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How to Spot Signs of Hidden Water Damage in Your Home - Escarosa

hidden water leaks

Hidden water damage is every homeowner’s worst nightmare.

Whether the issue was a burst pipe or a leaky drain, hidden water damage can wreak havoc – causing mold and mildew damage, destroying building materials, and decreasing your home’s value.

In some cases, hidden water damage can also cause health hazards that can make you and your family sick.

Fortunately, you can stop hidden water damage in your home and reduce the amount of damage it can do.

The first step is identifying it.

Once you know where it’s coming from and how widespread the damage is, you can repair it.

In this blog, we’ll share our top tips for spotting (and stopping) hidden water damage in your walls, floor, roof, or ceiling.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Causes Hidden Water Damage?appliance leaks can cause water damage

There are dozens of causes for hidden water damage, but here are a few of the most common:

  • Storm damage, heavy rain, and other severe weather.

  • Hurricanes and flooding.

  • Extreme cold that causes pipes to freeze and burst.

  • Appliance leaks.

  • Overflowing appliances, bathtubs, toilets, and showers.

  • Leaky pipes.

  • Burst water heaters.

  • And more.

In addition to understanding why water leaks occur, knowing where they can occur is essential. In most homes, water leaks are common in roofs, wall voids, ceilings, basements, and crawl spaces, which often contain critical plumbing and utility lines.

7 Common Signs of Hidden Water Damage

Worried you might have unseen water damage in your Pensacola home?

Look for these telltale signs:

1. Mold growth

mold behind wallpaper

One of the most obvious signs of hidden water damage is mold growth.

While there are thousands of species of mold, most indoor varieties look like fuzzy black or brown patches or tiny spots that may be orange, green, brown, blue, or even red.

Although mold growth can indicate long-standing water damage, that’s not always the case.

According to the EPA, mold can grow in damp areas within just 24-48 hours of water damage.

With this in mind, take immediate action if you notice mold growth on porous materials like drywall, textiles, wood, or other building materials, as it likely indicates the presence of hidden water damage.

Remember that mold growth can appear after long-term water damage, like a leaking pipe, or acute damage caused by an overflowing appliance or sink.

2. Foul smells

Even if you can’t see mold growth, you can usually smell it. Mold feeds on rotting organic material, creating a damp, musty smell as it proliferates.

This smell is most common in damp areas that lack air circulation and are subject to high humidity.

If you notice this smell, don’t ignore it. Relying on masking devices like odor eaters won’t fix the underlying issue.

3. Peeling, blistering paint, or wallpaper

Peeling wallpaper and paint are other indicators of hidden water damage and problematic pipe leaks.

Over time, water damage can cause wallpaper and paint to lose their stickiness and become unable to adhere to drywall and sheetrock.

This results in bubbles in your paint, peeling wallpaper, and more. While this damage is unsightly, it can also be difficult and expensive to repair.

4. Soggy drywall

Does your drywall look a little..wet? If so, it could be a sign that you have a water leak behind your walls. Drywall is a porous material, and it absorbs water rapidly.

When it does, it loses its shape and structure and may even sag in places. If you notice these signs, you must act quickly to repair them before they become significant issues.

5. Higher-than-average utility billswater bill showing possible hidden water leaks

One of the sneakiest signs of hidden water damage is a sudden increase in your utility bills.

If you’ve noticed that your water bill is now more expensive than ever, it may indicate a hidden water leak somewhere in your home.

The best bet, in this case, is to contact a plumber to investigate and then work with a restoration team to fix the water damage wherever it exists.

6. Low water pressure

Just like sky-high utility bills can indicate water damage, so can low water pressure. Low water pressure indicates that the water in your pipes is being diverted elsewhere, possibly to a leak. Hire a plumber to investigate immediately.

7. Stains and discoloration

Sometimes, hidden water damage isn’t totally hidden. In fact, it often leaves stains, discoloration, and other marks.

These marks usually appear as brown or light-colored splotches on the ceiling or walls and can be signs of leaking roofs, pipes, or siding. They can also appear beneath the sink and under appliances.

If you notice these signs, don’t delay – contact a professional to inspect your home for signs of hidden water damage.

Bonus Tip: Listen for the sound of running water

So, you can’t find any of the above signs of water damage, but you’re worried something is leaking somewhere. One great tip we love is to listen rather than look. Sometimes, you can hear water leaks behind your walls or through your floors, even if no faucets are running in the home.

If that doesn’t work, consider turning off the water main in your home and then checking your water meter. If the meter shows water still running, you can bet there’s a leak somewhere in your home.

What to do if You Find Hidden Water Damage in Your Florida Home

If you have found signs of water damage in your home, act fast to repair it.leaky pipes

As we’ve mentioned, the first step is to contact a plumber who can evaluate your plumbing and identify any leaks that may be present. The plumber will also repair the problem and stop the water damage from going any further.

Next, you’ll need to hire a water damage restoration professional like Escarosa Cleaning and Restoration. Our team will arrive to evaluate your property, assess the extent of the water damage, and provide any repairs needed.

We’ll also work with you to prevent future water damage and understand the signs of hidden water damage. Ready to learn more about our restoration company or services? Contact us today.