Water damage won’t always be as evident as an ankle deep flood or a broken pipe spewing water several feet away. Depending on the source of the water intrusion, that water damage could be hidden and easily overlooked. Time is your worst enemy when it comes to water damage because prolonged exposure to moisture just causes more property damage, causes more structural concerns and increases the risk of mold growth. Hidden water damage is especially threatening to buildings because of the time allotted before discovery. By the time Salina homeowners notice a potential issue, it usually means that the water has soaked through the nearby building materials to be visibly apparent. Wet building materials can mean significant property damage, structure issues and possible mold growth.
Hidden Leaks in Salina Properties
Major water events like a flood after a storm or burst pipe are easy to identify, and we all know emergency water restoration will be the likely course of action. It is the hidden leaks that are difficult to identify and challenging to address. Whether it is a slow plumbing leak covered by cabinetry or a small roof leak into the unoccupied attic – visible water from the leak usually does not present until the water has soaked through the porous building materials nearby. For example, by the time you see water dripping from your drywall ceiling, it probably means that you’ve had a roof leak for a while – but it is only just now making its way through the insulation or drywall that might have been covering the area. Hidden leaks can include slow plumbing leaks, small roof leaks, HVAC leaks and leaks in unused areas like attic and crawl spaces – point is that the leaks occur in hard to reach areas or visibly inaccessible areas.
If you discover that a hidden leak has been unknowingly wreaking havoc on your property, call a local water restoration professional in Salina to assess the damage and begin the drying process. Any standing water will need to be extracted, water damaged materials that are non-salvageable will need to be carefully removed, and all remaining surfaces will require structural drying.
9 Signs of Hidden Water Damage
Though it is nearly impossible to see and stop a leak right as it happens (hidden or not). It is very possible to identify and address issues in a timely manner if property owners are vigilant. By conducting routine assessments and keeping your eyes peeled for signs of an underlying issue, you will have the best chance of identify possible moisture related issues before they develop into major property damage.
- Visible Mold Growth – The presence of visible mold on the walls, ceilings, baseboards or furniture indicates wet or damp conditions. If you detect mold growth but obvious no water, it could be a few things – one of that being that you have a concealed leak somewhere nearby. Mold requires moisture to flourish, therefore even if the leak and water aren’t visible, they are unmistakably near the mold growth. If you have mold, contact a local mold inspector in Salina to conduct an assess with moisture mapping, thermal imaging and mold testing to determine the extent of the mold damage and identify the water source.
- Musty Odors – Mold and mildew are linked to excessive moisture. This can produce a distinct musty stench that can permeate the surrounding areas. If you smell a musty odor but don’t see any other symptoms of mold or water, there is likely a hidden leak or moisture related issue nearby.
- Staining & Discoloration – When water from a hidden leak seeps into wall voids or ceiling voids, it can cause discoloration or blotches when the water saturates porous construction components nearby, such as your walls and ceiling. If the stains continue to get larger, it could be an active, ongoing leak that needs to be properly addressed.
- Peeling or Bubbling Paint or Finishes on Walls & Ceilings – Moisture deteriorates glues and compromises paints. When walls and ceilings absorb water, the moisture will build up behind the paint and/or wallpaper, causing it to bubble and peel away from the wall. Peeling, bubbling or rippling paint, wallpaper or finish could mean that a leak is getting those surfaces wet.
- Warped walls and sagging ceilings – Wet building materials will become structurally compromised with the weight of the moisture absorbed. Wet walls will begin to warp with time, while ceilings will begin to sag and bow. If not treated immediately, waterlogged drywall and ceilings will begin to deform, buckle, and possibly collapse.
- Swollen door casing or door alignment – As water absorbs into your door jamb, the jamb will swell and affect the alignment with your door. The swelling is often subtle and difficult to see, but you will feel it. The doors, of the affected jambs, will slowly become more and more difficult to open and close.
- Baseboards/trim separating from the wall – As building materials swell up, materials that were once flush against each other will begin to expand, warp, bend, push against one another and force material separation.
- Floor effects – Water naturally seeks out the lowest level of any structure and will seep under floor coverings (i.e.: carpet, tile, vinyl, etc.). Once the water permeates any floor coverings, it will soak into the sub-floor. If your flooring has been affected by hidden water damage, you will begin to notice floor effects like cupping, warping, rippling or other affects.
- Sudden/Unexpected Spike in Water Bill – Utility bills often fluctuate with some spikes during season changes like increased watering of plants or lawns during the spring. These fluctuations are to be expected. However, unexpected or sudden spikes in your water bill could indicate an underlying water leak somewhere that is drawing more water than normal. Keep a close eye on your monthly water account for patterns in usage. An unexpected increase in water usage could be a sign of a problem.
If you are noticing any of the above signs of hidden water damage in your Salina property, you should consult a water damage restoration professional. A trained professional will have the necessary drying equipment and cleanup experience to properly recover from the leak and restore your property. If a hidden leak or other hidden moisture source has left you with serious water damage and mold, a local mold remediation company will be able to provide the safe, thorough and effective cleanup needed to restore a clean and safe environment for your and your family.