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Natural disasters like hurricanes and major flooding tend to occupy the lion’s share of attention when it comes to our industry. It makes sense. The videos and images of homes and lives destroyed, the almost unimaginable path of destruction, and the billions upon billions of damages that occur leave their mark on our memories. But lost in that chaos is the stark reality of the numbers: the majority of water damage is done by a much less newsworthy culprit…a slow leak. Yes, not a very exciting topic to discuss, but one that every homeowner should familiarize themselves with.
The Financial Burden of Slow Leak Water Damage
Before we talk about things you should be on the lookout for in your home, we need to stress one the most devastating things about water damage from a slow leak: the financial implications. Most notably, your insurance policy isn’t going to cover the water damage repair costs that arise from a slow leak. That’s right. You heard us correctly. Your insurance policy, that you thought was designed to protect you against the financial costs of water damage, does not provide those protections in the case of a slow leak that goes unnoticed for an extended period of time.
Why? Because they consider the fact that you didn’t notice the problem and immediately correct it to be negligence on your part, and your policy strictly states that your insurer does not protect against damages caused by homeowner negligence. Lovely, huh? But it gets worse…
Usually unnoticed water damage becomes an even bigger problem: a toxic black mold infestation. By then, you have a situation on your hands that can put the health of the home’s occupants at risk as well as an extremely costly environmental issue. And once again, insurance isn’t going to cover it. In fact, expressly written into your policy is their stance on black mold: it’s not covered!
So now that we’ve hopefully scared the crap out of you, let’s run through some of the most common (subtle) signs of water damage that you need to keep an eye out for.
- Musty odor in certain areas of your home – most people think they’ll be able to see water damage. But in fact, your sense of smell can be one of the first responders to a slow leak. If you begin to notice a musty odor, you may have moisture problem that needs to be investigated further.
- Peeling paint or discoloration – This is another classic sign you may have a problem, and luckily it’s much easier to spot. If you notice peeling paint or a discoloration in your walls or ceilings, take immediate action. If in fact you have a bigger problem, it’s important to document everything (when you noticed it, what steps you took, taking pictures, etc.). Remember, if it turns out you need to file a claim you need to prove you didn’t neglect the problem but instead took action immediately upon recognizing you had a problem.
- Wood floors that are cupping – We’ve blogged extensively about moisture problems with wood floors, but luckily this can be an easy one to spot if you’re paying attention. Wood floors will begin to show water damage pretty quickly. If you notice they have started to warp or cup, it’s imperative that you call in a certified water damage specialist to take moisture readings and determine the proper course of action. It may be the case you have a small, localized problem. But it may also be the case your cupped wood floors are just the tip of the iceberg and you have a much bigger water damage problem on your hands.
- Spike in your water bill – Do you keep an eye on your household budget? If so, you might notice one month your water bill spiked dramatically. Assuming you didn’t leave a lawn hose on, it could be a pretty clear indication you have a water leak somewhere in your home. If so, call out a leak detection company to thoroughly inspect your home’s plumbing systems to determine if and where the leak is happening.
Have you noticed subtle signs of water damage?
If you have seen some suspicious signs of home water damage, we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to inspect the damage ourselves. Our expert water damage technicians can give you a very clear picture of any issues in your home. We can not only provide you with an estimate for any water damage repair services that may need to be done, but we can also help you begin to fix the root cause of the water damage. So if you’ve seen some tell-tale signs of trouble, please give us a call and allow us to schedule a no obligation, free in-home estimate around your busy calendar!