A Quick Guide to Understanding Water Damage and Its Impact

Handling water damage on your own can be very challenging. Additionally, this kind of damage is not always so much in your face. There can be silent signs of it all around your home. If you don’t catch it during the initial stages, it can cause a lot of problems and be expensive to fix.

Underestimating what water damage can do and its impact can be a problem. To help you out, we have compiled a quick guide for this very purpose. With its help, you will be able to understand water damage and understand how to tackle it properly.

Knowing the Impact of Water Damage

Now, most people take water damage very lightly and honestly, most cases are not very serious to begin with. A little bit of moisture in the house does not do much harm, right?
On the other hand, excessive moisture can lead to long-term water damage. This can cause the following scenarios which can be difficult to rectify with ease:

  • Mold – Almost all kinds of mold are toxic and when it grows in your home, it can put your health and the health of your loved ones at risk. Additionally, the mold can be very resilient and doesn’t go away with proper cleaning. You need to use specialized disinfectants and more for it. It also has a tendency to find the smallest, darkest crevices to grow in.
  • Insects – Insects like gnats, fruit flies, roaches and more love rotting wood and nest in dark, damp environments. Water damage can turn your home into the perfect breeding area for them. You can easily get an infestation of unwanted pests. This ends up causing more difficulties in correcting water damage effectively.
  • Viral Infections – Bacteria and viruses will also grow in damp home environments. With water damage, the threat of influenza and respiratory congestion becomes imminent. In cases where dirty or polluted water was responsible for the flooding, a person’s health can be seriously at risk if they do not get it corrected.
  • Rotting – Water that collects in a pool for long areas of time can start to be absorbed by the surroundings and cause rot. Wooden boards, drywalls, staircases and even low shelving are all susceptible to this. The rot also increases the chances of mold developing and can require complete or partial replacements.
  • Problems in Structural Stability – Areas like staircases, wooden beams and even the foundation are load bearing areas of the house. Many are also not designed to deal with high amounts of moisture. Water damage here increases the risk of weakening these areas and causes structural damage. This can be both costly and difficult to fix.

Not all homes experience these things when water damage occurs. If proper measures are applied that reduce the flooding, leaking and exposure, it is possible to minimize the negative impact of water damage.

Understanding the Categories and Classes

Water damage falls into a number of different categories and classes. These are essential to identifying any scenario you are experiencing.  Commonly, water damage is divided into three major categories and four different classes.

The categories used to identify the kind of water that is flooding or leaking and responsible for the damage. On this basis, you have to pay attention to the following:

  • Category 1 – Clean Water – This is caused by water that is clean and sanitary. It can relate to flooding or leaks caused by dryers and washers or even dishwashers. Additionally, flooding caused by clean water pipelines can also be category 1.
  • Category 2 – Dirty Water – Category 2 water damage is caused by dirty water. This is caused by broken pipelines, faulty septic tanks or other sources. The water can be murky or a bit opaque. It’s not always harmful but prolonged exposure to it can cause minor discomfort. If you smell an odor, avoid the water completely.
  • Category 3 – Polluted Water – This relates to water damage caused by extremely dirty water such as a broken sewage line. Standing water after a flooding can also fall into category 3. In appearance, the water might be black, green or even have a film on top. Avoid exposure as it can cause serious harm to your health. An odor is also common for this category.

Apart from these, you also have to pay attention to the classes of water damage. These are of four different types. The classes are used to gauge the extent of the damage done. This takes factors such as evaporation of the water, humidity and the area where the water pooled. Keeping these in mind, you have to pay attention to the following different classes:

  • Class 1 – This relates to water damage that only impacts a small area. This is easy to fix, easy to clean and the water can be dried up quickly and without any negative effects. Many people are able to handle this on their own.
  • Class 2 – This is a larger flooding or water damage scenario. It can affect the whole room. If it is flooded, the water will be lower than two feet. It is necessary to drain the water quickly to contain the damage.
  • Class 3 – This causes damage on a larger scale. This relates to water damage that is done on the roof or the floor above. This can affect the walls and the roof as well so a quick response is necessary. Professional help will be needed to prevent prolonged damage.
  • Class 4 – This is for special scenarios where water damage has to be handled with the help of special equipment. This can be caused by natural floods, hurricanes or more that will mean that certain areas of the house will be submerged in the water for an indefinite number of days.

In all these scenarios, it is a good idea to get the professionals involved since it can be difficult to handle water damage on your own.

Noticing the Signs of Water Damage

Water damage can have subtle signs as well so it can be hard to know if you’re experiencing it or not. Flooding happens usually when the damage has grown. By paying attention to the smaller details, you can actually spot the issue before it becomes large or widespread. The following are a few fine details that you should pay attention to:

  • Mildew Smell – The smell of mildew and mold is very distinctive and before it becomes visible, you can usually smell it. If you can smell it in any area of the house, there is a high chance that you might have mold. Apart from getting rid of it, you should also look for a leak. Mold grows in humid, dark environments. Without the humidity, it cannot grow.
  • Warping – Excess moisture can start to make floorboards and even wooden walls start to warp. Warping can cause the board to either swell up or it can cause curvature in the board. Both of these are related to excessive moisture that the wood has absorbed.
  • Stains on the Wallpaper – While old wallpaper can start to brown or yellow, it is very unnatural for it to stain. Pay close attention to the staining if it starts to happen near the top or the bottom of the wall. This can indicate the area of the leak and allow you to catch the water damage quickly. It can also mean that there is moisture in the drywall or sub-level.
  • Bubbles in the Paint – Sometimes, water in the drywall and walls can cause the paint to start to bubble. This relates to the coat of paint that has been applied and dried out properly. Pay close attention if a previously smooth surface has small bubbles. In some cases, the bubbles can also make a path, indicating where the excess moisture is coming from.
  • Dampness – Some surface areas might start to sweat or have a shiny sheen on the top. This is a sign of excess moisture and humidity. If you wipe the dampness away and it forms again, there is an active leak or source of moisture which needs to be addressed.

It is also a good idea to pay attention to the weather conditions in the locality as well. In some areas, the moisture level increases before rainfall or after rainfall. If this occurs very frequently or you experience high humidity levels, the risk of water damage in your home also increases.

 

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