The effects of water damage on the resale value of a home and its appearance is well documented. We all know that when serious flooding occurs, that can also be catastrophic for your home and lead to tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs. However, what if your problem is not catastrophic flooding or a burst pipe, what if the issue is a simple leak? Surely a leak cannot be so devastating, right?
Unfortunately, a water leak can play havoc with your health and with your home just as surely as a full-scale flood would. In order to help you understand the dangers of even a small amount of water damage and the risks it poses to your health and home, here are just a few of the consequences of even a simple water leak.
Drives Down Property Values
It should go without saying, but a history of water damage drives down the value of your home. This is because, even after you believe you have fixed the damage, lingering effects may remain. This can compromise your bargaining position should you decide to sell your home in the future, and will drive down the final selling price. Taking care of water leaks right away will prevent that damage from occurring and help to maintain the value of your home.
Mold and Fungal Growth
One of the biggest consequences of water damage for your health is the growth of molds and fungi within the home. These organisms produce spores that pollute the air and can prove hazardous to your long-term health. Most homes have mold spores of some sort within the nooks and crannies of their home. It is almost an inevitability, even with new construction. When left in dry areas, spores can lay dormant for decades, never causing a problem or harming anybody.
When spores come into contact with water, however, that is when their growth is triggered. In the presence of water, mold spores can proliferate, filling the affected area with unsightly and unhealthy mold growth and producing additional spores that begin to pollute the air.
For the average person, mold spores in the air can range from irritating to catastrophic, with most common symptoms of mold exposure including nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, coughing, and sneezing fits. These effects are bad enough, but if you have a pre-existing condition or a compromised immune system, the impact is even more severe with the possibility of mold growing within them – creating even greater health complications. For infants, growing up in a mold infested household increases the likelihood of developing asthma.
The health hazards of mold growth that can be spurred on by water damage would be enough for most. However, there are other potential hazards to be aware of that a water leak could create. This damage is more structural, and can be just as expensive, if not more so, than the medical expenses that mold can incur. The most obvious and immediate effects of water damage are aesthetic – staining, discoloration, and streaks along the walls. In fact, these obvious symptoms will be the first signal for most that they have a leak in the house.
When drywall starts to absorb water from a leaky pipe or other forms of water damage, it begins to warp and swell. This can happen with other materials as well and, if left untreated for too long, can compromise the structural integrity of the home. This is most dangerous when dealing with support beams and other important structures of the home. However, even the simple warping can lead to an unsightly hole in the wall, which if combined with a mold outbreak can quickly turn things from simply ugly to unlivable.
Detecting Water Damage
Discovering a water leak in your home is critical to the long-term health and safety of your family. However, water leaks can remain hidden for quite some time. The first step to fixing the problem and having the leak repaired is discovering the problem in the first place. This can be done through any number of methods.
Pay Attention to Strange Odors
A leaking pipe will often leave a musty smell in the air. This odor is very noticeable and may even be your first sign that something is wrong. If you suddenly notice a strong, musty odor where there was none before, try to find the source of the smell. You just might find a water leak or other problem that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Discoloration in the Walls
Another warning sign of a water leak is discoloration in the walls. An off-white or yellow stain suddenly appearing along a white wall can be a sign of a hidden water leak within. These should be considered major warning signs of something wrong.
Sagging Walls or Ceiling
Water will tend to accumulate in one spot as a result of a water leak. It will always flow to a given point, and this point is where you will notice sagging or other visible effects. It might not be immediately apparent, but eventually the added weight of water will have a negative effect on the structure of your home. This will result in those sagging walls. If you notice a sudden bulge or change in the ceiling or walls it could point to water accumulation, which means you have a leak somewhere!
Repairing Water Leaks
A water leak is often one of those matters that is best left to a professional. Professional plumbers spend their lives finding, diagnosing, and repairing the problems the cause water leaks. As such, they can help you find a long-term solution. It is recommended that you turn to a reliable plumbing contractor that can offer 24-hour service. The effects of even a small water leak on your home can be catastrophic, and having 24-hour, on-call emergency response will mitigate the water damage in the long term. Experts such as those at The Plumbing Company can help you to mitigate the damage and protect yourself from damage to your home and health.