What are hidden leaks and why should you care?
As the name suggests, these are leaks or slow trickles of water inside your home that go unnoticed for any period of time. It’s their sneaky nature that makes them so worrisome- because you aren’t aware of the source, water damage can go unchecked for anywhere from hours to months before it becomes too serious. Since they’re often within walls and ceilings, they can cause major structural damage when left to fester and rot, and the environment they create for mold may lead to serious health issues. No matter the source or location, it’s vital to put a stop to leaks and stop water damage as soon as you find it. And how do you locate the source? Keep reading for some signs and symptoms of leaks to keep your home and family protected.
Water that leaks within the walls will soak into the drywall sooner or later, creating visible water stains on the surface where you can see them. These can occur either on the walls themselves or on the ceiling if the leak is coming from the wall above the floor you’re currently on. If you see these water stains, and especially if you see them growing over time, it’s a sure sign that there’s a leak you need to address as soon as possible.
Warped or buckled walls and/or floors are another sure sign that water is leaking somewhere, causing the surfaces to swell due to all the moisture underneath. This is especially serious within the walls, because severe warping will affect the sheetrock, turning one potentially tiny leak into an extremely costly problem. If you see any physical changes to the shape of your walls or floors, get help right away from an expert in water damage- doing so could save you from a much more costly set of repairs. Another smaller but related sign is peeling or bubbling of paint or wallpaper. It signals the same issue, but it’s a little more low key. Still, if you see any changes to the texture of your walls, don’t wait for it to get worse before addressing the problem.
Excess moisture left unchecked invariably leads to mold and mildew, and this will almost always cause a smell. It’s a telltale odor that will be easily recognizable to anyone who has come across it before- if you’ve ever let a towel stay damp for too long, you know exactly the scent you’re looking for. Even if there are no other obvious signs of water damage, always investigate the source of any strange smells right away.
The last symptom of a hidden leak is the most obvious: when moisture is allowed to remain, mold grows, and if you’re seeing mold spots on your walls, you know a leak is somewhere nearby. Just like the musty scent mentioned before, you don’t need to see the source to know it’s close. Don’t try to simply spray some bleach and remove the mold you can see- you need to locate the source and get rid of it entirely, including the leak creating dampness in the first place. Even if you get rid of the surface mold for a short time, it will grow back, and could be spreading into places you can’t see so easily in the meantime.
It can be intimidating to know that leaks and water damage aren’t always visible to the naked eye, but hopefully these tips will help you to locate any leaks sooner rather than later. If you think you may be experiencing a hidden leak or have questions about water damage in your home, give us a call at the Flood Medix! We’re happy to answer your questions and get you back on the path to a clean and healthy home.