Water leaks happen every now and then in every home and when they are small they are usually not seen as a sign of alarm by many homeowners. But they should be. Even the smallest leak can lead to some potential greater damages, dangers, and even health issues if not dealt with on time and in a proper manner.
We tend to procrastinate in dealing with certain household problems if they don’t seem very urgent or risky. But water leaks are not something that should be taken lightly or left unattended. They should be your top priority when it comes to home maintenance as they can result in some serious issues that you may not be aware of.
Take a look at some of the main hidden dangers that can result from water leaks and find out where and how to look for them.
Where and How to Spot Water Leaks?
Leaks can sometimes be very visible and noticeable, especially if your pipes suddenly burst and create a significant mess in your home, such as water flooding your floors or obviously leaking or bursting from a pipe. On the other hand, these leaks can be very low-key, with smaller warning signs that can often go unnoticed.
These warning signs can come in the form of lower water pressure coming from your faucets, water damage or stains on your walls, and higher utility and water bills. If you notice any of these signs you should act quickly and try to locate the source of the leak and repair it before it progresses and causes some greater or even irreparable damage.
Some water leaks can be caused by minor problems that are very easily fixed and that you can repair on your own. For example, some of the most common problems are found in joint fittings of your pipes and in the middle of your pipes. If the joints are the source of a minor leak, for example behind the washing machine or the tap, you can easily replace them on your own.
But joint and pipe problems can be more serious and harder to tackle on your own, so in order to repair it properly, you may need to hire a professional plumber. For example, copper pipes usually have welded joint fittings, which you cannot tackle on your own. Older pipes, clogged water lines or poorly installed ones will also require professional help.
Finding the leak on time is always important, so if you notice stains on your walls or ceilings, discolorations, water drippings in one place, lower water pressure or higher water bills than usual, you are probably dealing with a leak, either from your roof or from a broken pipe, and should locate its source as soon as possible in order to repair it.
Main Dangers of Water Leaks
Noticing and taking care of water leaks on time is very important because if left unattended they can lead to some greater damages, whether to your property or to your health. Here are some of the main hidden dangers that leaks can cause:
1. Mold and Mildew Issues
Mold and mildew are probably the most serious problems that can develop due to a water leak. Mold and mildew are prone to appear, grow, and develop in damp places, on wet areas and areas that build-up moisture easily. Even a few drops of water a day can lead to creating damp spots where mold is very likely to appear. It can spread to very different areas of your home, including the HVAC system, walls, floors, wood framing, furniture, carpets, and even clothing. Mold can be toxic and it is difficult and costly to remove it.
2. Health Effects
Mold and mildew are not only harmful to the structural components of your home, but they can also pose some serious health risks, especially for those who have respiratory issues and asthma. Mold spores are known to cause allergic reactions, skin irritations, nose and throat inflammation and soreness, coughing, sneezing, itchy and red eyes, and similar.
3. Household Water Contamination
If your leak is coming from a burst or broken pipe that carries drinking water to your household, that water is at risk of contamination as different contaminants can enter the pipe when there is a sudden change or drop in the pressure and the velocity in the pipe. The pipes may suck in some external water in that case, and, with it, some particles that can lower the quality of your drinking water.
4. Increased Utility Bills
As you water continues leaking, you will see a higher water bill, but also higher utility bills and energy consumption. This can happen due to damages that water causes to your insulation as well. As the leak makes its way through the roof, attic, or ceiling, it will also saturate and damage all the insulation it comes across. This, in turn, results in more warm or cold air loss and more energy spent on heating and cooling.
5. Attic and Ceiling Damage
If you have an attic, then leaks coming from your roof can damage the attic and things you have stored there, and if you don’t have one, then the damage will be on your ceiling. This damage can then spread and affect the integrity of your walls, and even damage your lights and fans mounted on the ceiling.
6. Structural Damage
Apart from the attic and ceiling, both roof and plumbing leaks can cause significant structural damage to the rafters, wall framing, ceiling joists, wood deterioration, damages to the framing, walls where the pipes are located etc. All of this can lead to costly and extensive repairs, so it is important to detect the leaks when they are still small and the damage salvageable.
7. Fire hazard
One of the most unexpected dangers of water leaks is actually fire hazard. When a leak is near or reaches the areas with electrical wiring you are at risk of short circuits and shorted wires which can result in electrical fires and therefore serious damages. When the leak is near electrical wiring it is always recommended to turn off the electricity and have a professional deal with it.
8. Financial damage
Finally, water leaks can lead to some significant blows to your budget. The potential dangers described previously, such as compromised structural integrity, damages to the ceiling, attics, walls, as well as the appearance of mold and mildew, are all issues that can be complex and costly to resolve.
Just like many things in life, it is always best to prepare in advance and stay ahead of any problems that may occur. Detecting a leak on time can save you a lot of troubles and will keep your home safe and its residents healthy. Smaller leaks should not be disregarded as they can lead to some very big problems. Do your roof repair on time to prevent future problems and don’t let the leak surprise you. South Shore Roofing is the best roofing contractor in Savannah, GA, so give us a call!