The know-how to inspect your home for signs of water damage, or to identify high risk areas, is extremely valuable to any home owner. Water damage can effect walls, floors, and ceilings, it can cause mold to form that can have a severe impact on your health, and given enough time it can cause immense structural damage to your home. For this reason, we encourage all home owners to know what to look for, where to look, and to regularly inspect their home.
Checking the exterior of your home
In an earlier blog, we discussed one of the most frequent sources of water damage that we typically find in Washington- cracks and broken seals around windows (pictured on the right). There are of course plenty of things to look for outside of this, however. When you are cleaning out your gutters, pay close attention to your roof and shingles. If you spot any wear and tear, make a note of it and contact an inspector or check your attic for moisture. Damage accumulated through wind, water, and debris can leave small points of entry for moisture in your home.
You should also take some time to inspect your yard, sidewalk, and driveway. If you have a cement walkway, porch, or parking spot, check to see if any cracks have formed. If you find any, get them patched right away! If you find any large puddles in your yard after a heavy rain, specifically near your home, you may want to consider doing some landscaping to remedy the problem. An efficient yard slopes away from a house, creating a natural runoff for water.
Inspecting walls and floors
Interior walls and floors are typically the first place you will spot water damage. If your drywall is beginning to be impacted by moisture, it may have cracks, begin to swell, or be soft to the touch. Common sources of water damage on walls are from leaks from the roof, damaged interior pipes that may run along the interior wall, or a leak from an exterior entry point. If a floor is showing signs of warping, had dark stains, or if a carpet feels damp, you’ve certainly got a leak. You’ll also likely experience the unpleasant odor that frequently accompanies water damage in this instance.
When checking walls and floors for water damage, always check where water sources my be located. Appliances such as washers and fridges can occasionally suffer leaks that can go undetected for extended periods of time. Any room with plumbing, and wherever your hot water heater is located are hot spots as well. Give any exposed pipes a thorough inspection for any damages, such as cracks, rust, or odd discoloration. If you find anything, shut off your water temporarily and have it inspected by a professional immediately!
Look around your attic
Every roof has a number of vulnerable points. Where the roof and the walls meet, anywhere around a chimney if your home has one, and where the two planes of the roof come together are all fairly prone leaking. Winter time is the most common time to see leaks form in a roof, due in large part to the cold and wet climate. Ice and snow can form ice dams on your roof- when they begin to melt, moisture can enter the recently damaged shingles and invade your attic. When inspected your attic, check for any signs of discoloration, or moldy scents. If any of your insulation seems damp, have a handyman come detect the source of the leak.