wind storms are accompanied by higher than average rainfall. And if there’s a hole in your roof, any amount rain is bad news!
Many people think of harsh, unrelenting rainstorms and flooding when they think about water damage. But something more benign is much more likely to be the source of your property’s water damage than the weather; appliance failure.
Do you know the proper technique to install a washing machine? If not, you should get help from someone that does! DIY installations are a major way that water gets into a property, particularly when one of these methods doesn’t endure. Hooking up a fridge water line on a splitter that also serves a washing machine, for instance, may seem like a practical way to deliver water to both appliances, but an error in installation can cause a failure at the connection point and cause in-home flooding to ensue. And if you’re out of town on a trip when this happens, you could come home to an unplanned swimming pool or get a call from the fire department saying your door was kicked down because the downstairs neighbors noticed that their ceiling was leaking.
If you’re unsure about how to install an appliance or fixture to a water line, have a professional come by to help. While it may seem costly upfront, making sure your appliance is put in right can not only save you peace of mind, but thousands of dollars as well.
Even appliances put in by a professional can fail eventually. Connections wear out or become over tight or loosen with use. Some pipe materials are also prone to rust and deterioration. And if this happens enough, you could start to get a leak or even have the connector fail. While it’s usually easy enough to shut off the water if you’re present when it happens, it’s a different story if it occurs while you’re away. Older washing machines and hot water heaters are the most likely to fail, but keep an eye out on earlier models of refrigerators with water and ice dispensers as well and prepare for a replacement at the first sign of failure.
Since your plumbing system is responsible for sending water everywhere throughout your property, any failure in it can cause a significant amount of water damage. Unfortunately, realizing there is a leaking or damaged pipe isn’t always so easy.
Some homes in Portland and the surrounding area are decades or even a hundred years old. And many of these older homes are still functioning on their original pipes. Galvanized steel pipes, once thought to be the ideal piping material, have been proven to wear quickly. These pipes corrode from the inside, restricting water flow and also bringing a metallic taste to your water. Eventually, they corrode to the point where they break. If you have these pipes, it’s a good idea to have them inspected to check their condition; replacing them early can save you money in the long run.
Burst pipes won’t go undetected for long, but what about smaller leaks? If you have pipes that are leaking inside of your walls that you can’t see, it may take some time before you know anything is wrong. Be on the lookout for common signs of a water leak including reduced water pressure, unusual pooling of water in your lawn, discoloration in your walls and an unexpected increase in your water bill. Leaks create an environment where mold thrives, and the harmful microbe can cause many health problems.
If you have a pipe that bursts at your property, find a way to shut down the water immediately! Turn off the water to that portion of your property or shut off the water main if possible. Burst pipes send a substantial amount of water inside your walls, floors, and other places and almost always require the use of a property restoration company. But by paying attention to plumbing and appliances, the chances that this will happen to you are much lower!