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Common Causes of Residential Water Damage

Water is the elixir of life; it can, however, also be a destructive force. Residential water damage is an average homeowner’s worst nightmare. Water can affect buildings on so many levels. Water damage can discolor walls, and damage furniture, upholstery, and household appliances.

In a worst-case scenario, untreated water damage can lead to extensive structural damage. If water creeps into different areas of your property, your floors can warp. Moisture can build up as a result of water damage. Molds thrive in damp and wet conditions.

You can prevent water damage with the right knowledge. The first step to preventing or addressing water damage is diagnosing the problem. Once you get to the root cause of a problem, you can develop a plan with a water damage company to eliminate it.

Here are some common causes of residential water damage.

Damaged Pipes 

Old pipes are susceptible to stoppages and damages. A loose-fitting or damaged pipe can leak enough water to damage your ceilings, floors, household items, and appliances. A broken pipe inside a wall can damage the entire wall and lead to mold formation.

Check your floors and ceilings periodically. Look for signs of water damage such as cracks, bulges, and stains.

A sudden and inexplicable surge in your water bill could indicate a severe issue such as extensive damage to landscaping, foundation, and flooring. Check pipes in areas that collect water, such as crawl spaces, attics, and cabinets.

If you spot any signs of water damage, reach out to a plumber as soon as possible. Hard water contains several minerals that can cause corrosion and lead to a buildup of minerals inside pipes. Consider installing a water softener to reduce stress on your pipes. Make sure water pressure in your home does not exceed 60PSI.

Clogged Drains 

Bathroom and sink drains can become clogged with grease, dirt, debris, and hair. A clogged drain is a recipe for disaster. If left unchecked, a clogged drain can back up into your sink or damage your floorboards and wall support.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out ways to prevent your drains from getting clogged up. Just get the simple things right. Never throw solid waste such as feminine hygiene products, grease, eggshells, cat litter, condoms, and paper towels down your drains.

Installing a drain guard is one of the simplest and inexpensive ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes down the drain. Pour boiling water down your drain once a month to dissolve soap scum, grease, and debris.

Old/Damaged Appliances 

As household appliances age, their pipes can rust, and their hoses can weaken.

If you have an old washing machine, it may overload water, flooding the laundry room. Check pipes regularly. Replace old/damaged pipes. To prevent flooding, replace leaking hoses periodically.

Use a washing machine valve shutoff kit that works by closing the water supply valves at the end of the cycle to prevent flooding.

Water from a leaking dishwasher can seep into electrical wiring, wallpaper, and wood trim. To prevent dishwasher leaks, inspect and replace gaskets and doors periodically.

To prevent buildup in your dishwasher, run a quart of vinegar through it every month. Alternatively, scrape and rinse your dishwasher before loading it every time.

Often, kitchen flooding is caused by a malfunctioning refrigerator. A leak in the water supply line that feeds your ice machine can lead to flooding. To prevent your refrigerator from flooding:

  1. Make sure it is well insulated
  2. Check it periodically for leaks
  3. Avoid moving it around too frequently to change its position

A poorly maintained, incorrectly installed, or old water heater can develop leaks. A leaking water heater is one of the most common causes of basement flooding (as water heaters are usually located in basements). Check the drain valves and water outlets of your water heater regularly. If you notice signs of damage, reach out to your plumber right away.

Natural Disasters 

Natural disasters such as a hurricane, thunderstorm, and snowstorm can cause indoor flooding. Strong winds and heavy rains can also damage your roof. If you live in a flood-prone area, consider investing in a flood alarm and warning system.

Get additional flood insurance. Raise your home on stilts or install foundation vents or sump pumps. Remember to turn off your water main before leaving for a vacation.

Condensation from Your A/C 

The moisture produced in your A/C during the process of condensation drips from the unit’s evaporator coil into its drain pan. The condensate drain line removes it from your property. If your A/C’s condensate line clogs with dust or dirt, the drainage system will stop working. The water will then trickle down to the floor and damage walls or even make your insulation soggy.

A leaking A/C unit can soak the ceiling, making it an ideal breeding ground for mold. It can also cause severe structural damage.

Clean different parts of your A/C unit, including its ducts, regularly. Have a professional inspect and maintain the system at least once every year.

West Coast Fire and Water is a renowned water damage company in San RafaelNo matter what type of water damage you are dealing with, our team has you covered. To schedule an appointment, call (415) 417-0483