Your house can have many underlying problems that you don’t see on the surface. Inside the walls and under the floors can lurk worsening pipe leaks that threaten the integrity of the building.
To avoid undetected water damaging your dwelling place, inspect your home for these signs of concealed water damage.
Rank or musty odors
Just because you don’t see water damage doesn’t mean you can’t spot it with your other senses. If areas of your house smell like a damp basement, there could be mold forming under the surface — and mold is a certain sign of leaking water.
As Angie’s List contributor J.T. Gonzales explains, “Mold thrives on moist, dark areas, and a pipe, which is typically hidden in a wall or under flooring, provides the perfect starting point for mold or mildew if the pipe springs a leak.”
If the smell continues to worsen, your house may have unseen festering water leaks.
Discolored paint or peeling wallpaper
If water is building up behind the drywall, that moisture will slowly tarnish it from the inside. Although you may not see that moisture damage, you can spot its effects on the drywall — particularly in patches of discolored or bubbling paint or loose wallpaper.
The experts at home emergency company Disaster Restoration Services LLC point out, “Water from a leak inside the walls will absorb into drywall and sheetrock. As this water increases saturation, discoloration and staining will occur … Flaking, peeling, and bubbling on walls are almost always signs of hidden water damage.”
Marred or soft surfaces
Continual exposure to and contact with water can soften drywall, wood and the ground under concrete. This can lead to cracks, depressions or deterioration in walls, floors and ceilings. This is particularly true if the water leak is underground below the house, which water detection company Leak Doctor says can manifest in cracks or shifts in the foundation or pavement.
Also, if your water bill is increasing but water pressure and water usage are decreasing, that water could be leaking under your feet or behind the walls.
What should I do if I suspect water damage?
If any of these signs are present in your home, don’t delay taking action. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become and the greater the irreparable damage to your house. Document the water damage and contact your insurance agent to determine the course of action to make a water-related claim on your home insurance.
According to ValuePenguin, most home insurance policies cover water damage resulting from burst pipes, a leaking roof or appliance overflows, but it might not cover pipe backups or leaks. Make arrangements for a plumber to inspect the area and identify the problem, and then an insurance adjustor can determine if your insurance policy will help pay for repairs.
Whether your home insurance covers this water damage or not, you need to take action before the situation becomes disastrous. Even if you slightly suspect a leak, get a professional second opinion.