In 2019, 29.4% of home insurance claims in the US were for water damage and freezing. That signifies an increase of 5.7% from the year before and a staggering 10.7% from claims made in 2017.
All those figures prove that water damage events are becoming more prevalent in US homes.
Unfortunately, the consequences of water damage go beyond drenched carpets. It can also lead to health and safety hazards severe enough to render buildings unsafe.
For those reasons, it’s imperative to know when you need the help of a water damage company. We listed the most common indications and warning signs in this guide, so be sure to read on.
1. Recent Severe Weather
Between 2011 and 2021, the US experienced 18 billion-dollar flooding events. There were also 84 severe storms and 19 tropical cyclones that led to billions of dollars of losses. Of these, two flooding and four severe storm incidents occurred in 2021 alone.
Those inclement weather events are among the top causes of water damage in buildings. After all, they often cause water intrusion and indoor flooding in homes and offices.
So, if your area has had bad weather recently, you may already be dealing with water damage.
In that case, the attic and basement are the first places you should check for signs of excess moisture. Be on the lookout for dampness on floors and walls or even pools of standing water. If you see any of these signs, get in touch with a water damage company ASAP.
2. Ceiling or Wall Stains
The water dripping from a leaky roof or plumbing pipes can cause gradual water damage. Left unaddressed, the water can make its way to the visible side of a ceiling or a wall.
In ceilings, the damage may first show up as a circular patch with a shade darker than the area around it. If the leak is by a wall, it can leave dark, stalactite-looking streaks.
Over time, those stains can turn into ugly yellow, brown, or even black marks. These changes occur as the water in the ceiling, or the wall dries. In the case of slow leaks, the stains may show up in various shades.
Either way, those unsightly marks should prompt you to call a water damage repair expert. The sooner you do, the more time the pro has to dry the wet areas of your home. This, in turn, lets the specialist mitigate further damage caused by the leaks.
You can also expect a reliable provider of water damage services to find the root cause of the leaks. From there, they will let you know if it’s a roofer, a plumber, or both that you need to call for repairs.
3. You See Fuzzy Things All Over Surfaces
You’re likely looking at mold colonies, which can be white, green, orange, brown, purple, blue, or black. For example, you may have Aspergillus molds, some of the most common types of molds. They’re widespread because their family comprises more than 180 species.
Although molds are ubiquitous, they become more apparent in water-damaged properties. That’s because molds need lots of moisture, oxygen, and cellulose-containing materials. All these things, in turn, are present in buildings, but even more so in those with water damage.
That’s why seeing actual mold colonies is a solid indication you have water damage.
So, get in touch with a water damage repair company as soon as you see those fuzzy patches, especially if they’re big. The experts will take over the mold clean-up and restore salvageable materials.
4. Sagging or Spongy Wood
More than 1,500 species of white-rot fungi can break down wood lignin. Brown fungi and other soft rot fungi can also settle on and decompose wood. Don’t forget that molds feed on cellulose, too, so they can also cause organic materials to degrade.
If you give these microorganisms enough time, they can cause sponginess in wood. From there, the wood can start to sag or become more susceptible to dents. In severe cases, the wood can disintegrate or even collapse.
So, if part of your walls or floors feels soft, it may be time to call water-damaged home repair experts. These specialists can clean up and remediate the damage caused by rot-causing fungi.
5. Musty or Stale Smells
Water-damaged materials may emit musty smells without visible signs of mold. These odors may remind you of moldy bread, a gym or a pool locker room, or clothes that didn’t dry well. The stench may also be strongest when you first enter the room where the damage is.
Please keep in mind that the strong smell of molds can be enough to trigger sneezing and sniffles. The CDC even says that inhaling mold can trigger asthma even in people who don’t have a mold allergy. Those with allergies may also experience an allergy attack when they breathe in mold.
So, before anyone at home gets sick, have your home inspected for water and mold damage. The molds may not be visible, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there, hiding in your home.
6. Bubbling, Cracking, or Peeling Paint or Wallpaper
Bubbles result from the loss of contact between the paint or wallpaper material and the wall. Water, heat, or a combination of the two can wash away the adhesive that makes the paint or paper stick to the wall. Air then replaces the lost adhesive, resulting in bubbles or air pockets.
From there, the bubbling paint can then crack when they get big enough. As for damaged wallpaper, they can develop tears after they dry. Both water-damaged paint and wallpaper can also start to peel due to the loss of adhesion.
Either way, it’s best to call a repair specialist before the water damage spreads to the rest of your wall.
Hire a Water Damage Company to Help Keep Your Property Fungi-Free
In fact, it’s not only fungi you may have to deal with; water-damaged materials can attract other pests, too. Termites, mosquitoes, rodents, and roaches are just to name a few. What’s even more concerning is that these pests carry and transmit diseases.
So, as soon as you notice the signs we discussed above, call a water damage company for help. This way, they can restore your property to a safe, livable condition.
Speaking of which, are you ready for more home improvement guides? If so, then please have a look at our latest blog posts!