Water can cause serious damage to a house and can endanger its occupants. A leak can damage the roof, supporting beams, insulation, and drywall and can damage or destroy valuable belongings inside the house. Water can also allow mold to grow. Even if it is behind walls and out of view, mold can cause serious respiratory problems or worsen existing health conditions for people who live in the house.
Signs That Your Home May Have Water Damage
You may notice water rings or discoloration on the ceiling and on inner or outer walls, or you may see that paint and drywall are cracking, flaking, or bubbling. You may also notice watermarks in a cabinet under a sink. All of those may be signs of a leaky pipe.
Check areas around appliances, sinks, and showers. A leak can cause wood or tile flooring to crack, warp, or sag or may cause carpet to become wet.
You may be able to hear water, even if you can’t see it. You may notice a dripping sound, or you may hear running water behind walls.
You may notice a persistent damp or musty odor. That is a telltale sign of serious water damage. You may have a major mold problem lurking behind the walls.
Take a look at your home’s water heater. If you notice rust, that can indicate that there is a leak.
Keep an eye on your water bills. If you notice an unexplained spike in your family’s water usage, it may be due to a leak somewhere.
Address Water Damage Immediately
Water damage may occur because of one catastrophic event, or it may happen gradually. If an issue is not dealt with quickly, it can worsen over time. When dealing with water damage, it’s important to identify and address the source of the problem. That may be missing roof shingles, clogged gutters, gaps around windows, or a slope in the yard that directs water toward the foundation.
Understand Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Water Damage
In many cases, homeowners overlook minor problems or delay repairs, and then a storm comes along and causes serious water damage. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover water damage if it occurred because of a covered peril, such as a storm or an accident, but it will not cover damage that occurred because you failed to properly maintain your home. Your policy may also have other exclusions.