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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Are the Risks of Ignoring Water Damage?

8/22/2022 (Permalink)

When you think of water, you probably think of its beneficial properties: keeping you hydrated, helping plants flourish, washing away dirt, and clearing the air. But water is also one of the most destructive forces in nature: wearing away cliffs, flooding cities, and towns, and washing out highways. The fact is, water is a very powerful force, and that is why we do our best to control it by channeling it into culverts, drains, canals, pipes, and gutters.  

But what happens if all the things we do to keep water out of our buildings fail? Maybe you have a gap in your roof’s flashing, a leaking drain pipe, or a gap in your window header. Or maybe just too much moisture from the clothes dryer or shower is leaving condensation in your attic. The fact is, we use a lot of water in our homes and in our businesses, and even small water problems, if not resolved as soon as they are discovered, can lead to big damage.

The longer water damage goes unaddressed, the more damage it will do in your home or commercial building. That’s because the damage is not always just the water itself–although that, too, can be serious. Water can weaken and rot wood and drywall, destabilize the ground, and create the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria. 

When you discover water damage, It can be tempting to put off addressing it, especially if it is in a space like your attic, basement, or crawlspace, where it is not impacting you everyday and because you do not want to shoulder the cost of repair. But you should always treat water damage as an emergency, and call an expert in water damage restoration as soon as possible. 

Health Hazards Caused by Unaddressed Water Damage

One of the biggest risks of not remediating water damage is that dampness encourages the growth of mold and mildew. Mold, in particular, grows and spreads quickly, and not just in the sense of the unsightly green, black, or even pink muck found on surfaces. Mold spores are tiny, and can spread throughout your house with just a whiff of air, and get into your furniture, your air ducts, your bedding, and so on. And once the mold spores spread to these places, it is very difficult to eradicate them.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some people have allergic reactions to mold. If they are especially sensitive, they may experience symptoms similar to hay fever: itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion, or even itchy skin when spores come in contact with the skin. For people with asthma, mold can sometimes trigger an asthmatic attack. 

Structural Damage

Water has an uncanny ability to get nearly everywhere. While it always flows down, it does not always flow the way you might expect unless it is carefully channeled, which is why we use channels, gutters, and pipes whenever we use water. But if it escapes the conduits specifically designed to contain it, it will seep into places we cannot reach, including down into the foundations of our houses. 

Once under the house, water can cause tremendous damage. By softening the ground underneath the foundation, it will cause the foundation structure, bearing all the weight of the house, to sag, and cause cracks in concrete, brick, and wooden beams and joists, compromising the integrity of the entire structure: floors, walls, ceiling, and roof. Trying to save your house by rebuilding the foundation is not a restoration project you want. As soon as you know that water is not where it should be, call in a professional to get it back under control.

Unsightly Stains and Foul Odors

In addition to the health impacts, mold, mildew, water stains, and buckled baseboards or flooring are unsightly, and can often emit an unpleasant odor that is hard to get rid of. If you are noticing a strong, musty odor in your building, or you see discoloration in your paint, it may be the first sign of a problem caused by water damage. If left too long, odors can permeate everything, from furniture to drapes, to bedding, and even your clothing.

High Water Bills

If you have a leak that is unseen, you may notice that your water bill is unusually high (or even that your heating bill is high, if the leak is at your water heater). If you see your utility bills take a bad turn and cannot understand why, leaking water may be the culprit. So one benefit of having your water problem addressed is that you can stop a problem that may be costing you money every month.

Electrical Issues

Water damage and electricity should never mix. So if you have a water leak, you also have to worry about your electrical. If water seeps into electrical wiring or components, you may be in store for an even bigger problem, causing shorts, power outages, or even shocks and sparks that can ignite a fire. If you know that a water leak has caused an electrical problem, don’t use any electricity; completely shut down the power from your central panel and have a professional come in and assess the damage.

Water Damage Restoration Companies in Coeur d’Alene

If you live in North Idaho, help is not far away. You can avoid the negative consequences of leaving a water problem unsolved by contacting our experts at SERVPRO of Coeur d’Alene. We service all communities surrounding our Coeur d'Alene location.

When leaks or flooding occur in a home or a commercial building, the damage can be minimized with a fast response time. As soon as we receive your call, we will get to work assessing the damage, stopping the problem at its source, drying out the area, caring for your belongings, and restoring your home. If you are in need of water damage restoration or mold remediation, contact SERVPRO of Coeur d'Alene right away.

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