What Should You Do When You Have A Water Leak?

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What Should You Do When You Have A Water Leak?

Essential Steps to Finding and Fixing Water Damage

Few things cause as much anxiety to a homeowner than looking up to see a water spot forming on a ceiling or down the side of a wall. It means two things immediately; a damaging water leak is happening somewhere and the fix will most likely mean going through a ceiling or wall to get to it. Broken pipes, an aging roof, sustained rain and broken appliances are the most common causes of residential water damage. Once the evidence of a leak is seen, it needs to be inspected and repaired as soon as possible. Leaving water damage can result in other issues like mold and structural weakness.

The bottom line is, a water leak will not repair itself or go away, it needs to be found and properly addressed. An important note here; there’s a good chance your water damage can be covered by your homeowners insurance, so take pictures at each stage–both as it’s happening and the aftermath—for your agent.  You may even want to call them early in the process to be sure you know the steps they require should you file a claim.

 

 

1. IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF WATER DAMAGE

 

Unless there is a major water leak with a clear indicator of its source, finding the origin of a smaller leak can be difficult.  These leaks, or even steady drips over time, can show up as slight discolorations, mildew, sagging ceiling, or slightly bulging drywall.

Here are the most common causes of water leaks:

  • Leaky Roof:  Years of heavy rain, wind storms, hail, and the elements in general take a toll on a roof. Loose and missing shingles, along with wood rot, are top reasons a roof can leak.   
  • Clogged Gutters: If water can’t properly drain away from your home, then it will likely drain into your home. Clogged gutters can change the flow of water with enough force to enter your home a number of ways.
  • Leaky Pipes: These are caused by pipes being too old or not properly secured or installed. It can also be caused by DIY renovations where a nail has slightly pierced a pipe. Even the tiniest pinhole can flood your ceiling with gallons of water a day.
  • Bathroom Waterproofing: If your bathroom isn’t properly waterproofed with the correct caulk or sealant this can be a major cause of ceiling water damage to the floors below.
  • Leaking Appliances: Includes any appliance using water like a fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, etc. Appliances often leak after many years of regular use.

 

2. TURN OFF WATER TO STOP FURTHER LEAK DAMAGE

Once you feel you’ve identified the correct source of the leak, you need to stop the flow of water immediately so the damaged area can dry out and leak repair work can begin.  

  • Leaky Plumbing Pipes: Shut off the main water line to the house to stop the flow of water.
  • Appliance or Bathroom Leaks: Avoid using that bathroom or appliance until you can repair the source of the leak.
  • Roof or Gutter Leaks: This is more challenging since Mother Nature controls the flow of water, however cleaning the gutter in question or tarping the suspected section of roof may minimize continued leaks, giving you time to find the exact point of origin and begin repairs.

If you are unable to find or stop the flow call Ben Franklin Plumbing immediately at 800-471-0809.

 

Stage One Repairs

We’ll start this section off by telling you honestly that properly repairing water damage, both cosmetic and structural, requires a skilled eye and hand. Unless you are a highly-trained and confident DIYer, we suggest you call in professionals.  Ben Franklin Plumbing’s experts can handle any broken pipe or plumbing related leak in your home. A skilled roofer or general handyman can tackle most roof, ceiling and wall repairs.

If you still feel you’d want to take a go at repairs yourself, the key is making sure all the damaged materials are removed and moisture is dried out before new materials are put in place.

Careful cutting: Exercise extreme care when cutting out damaged drywall and ceiling so that you don’t cut any electrical wires or cables. You don’t want to add more repairs onto your existing water damage restoration.

Dry it out: Any moisture left behind can cause mold and mildew to grow, which can lead to serious health problems for you and your family.

All about airflow: Airflow is the best way to dry damp drywall. This requires adequate, heavy-duty drying equipment such as 1-2 industrial drying fans. Point the fans directly at the area to be dried, and then get a dehumidifier to remove any moisture left in the air.

Give it time: Check the ceiling for moisture after a day or two. If the area is dry, look for areas where the drywall or wood has become too warped or weak to be structurally sound. You will need to remove and throw away all the materials that are damaged. This includes discolored drywall, pieces that have mold or mildew on them, softwood, bulging drywall, etc.

 

Stage Two Repairs

Once you have completely removed the moisture and damaged materials, it’s time to start restoration. Here is where having the right professionals will make all the difference in the final result and protect you from further cost from improperly done repairs. Ceiling and wall repairs are more than just the drywall and painting involved, there may be insulation to replace, framing to restore, electrical to rewire, fixtures to reinstall, etc. Once your Ben Franklin plumber has ensured your water leak is fixed completely, a general handyman or restoration expert can make the impacted area look like new.

GOOD TIP: If the water damage happened in an area where you were considering a remodel or upgrade anyway, now is the time to do it when a good portion of the costs may be covered by insurance and/or you can get maximum value for your handyman dollars.

 

If you read this article because you’ve recently suffered water damage, we know how frustrating and daunting the road back can seem. Let Ben Franklin Plumbing make it easier with just one phone call.  We’re your first step in finding and repairing the leak. Our plumbing experts are available 24/7 and we come prepared with the tools, parts, and know-how to address whatever awaits us.

 Be it an emergency or routine plumbing service, we’ll respond quickly, quote fairly, and talk to you honestly. Our monthly service and product specials can also save you money!

 

Contact us or call our 24/7 customer service line today 800.471.0809.