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How to Recognize and Prevent Water Damage in Surrey Homes

February 04, 2020

Water damage is one of the most common causes of damage to Surrey homes – and worse, it’s often preventable!  Sure, you can’t do much against genuine natural disasters, but the majority of water damage isn’t caused by events like major storms.  All too often, it’s from fully preventable causes. Or, the water damage is slow and ongoing, where the homeowner overlooked critical red flags that could have tipped them off before more damage was done.

In this article, we want to talk about two things: recognizing if and when your home already has water damage and various ways you can reduce the risk in the future.

I. Spotting Signs of Water Damage in Surrey Homes

When people think of water damage on Surrey properties, they’re most likely to think of large catastrophes, burst pipes, and that sort of thing.  However, often the most insidious type of water damage – with some of the longest-lasting effects – is what comes from a slow buildup of water over time.

A refrigerator slowly leaking into a wall over the course of months could potentially do more damage than a broken water main, if it goes undetected!

So, it’s a very good idea for Surrey homeowners to periodically check throughout their home, inside and out, for signs that water damage is occurring.  If there are leaks or similar problems, the damage will be getting worse, day after day.  These are some of the major signs to look out for.

  1. Stains in the walls and ceilings

It’s rare for a leak to happen without any visible evidence.  The most common sign of water damage is that you can see liquid stains in places they shouldn’t be, such as in the walls or on the ceiling.  If you ever see a stain like that, and cannot immediately identify a cause, there’s a very good chance that there’s a hidden water leak somewhere.

  1. Musty, moldy smells 

Often, the biggest danger water poses to a house isn’t in the direct damage done.  It’s the mold and mildew which form in the damp areas.  A leak in the ceiling, wall, or floor is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.  These won’t just hurt your home; mold can be actively hazardous to people and pets as well.

Fortunately, you can usually smell mold and mildew.  Don’t ignore it if you do!

  1. Unexplained damp patches

Often, hidden leaks will slowly turn into more visible leaks.  A leak within a wall, for example, will often make its way into the baseboards or carpeting.  If you ever come across a wet spot on your floor without any other clear cause, you should be thinking “leak” and call in help from an expert water damage company in Surrey. 

  1. Clear points of entry 

Sometimes, you don’t need to see the water damage itself.  You just need to see where water could come in.  For example, if you’re missing multiple tiles on your roof, you can virtually guarantee that at least some water is leaking in from above.  The same goes for cracks in the foundation, leaks around windows and skylights, and any other situation that would allow rain or snow into your home.

  1. Higher water bills

While rare, we have seen situations where a homeowner was tipped off because of higher water usage.  If your monthly water use is steady, but suddenly spikes on your next bill, there’s a very good chance you have a leak somewhere that accounts for the difference.

There are many ways to spot water damage in Surrey homes – and, fortunately, there are also many ways to stop it!

II. Proofing Your Surrey Home Against Water Damage

Prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to water in your home.  Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your home safe from unwanted water intrusion.

  1. Regularly clean your gutters and spouts

If your rain gutters or their spouts are clogged up, it’s begging for leaks to occur.  If water remains pooled on your roof, it will often find ways to seep into your home.  You should clean your gutters at least twice a year (particularly in the Fall!) to maintain good water flow.

  1. Weatherize your outside faucets in winter

There are two important things to do in the winter.  First, disconnect and store any exterior hoses that won’t be used. (This will also protect the hoses!)  Then, leave the faucets running, but just a little trickle.  This will prevent them from completely freezing.  Frozen faucet pipes are more likely to burst, creating floods.

  1. Monitor your foundation for cracks

There are many reasons to fix cracks in your foundation as soon as you see them, but the risk of water damage is one of the biggest.  A leaky foundation can easily allow water into a home.  Worse, if it’s in the winter, water could make its way into the foundation, then freeze, widening the crack and causing further damage.

  1. Keep a close eye on major appliances

Your water-based appliances are one of the biggest sources of flooding risk, so you want to watch out for any signs of leaks or other maintenance issues.  We recommend having them serviced at least once a year, and have their hoses periodically replaced, to reduce any chance of leaking or bursting.  In particular, focus on:

  • Tank-based water heaters
  • Refrigerators and stand-alone freezers
  • Dishwashers and dryers
  • Clothes washers

If any of these break down, they can cause catastrophic water damage in a short amount of time.

  1. Re-caulk your windows and skylights

The caulk around your windows is going to break down over time, and that makes them vulnerable to water intrusion.  This is especially true of skylights!  If it were up to us, people wouldn’t use skylights because they always seem to spring leaks.  Keep these fixtures regularly caulked, and also maintain the flashing around your skylight, if you have one.

  1. Install some water detectors

A water detector does exactly what it sounds like.  These are small, inexpensive, battery-powered devices that can be easily purchased from any sort of home improvement store.  Positioning a few of them in places where leaks are likely to occur – such as near your water heater, or under your sinks – can be a wonderful insurance policy.

  1. Upgrade your plumbing fixtures

When was the last time you upgraded the plumbing in your kitchen or bathroom?  If it’s been more than a decade or so, they could probably use some work.  You’ll improve the value of your home and reduce your chances of leaks at the same time!  You might even be able to lower your water usage with more efficient fixtures.

  1. Quickly fix any roof problems

Maybe this one goes without saying, but roof damage should be fixed ASAP.  If you allow your roof to go missing tiles, or with damaged flashing, it’s begging for leaks.  This is another case where small maintenance costs will prevent much more expensive long-term damage.

Let Our Malkin Team Is Here To Help You

However, if you do find yourself facing water damage in your Surrey home, Malkin Cleaners will be there to help – just like we’ve done for nearly a hundred years!  Contact us to schedule an appointment.