What to Do When You Find a Water Leak
Updated: Feb 17
Repeat after me…“Never wait to fix a leak!” We may sound forward, but it really is true. Little leaks can quickly turn into bigger water damage problems. So where should you be looking for drips, and what should you do when you find leaks?
Most Common Spots for Leaks
Most interior leaks are easy to spot. Look under sinks for signs of leaks including cracked or warped flooring. Check for condensation or corrosion up around pipes.
Toilets are a common culprit of leaks. A toilet left running can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day.
Be watchful for signs there may be a leak in your wall pipes. You may notice staining, bubbling, musty smells, or excess moisture. This type of damage can lead to mold and spread quickly, so it’s important to be very watchful for signs of water damage.
Roof leaks are also a common culprit of water damage. Signs of damage may include drips, discoloration on ceilings, crumbling drywall, shingles that are cupped or curling, musty smells in the attic, wood decay in the attic and around windows, and mold on insulation.
Leaks Often Overlooked
It’s easy to forget about dishwashers and washing machines. These appliances have hoses that run constantly and are prone to wear and tear damage that can cause leaks. These areas should be checked regularly for signs of water leaks or damage. Look for warped flooring or discoloration on walls or cabinets. Check hoses for bulges or cracks and replace immediately if damaged.
Often the first sign of a garbage disposal leak is finding your cabinets or stored bottles under the sink wet. The sounds of dripping can also indicate there may be a problem. Foul smells coming from the flooring and cabinet can also indicate a disposal leak.
What to Do
If you know where the leak is coming from, it’s important to stop the flow of water to that area. Be sure to locate and shut-off the water at its source. Then, make necessary repairs.
If you find hoses and lines under sinks that are bulging or cracked, replace immediately. Replace rubber hoses with steel-braided lines for added security.
While most leaks can be handled by a homeowner, there are circumstances where a professional may need to be called in for water damage. With leaks, what seems like an easy cleanup can turn into a major project. Water seeps quickly and easily into walls, floors, and textiles. Neglect of any damp area can lead to major structural damage due to mold. Time is critical in minimizing damage. If you have even the slightest concern about leak damage, a call to a professional water restoration service is recommended.
When dealing with the hazards of raw sewage it is always recommended that a professional water restoration service be called.
You may want to document the damages. If you need to file an insurance claim, you may need evidence of the impact and damages.
What Not to Do
Do not walk-through water unless you know it is safe to do so. If there is damage near electrical lines, you may want to wait until a professional is called. If the leak is affecting high-use areas, block those areas off for safety purposes. It may be necessary to shut off electricity or gas as well. Judge the situation and shut-off power and gas supply lines if you feel it is needed.
Do not handle any electrical appliance unless it is unplugged.
Do not wait to call if you think you have significant water damage on your hands. Water can seep into places you can’t see and linger even after places feel dry. These damp areas can lead to mold in as little as 24 hours. Water damage restoration experts know exactly what to look for and have the proper tools for identifying the extent of the damage. They will be able to address areas of concern safely and quickly, avoiding possible hazards and further damage in the future.
The key to water damage prevention is early detection. If you can find and fix leaks quickly, you stand a good chance at preventing major damage.
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