Water is a great resource, one that we literally cannot live without. We need it for hydrating our bodies, washing our clothes and dishes, bathing, and numerous other purposes. However, water is not always a positive factor. Excess and unwanted water in your home can cause many problems resulting in damage to your home and its contents.
Causes of Water Damage
There are several reasons why your home can sustain water damage. Here are some such situations with some suggestions on on how to mitigate them and minimize the damage.
If your home has a flat, rather than a sloped or angular roof, it could be detrimental when heavy rains occur.
In actuality, “flat” roofs shouldn’t be completely flat to work properly. They should be slightly convex to enable the water to drain off of them. If there are issues that occur that undermine this slight slope, the result could be a real flat or even concave roof.
One example of these issues could be debris, like tree limbs and leaves on the roof. If left uncleared, the build-up of debris will weigh down the roof, usually in the center, which is the weakest point. This will allow water to accumulate in that area instead of running off the roof.
Freezing weather can also be a factor, in that the water puddles that would normally run off turn to ice. Because the edges freeze first, they trap the water in place, forming a dam, keeping the water standing in place and adding weight to the roof.
These scenarios can cause water leaks and damage both on the roof and the ceiling inside the home. So if you have a flat roof, it’s important to have it regularly cleaned and maintained in order to avoid this water problem.
The gutters on your home are there to maximize drainage of the water caused by rain and melting snow that runs off your roof. They should also be designed to push the water away from your home’s foundation. The problems arise when those gutters don’t work as they should.
Clogged gutters are one culprit. If they are blocked with debris, like leaves and branches, a blockage occurs, preventing the water from getting through as it should. This results in the water overrunning from the tops of the gutters instead of flowing through to the bottom. The water will run straight down the walls of the home, into the foundation.
If your gutters are in disrepair, they will also not function properly. Cracks or holes allow the water to escape in unintended areas.
Both of these situations will cause the water to run down the exterior walls and around the base of the house. This can result in basement leaks and mold forming. To prevent this from happening, keep your gutters clean of debris and repair or replace them when damaged.
There are many water pipes in your home, some in plain sight and others located in obscure places. If any of them are leaking, it can cause disastrous results, including erosion, water damage, mold and more.
The leak may not be noticeable at first. If it’s located behind walls, under floors, in the attic--you may not be aware until the leak becomes more obvious. Also, if it starts with just a minor dripping, you may not see it right away. But both situations can create dampness, mold and other problems.
Pipe leaks can be caused by several things. The acidity level of the water may not be correct, creating a film on the inside of copper pipes. The acidity eventually erodes the pipes. The pipes could be subject to freezing in certain conditions, causing fissures and leaking. Your pipes may have accumulated rust. A tap may not have been turned off properly.
If you can’t actually see the water damage, you may still have leaky pipes. If the water from your tap is discolored or the water pressure is low, you may have a leak. If you suspect leaky pipes, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional as soon as possible.
Your home contains a variety of appliances that use water to function. Dishwashers, washing machines, ice makers, water heaters, air conditioners are examples. These appliances use tubes, pipes, gaskets and filters to operate, all with the potential to leak water.
Washing machines normally include rubber or PVC lines. These can deteriorate, causing leaks and even bursting hoses. Consider replacing these old lines with braided stainless steel.
Dishwashers can cause water damage if not properly sealed. This can occur if the latch is broken, or the wrong soap was used. Make sure that any leaks are immediately addressed and that your dishwasher is repaired or replaced ASAP, so you can avoid costly water damage repairs to your kitchen.
Your air conditioner works by pulling the humidity out of the indoors and moves it outside by dumping it into the unit’s overflow pan and sending it through the condensate line. If the pan is damaged or the line is clogged, the system backs up, soaking insulation and ceilings.
Water heater problems can be caused by a faulty water outlet or drain valve. Some of the older units can sustain leaks in the bottom.
Water sprinkler systems exist in many high-rise buildings. They can be life-saving features, but they are also prone to freezing in the winter if not properly maintained.
A sump pump is a great solution for controlling water in the basement. However, when that sump pump breaks or malfunctions, lots of water damage can occur.
To minimize the likelihood of these events causing devastating water damage to your home, keep your appliances in good repair. Check them regularly for wear and tear. If you notice anything that could indicate a possible problem--like cracks, bulges, rust, dampness--take action as soon as possible to remedy the situation. Replace your water lines regularly.
Clogged Drains and Leaking Toilets
Clogged drains in the tub or sink can be a nuisance, while a clogged basement floor drain can cause a basement filled with water.
Simple drain clogs can actually be cleared using two inexpensive household items: vinegar and baking soda! These won’t harm your pipes or surfaces, and can work wonders. You can also use plungers, drain snakes and air blasters to supplement this procedure. Harsh liquid drain cleaners are not recommended, as they can erode pipes and cause further damage.
However, a clogged basement drain is a different story. If you feel you can handle unclogging it yourself, there are some steps you can take. It is a messy and tedious process, so if you don’t feel you’re up to it, call in a plumber.
Running or leaky toilets can be annoying at best, and can cause considerable damage at worst. Leaks can ruin your floors and walls. One flush can flood your bathroom in seconds. This situation requires quick action to avoid further damage. You can either call a plumber or attempt to fix a minor leak yourself if you’re comfortable with doing so.
When your sewer backs up, it can cause a foul-smelling, disgusting situation. One common causes of sewer backups is tree roots that clog drain lines. Tree roots are attracted to water drain lines because they are ready sources of water and fertilizer. Clogs in the lines can prevent waste from flowing away from the home and cause toilet overflows.
You can try to prevent the drains from clogging in the first place by using enzyme-based drain treatments on a monthly basis during the Spring or Summer months, when tree roots are actively growing. If you already have the sewer backups occurring, however, it’s best to contact a professional. Quick attention will help to avoid the spread of dangerous contaminants that create an unhealthy environment.
A fire in your home can cause lots of damage. The water and chemicals used to extinguish that fire can result in further property damage. After a major fire, your home will most likely need professional fire and water restoration services to return it back to normal.
There are just some events that you can’t plan for or prevent entirely. One of these is flash flooding, caused by torrential extended periods of rain. Of course, these are more likely to cause water damage if there is pre-existing damage present on walls and window frames. Cracks or leaks in basements can make a home more susceptible to flooding, as well.
Even though flash flooding is rare, there have been incidents in the St. Louis area in the past decades. Being prepared and knowing what to do during and after a flood can help mitigate the water damage your home sustains. You may also want to consider adding flood protection to your home insurance policy.
Call in the Experts at St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration
No matter how diligent you are in trying to prevent water damage in your home, there can be unplanned or unpreventable events that cause devastating effects.
Call on the professionals at St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration to clean and restore your property to its pre-damaged condition. We have the equipment, knowledge and expertise needed to get the job done efficiently and effectively. We are a preferred vendor for many of the major Insurance Companies and we work within the boundaries of insurance-covered claims.
Because immediate attention is often key to damage restoration, St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration is available 24/7 for emergency situations.