The Ugly Truth About Small Leaks

2018-05-10T04:33:50+00:00

Imagine you are in the middle of cleaning and organizing your basement. In the middle of the project, you spot a small spider in the corner of the room. You aren’t bothered and continue working.

But when you turn around again, the spider has grown to the size of a cat. And it’s looking pretty vicious. That’s the moment you know you have a bigger problem on your hands.

Luckily, we don’t have monster-sized spiders in the Quad Cities. (A fact that many will be grateful to know.) But many times, we approach small leaks in our home in the same way we do that tiny spider.

Instead of taking care of those inconsequential leaks immediately, we get distracted by other things and let the leaks go for far too long. And by that point, the problems can be severe (and expensive).

Don’t allow the red-eyed leak monster to take over your home. Here are a few things you should know.

Leaks often start small.

While you may only worry about water up to your knees or bursting pipes, the truth is that small leaks are much more likely to go unnoticed or ignored. And that can lead to even bigger problems down the road.

It’s much more common for a leak to look insignificant to you at first. And a small leak can happen at any time – without any notice.

  • A small drip under your sink.
  • A little mystery puddle near the water heater in your basement.
  • A strange odor you can’t identify in a bathroom.

When you notice these warning signs, fast action is key. The sooner you can stop the leak and get the area dry, the better the chance of minimal damage.

This is just what Doug Peterson, a water mitigation project manager with 13 years of experience, recommends. He has seen this happen often – when a homeowner ignores a small leak, and there’s mold up the wall a few weeks later.

This can lead to costly water and mold mitigation efforts down the road.

Related: 4 key facts to water mitigation

Damage from small leaks can be severe.

In the short term, leaks can lead to costly water bills. But long term, there are even greater dangers to ignoring a small leak.

Mold and fungal growth can be one of the biggest risks to your home and health when a leak is left unchecked.

While mold is naturally occurring, it can cause major issues for homeowners. Beyond the damage it can cause to walls, flooring and fixtures, it can also cause serious health problems to some people.

Related: 7 mold facts you need to know
Structural damage can also be severe following a leak. It may begin with warning signs like staining and discoloration in walls and ceilings.

But the aesthetic issues are only one piece of the puzzle. Drywall is not designed to take on water, and it can begin to warp and swell. Studs and support beams can also be affected by water from small leaks.

Electrical damage is a concern when dealing with any water leaks. Most electricity is run through ceilings and walls in your home. If this area is impacted by water damage, it could cause dangerous problems with electricity because electricity and water simply don’t mix.

Keep a close eye on leak-prone areas.

The first step in protecting your home from water and mold damage is to be aware of any potential water leaks and act quickly.

Keep a close eye on the areas of your home that are particularly prone to leaks – including your bathroom, kitchen, laundry, basement and attic. And don’t overlook leaks that can happen outside the house – like those originating from hoses, doors, windows and gutters.

Here are a few other preventative tips to keep your home leak-free:

  • Check beneath sinks and behind appliances regularly to ensure everything stays dry.
  • Don’t ignore your attic or your basement. Check them often to ensure there are no hidden leaks.
  • Keep a close eye on your water bill for any spikes in usage.
  • Caulk and seal any holes to ensure water can’t sneak inside.
  • Keep eaves and downspouts clean and clear.
  • Replace your supply lines on appliances every five to seven years.

The bottom line

When it comes to water damage, the problem often starts small – with just a tiny leak. But if you ignore it, that leak can easily become a huge monster of a problem for your home.

And for more information about how to deal with leaks and the resulting water damage in your home, contact the experts at Werner Restoration Services, Inc.