You’d think it’d be easy to notice a water leak – we tend to think of bursting pipes allowing tidal waves of water to flood the building, but reality isn’t usually as extreme as what you see in the movies. Most leaks in our home aren’t really noticeable, instead staying hidden in the walls or under the floors until it’s too late.

Next thing you know, you’re stuck with an expensive repair bill involving much more than a plumber. It’s overwhelming and can create financial turmoil at the wrong time. There are often telltale signs of water damage, however, and identifying them early is essential to keeping your home in pristine condition.

Signs of Water Leakage

When your toilet overflows, you can see the water accumulating on the bathroom floor, but if a leaky pipe is behind a wall, it’s harder to see. The most obvious sign of water leaks aside from pools of water is discoloration in the walls and ceiling. When the wood and other building materials absorb the water, they’ll darken and stain a yellowish brown color.

These materials will also change texture due to the extra weight and flexibility caused by the water. Sagging, expansion, warping, and buckling are all caused by water damage, and, while it’s best to identify the leak before it gets to this point, it’s still recoverable.

Metals will start rusting with leaks, so check your water heater, sinks, showers, and other pipes for exterior rust, a possible indication of water contact and definite cause for concern regardless. Also the smell of mold and mildew (which grows inside wet drywall that’s shaded from direct sunlight) is a distinct sign of leaks.

Causes of Water Damage

Once you’ve identified that there is a leak, it’s time to locate the cause. Water in the ceiling is caused either by a leaky roof or pipe leak from upstairs (if you have a multistory house). The same is true with water in the walls, and how high up the wall it is can be an indicator of which. Floor damage can be caused by leaky pipes, appliances, and bathroom components.

If you’re unable to specifically locate the leak, call a professional to come check it out. You’ll likely need a licensed professional to clean up the mess anyway, especially if it leaked into the frame of the house. Appliance Doctors has decades of experience troubleshooting the worst water leaks in Cayman and can give you a fair and transparent assessment of the damage.

Cleaning and Repairing Leaks

Wood becomes softer when wet and drying it out is vital to maintaining the structural integrity of the building. Unplug any nearby appliances, use towels to clean any puddles, and place a heated fan nearby to help expedite the drying process. Call a local water damage restoration company or plumber who can help you with an estimate of damages.

If you have homeowner’s, renters, or other insurance, notify your company to report the damage and contact our licensed professionals to complete any necessary repairs.

Water damage is one of the most common types of damage that occurs in homes. It’s not always covered by your insurance either. Identifying leaks early and taking steps to fix them can greatly reduce the damage and financial impact, so remain vigilant when looking for stains, puddles, mildew smells, and other signs of trouble ahead.