CAUSES OF WATER DAMAGE TO BE AWARE OF
Old plumbing and leaky appliances around the house aren’t out to get you, but sometimes it seems that way. The weather plays a part too with winter freezes that burst pipes and spring rains that flood basements.
Our cleanup and restoration teams have seen it all here in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. In our experience, these are the 10 most common causes of residential water damage that can affect your home. Our list also includes helpful links and tips on how to handle each type of wet disaster.
1. THE TOILET RUNS AND DRIPS
When it constantly runs, it’s annoying and expensive. When it springs a bad leak, it can ruin floors and walls. The trick to fixing a leaky toilet is figuring out why it’s turned into a water hazard. Once you pinpoint the problem, repairs are usually simple and inexpensive.
2. PRESSURE GETS TO THE WASHING MACHINE
Your washing machine quickly fills with water because its supply lines are under constant pressure. Older rubber or PVC lines wear out and rupture, and that failure turns the laundry room into a flood zone. Avoid this potential mess by replacing old lines with braided stainless steel.
3. YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL FLOODS CABINETS
Most disposal leaks are DIY fixable, but when this appliance stops working, it can go out with a splash. As the body of the unit gets old, it springs leaks around the bottom housing and floods cabinets with a dirty mix of food garbage and water. When this happens, you need to replace the disposal.
4. YOUR AC SOAKS THE CEILING
The AC pulls humidity out of the air and condenses moisture into the unit’s overflow pan so that water travels outside through the condensate line. This drainage system quits working if the pan is damaged or the line is clogged. The results are soggy insulation and soaked ceilings.
5. THE WATER HEATER DEVELOPS LEAKS
This appliance is often located in basements, and that can make cleanup even more challenging after a bad leak. Sometimes, a water heater problem is due to condensation, but it’s more likely a faulty water outlet or drain valve. Older units can develop leaks in the bottom of the tank and flood the entire basement.
6. FRIGID TEMPERATURES BURST PIPES
This water emergency is confined to cold months, but you have to be prepared. Pipes can freeze and rupture in just a few hours, and the flooding can soak the house from ceiling to basement. Always check and insulate your plumbing before the winter settles in.
7. FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS FREEZE TOO
High-rises, condos and newer homes feature these life-saving systems, but residential fire sprinklers are prone to freezing without proper winter maintenance. Cold-weather sprinkler routines keep the family safe and help avoid water damage from ruptured pipes.
8. THE SUMP PUMP STOPS PUMPING
Whether it’s caused by heavy rain or appliance failure, water in the basement is a disaster when the sump pump stops working. You have to deal with water removal, thoroughly dry everything and address mold and mildew growth. It’s often best to let professionals handle basement flooding.
9. DRAINS QUIT DRAINING
This simple outlet can complicate an ordinary day by leaving standing water in a tub, the kitchen sink or the basement. A stopped-up tub or sink is a big nuisance, but a clogged floor drain can result in a basement filled with water. Your DIY solutions range from drain snakes to air blasters.
10. SEWER LINES BACK UP
Don’t try to handle this problem by yourself. Backed-up sewer lines are caused by blockage or heavy rainfall, and they quickly spread dangerous contaminants that create a very unhealthy environment. Sewage backup and flooding should always be taken care of by certified professionals.