Whether you live in an area susceptible to flooding or have old pipes overdue for replacement, taking precautionary measures is essential. Flooding can lead to unexpected consequences, including damage to personal belongings and health risks like mold.
Water damage can be caused by many things, including bad weather and natural disasters, broken pipes, sewage backups, or even just leaky appliances. Here are the most unexpected consequences of water damage:
Damage to Building Materials
Untreated water damage can destroy building materials such as wood floors, ceilings, drywall, and wooden furniture. It can also affect electrical systems and cause mold growth. It’s essential to act quickly when you notice signs of water damage. This isn’t limited to after construction is complete either.
Besides the obvious problems like staining and warping, moisture can lead to mildew and mold growth which can seriously impact your health. The spores of these molds can be harmful when inhaled.
Water damage is often the result of a sudden and accidental event such as burst pipes, flooding from a storm surge during a hurricane, or even water used to extinguish fires. But water damage can also result from gradual or hidden causes such as clogged gutters, extreme weather, and aging water connectors.
Regardless of the cause, when water is allowed to sit in the interior of a structure, it supports the proliferation of viruses, bacteria, fungus, dust mites, pests, and vermin, which create health hazards for the occupants, so water removal is essential. Inhaling these contaminants is harmful and may even be life-threatening.
Damage to Personal Belongings
Water damage can cause loss of personal belongings such as furniture, electronics, family heirlooms, and precious photos. The longer these items remain soaked with moisture, the more damage they will sustain. Experts can provide restoration services to help mitigate these damages and save belongings.
In addition, if untreated, water damage can create conditions promoting mold and mildew growth. These fungi thrive in damp environments and can lead to allergic reactions in some people. They can also develop unsightly stains and unpleasant odors.
In some cases, water damage can be severe enough to impact the integrity of your home’s structure. Categories of water damage exist, and the severity of your home’s injury will determine whether or not you need to seek relocation as a result of the damage. Category 1 water damage is clean and poses no health risks, while Category 2 water (also called gray water) contains microorganisms that can cause sickness if ingested. Category 3 is highly contaminated and can order pathogens and bacteria, such as those found in sewage and toilet backflows.
Damage to Electrical Systems
Water damage can quickly ruin personal belongings, cause structural damage to homes, and increase fire hazards. A small leak or flood will soak carpeting and other soft furnishings, rot wood frames, and de-laminate drywall.
If electrical equipment becomes soaked with water, it can corrode internal components and lead to malfunctions, tripped breakers, or complete failure. The water may also become contaminated with bacteria or contain toxic chemicals that can cause illness in humans and animals.
In addition, if the wiring is exposed to water, it can compromise its insulation, creating a fire hazard. Water and electricity are a recipe for disaster, leading to severe injuries and deaths, and not just from electrocution.
Damage to Foundation
Foundations, especially wooden ones, are at significant risk of damage from water exposure. Unattended water damage can destroy a home foundation within 24 to 36 hours, so it’s essential to act quickly when you notice any signs of a problem.
Some common signs of foundation water damage include standing water in crawl spaces and basements, stuck windows, rotten wood, and mold growth. The soil around a foundation can also shift in response to weather patterns, including rainy and dry periods, causing cracks in the foundation slab.
Many problems with a foundation can be prevented through proactive homeowner actions, including regular inspections and proper maintenance of the home’s drainage system. Properly installing downspout extensions and creating slopes for appropriate water runoff is essential, along with ensuring gutters are clean and that root barriers are in place to protect the foundation from tree roots. These measures can significantly reduce unexpected consequences from water damage to a home’s foundation when combined with professional assistance.