How to Spot the Signs of Hidden Water Damage
Water damage is a common cause of loss in new and old homes. However, it isn’t always a noticeable problem. In fact, there are many instances where water damage remains hidden for weeks or months.
Unfortunately, this only leads to more problems. Secondary water damage occurs when the initial mess isn’t cleaned up right away. In fact, problems like rot and mold can start to occur within 24 hours of the incident.
Therefore, it’s important that homeowners learn how to spot signs of hidden water damage. This guide from a professional water damage cleanup company details some of the most common indicators of a hidden water damage problem.
One of the most obvious signs of water damage is mold growth. Mold thrives in areas that are dark, warm, and moist, which explains why it is so often associated with hidden water damage in floors, walls, and basements.
Homeowners may not notice mild mold growth right away if it is in a discrete location. Instead, it’s likely that the hidden water damage will lead to a major mold outbreak before it is finally discovered. In these cases, homeowners might notice physical symptoms of exposure before they can see the mold growth.
Other homeowners might not realize they have a water damage problem until they start to notice a musty odor. While the smell is often associated with mold growth, it can occur even without any visible mold growth.
Though it might be tempting for some homeowners to cover up these smells, it’s important to identify where they are coming from. They could very well be the first sign of a hidden water leak.
Increase in Water Bill
Homeowners should also pay close attention to their utility bills. Water bills can be especially telling if there is a hidden leak inside the home. While there are a few reasons that a water bill might be higher than usual, a significant spike could indicate that the home has a leak in its plumbing.
Unfortunately, this sign doesn’t give homeowners much information on where the leak is located. Therefore, they may have to hire a professional water damage cleanup company to complete a thorough inspection of the property.
Stained or Discolored Walls
A very obvious sign of water damage is staining or discoloration of walls or ceilings. The drywall typically takes on a yellow or brown tint, and it can appear in rings, which indicates a recurring water leak.
Homeowners should always take these signs of water damage seriously because they could point to a much larger problem behind the drywall. In many cases, drywall cuts will need to be performed to identify the source of the water damage. However, leaking plumbing or roofs are often the cause of such hidden water damage.
Peeling or Blistering Paint & Wallpaper
Even if a homeowner paints over the stained drywall, the problem will still show itself. Paint and wallpaper can start to feel, chip, or blister as the drywall expands with water absorption. As the material soaks up more water, it eventually causes the drywall and paint to lose its adhesion.
It may first start with a few small bubbles, but when there is major water damage, it can eventually leave the home with huge pockets of water. Homeowners should never pop these bubbles. Instead, they should contact a water damage cleanup company right away.
Ceilings and walls aren’t the only areas of the home that can indicate a water damage problem. Homeowners should also pay close attention to their flooring. Hardwood floors are especially prone to warping, cupping, or blistering when exposed to water. If the initial signs are ignored, the hidden water damage can eventually lead to rot in the wood.
Homeowners with carpet should still look out for signs of hidden water damage. Aside from feelings of dampness, the floors could also start to warp if the water is absorbed by the subfloor. It’s important that homeowners contact a professional right away if they notice warping or weakness in their floors as they could collapse from from too much water.
Request an Inspection from a Water Damage Cleanup Company
These are just a few of the signs that could point to a hidden water damage problem, but homeowners shouldn’t assume that everything is fine if they don’t notice them. The best way to truly identify hidden water leaks is by hiring a professional to complete a thorough inspection.
SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham, and Quincy is an experienced water damage cleanup company, so local customers can count on them to find leaks in walls, ceilings, and other hidden areas. Call or fill out their online form to request an inspection today!