Top 4 Preventable Water Damage Sources

by Gail Brumfield

There are many different causes of water damage, some of which there’s not much you can do to prevent, like natural disasters or storm flooding, but there are plenty of causes that can be prevented with regular maintenance checks.

Since the majority of modern plumbing work is hidden in your walls and cabinets, it can be easy to forget it’s there altogether. While everything is usually fine, it doesn’t hurt to have a professional check out your plumbing system to make sure that it isn’t cracking or leaking in any spots.

Here are the most important kinds of plumbing damage to look out for:

Leaky or Burst Pipes:

This is one that you will probably notice, as most of the time the water damage is done by the time you notice a burst pipe. Leaky pipes may give you slightly more warning if they are dripping in a place that is visible. For instance, a leaky pipe in your ceiling will cause a spot on the ceiling that will slowly grow, allowing you to address the situation before it starts to afflict other areas of your home. Burst pipes generally cause rapid water damage to the area around the pipe, which needs to be addressed immediately.


Unwanted Water Buildup in Attics, Crawl spaces, & Basements:

This kind of water damage is a little more difficult to detect early. Since these areas aren’t usually accessed all that often, with the possible exception of a basement that is used as a functional room, water can build up slowly over a long period of time, eventually causing serious structural issues for your home.

Checking your crawl space can be difficult, especially if you’re older or just aren’t sure what you’re looking for. Calling an HVAC professional in your area is the best way to have your crawl space checked for excess water. Some places even provide closed crawl services where they will come and seal up your crawl space to prevent any moisture buildup. Crawl space water damage is incredibly important to check on since it can cause serious damage to the foundation of your home.

HVAC Units:

Most of the time if your HVAC system is running properly there shouldn’t be any moisture buildup, but if you neglect to get them serviced regularly, it can cause moisture build up in and around the unit.  This moisture can interact with any mold spores in your ductwork, causing them to start growing and pumping mold throughout your house. This can drastically lower your indoor air quality and cause health issues for you and your family.

Appliance Malfunction:

Another common cause of household water damage is malfunctioning appliances that use large amounts of water such as, washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and refrigerators.  Over time the pipes and connections can get rusty and crack causing leaks, and in some cases a massive failure can cause the unit to drain all over the floor creating a huge mess.

Replacing your appliances every 10 years or so is a good way to avoid a catastrophic system failure ending with home water damage. It’s a good idea to have an appliance specialist come check out your appliances if they start to make strange noises or seem to be malfunctioning in some way to avoid water damage before it happens.

These are some of the most common preventable causes of water damage. Unfortunately not all water damage can be prevented and there are emergency situations where preparation simply doesn’t solve the issue, but it doesn’t hurt to be as prepared as possible.

Calling your local plumbing professional (we use Bradley Mechanical here in Richmond) is a good start to help identify any potential problems with your plumbing, HVAC system, and attic and crawl space. They will be able to tell you about potential issues and offer solutions that could save you lots of money and strife further down the road.