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What You Need to Know About Water Damage in Your Home

October 14, 2019

There are many ways a home can be damaged, but one of the most insidious is water damage – particularly because it can come in so many forms.  Water damage can come from obvious sources, such as a flash flood or other weather event, but it can also just as easily occur over the course of many months or even years.

That’s why you need expert Vancouver emergency water damage services when water has damaged your home.

However, as a homeowner, it’s useful to know more about the topic.  All forms of water damage are bad, but some are worse than others.  What ways can water damage your home?  And how dangerous can this damage be?  In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know!

  • Sources of Water Damage 

There are numerous ways water can make its way into your home, and damage parts of your property which were never meant to be saturated.  Some of the most common sources of water include:

  1. Broken pipes

Your home has numerous water-carrying pipes running throughout the structure, and if any of them becomes cracked or otherwise springs a leak, it’s going to start causing problems.  This can range from a slow drip within the walls, to catastrophic emergency basement flooding if a main line or sewage pipe breaks.

Pro Tip:  If the water is inside your walls, it can be extremely difficult to detect.  Keep an eye out for water stains or damp patches on the walls, or small puddles along the baseboards.  These almost always indicate a hidden leak.

  1. Damaged appliances

Some of the worst water damage can come from the appliances in your home which are intended to hold large amounts of water.  In particular, your water heater (if it has a tank) and washing machines for dishes or clothes.  If any of these spring a leak, they can dump a lot of water onto your floors in a very short period of time.

This level of water is usually beyond an individual’s ability to deal with.  You’ll need to contact expert Vancouver water removal services to handle the job.

Damaged fixtures, such as sinks or toilets, can also create similar messes.

  1. Weather events

There are numerous ways that rainwater can get into your home.  The most damaging would be a major flood or hurricane-style event, although fortunately, those are relatively rare.  More often, it comes in the form of leaks – such as through the roof, or through damaged siding.  The severity of the damage here will simply depend on how much water has come inside.

As with broken pipes, keep an eye on your exterior walls, and your upper floor, and be ready to call in damage restoration services if you see evidence of leaks.

  • Dangers of Water Damage

Water damage isn’t merely inconvenient.  It can be a legitimate danger and something you need to take care of ASAP by contacting emergency water damage cleanup services.

By far the worst threat is the possibility of mold growing.  Mold will start to grow within 24-48 hours of an area being saturated, without being dried out.  Most types of mold that grow within a house – such as Cladosporium or Alternaria – are allergenic, and possibly mildly toxic as well.  In worst-case scenarios, you could get an infestation of Stachybotrys, aka “black mold,” which is genuinely dangerous and has been known to kill both humans and pets.  A home could be condemned, if it has a severe Stachybotrys outbreak.

That’s not the only danger, either.  Water damage can also undermine the stability of your home.  Drywall, for example, becomes extremely soft when saturated with water, and can lose its ability to stand strong.  Saturated load-bearing elements, such as wooden support beams, can crack with enough water damage.  Or, if the water is leaking into the basement, it could potentially work its way into your foundation and undermine the entire structure.

Or, should a sewer line break, the entire area affected immediately becomes toxic.

In any of these cases, the best solution is to contact an emergency water removal service.

  • Categories of Water Damage 

Water damage restoration services tend to categorize water damage based on how much immediate danger it presents to people nearby.  There are three main categories:

Category 1:  This is the least dangerous form of water damage, the type you’d typically see from a broken sink or overflowing bathtub.  In many cases, you can clean up Category 1 damage yourself.  You just need to first soak up the excess water, and then thoroughly dry the area.  A strong heat source, such as a portable heater, is best for this.  A dehumidifier can also help.

Category 2:  Category 2 is the mid-range and covers two basic situations.  Either the water is known to be from a clean source, but has done extensive damage, or else the water is from an unknown or potentially unclean source.  Most of the time, Category 2 water damage will involve replacing carpeting, baseboards, furniture, etc.  You will need the assistance of water damage cleanup services to handle this!

Category 3:  Category 3 water damage is when it is verifiably toxic, either due to a severe mold infestation or because of the presence of sewage.  Never even go near Category 3 damage!  So much as touching the water could be dangerous. This requires specialized cleanup, hazmat suits, and other high-grade protections that only Vancouver emergency water damage services can afford.

  • How to Tell the Age of Water Damage

One difficulty people often have, involving water damage, is determining how long the damage has been there.  This can be particularly tricky if you’re purchasing a new home as a “fixer-upper” and want to estimate the cleanup costs.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Look at the materials

Broadly speaking, the harder a material is, the longer it has to be exposed to moisture to become water damaged.  Elements such as concrete and brick need months of water exposure for damage to become obvious.  On the other hand, softer materials such as wood or upholstery can be damaged with just a single contact.

  1. Does it have rings?

Often, water damage happens in several phases.  The spot becomes wet, then it dries out, then wet, then dry.  Each time, this will create a discolored ring that slowly expands.  The larger and more numerous the rings, the older the damage.

  1. Touch the spot with gloves

If the spot is soft, it’s new water damage.  DO NOT touch it with your bare hands!  You don’t know where the water’s been, or what microscopic elements might be growing.

  1. The presence of mold

If there is mold in the area, you know that water damage has been there for a while.  However, if there is no mold, that doesn’t mean much.  It could simply be that other factors are inhibiting mold growth.

For Emergency Vancouver Water Cleanup, Call in Malkin Cleaners

Water damage should never be ignored because it never goes away on its own.  It only gets worse, causing more damage to your home, and increasing the chances it becomes a danger to your family.  Don’t wait – contact Malkin Cleaners, Vancouver’s trusted choice for water cleanup since 1923.