Water heaters are notorious for causing extensive water damage in homes.
Three major factors that make water heaters floods more damaging to homes than other sources of water are
- The fact that they are under constant hydrostatic pressure.
- Their inherent purpose is to hold a large amount of water.
- Most times they are located in or adjacent to the inhabitable portion of a home.
These facts can cause a large amount of water to rush into and cause water damage to carpets, drywall, cabinets, ceilings, floors, crawl spaces, etc. If these areas are not properly dried very quickly, mold damage can occur, causing a much greater issue than just moisture. Mold damage will make the air in the home uninhabitable. Mold spores can cause respiratory disorders and many side effects associated with being able to breathe correctly.
What to do to minimize damage when it occurs:
- Turn off the water to the dwelling.
- Call us immediately. We can assess the damage, give you an estimate for drying, and outline the best option to get your home back to normal very quickly. In most cases it is best to reach us before your insurance company. Many times water damage will fall below your deductible and we can save you the pain of having a red flag on your insurance and your rates increasing by giving your options. We work directly with most insurance carriers so if an insurance claim is filed our pricing and procedures will be approved. Call us today! 619.597.2003
- Mop up as much standing water as you can with towels or a mop and bucket or broom to minimize further damage.
- Move furniture or place plastic under furniture feet to minimize the probability of staining of carpets and bleeding / staining of furniture on other surfaces.
- Turn off electrical breakers to the area where water damage is occurring. This will minimize a short or fire damage possibilities.
- Place contents, books, furniture, etc that has gotten wet in the sun to expedite drying.
What issues can arise:
- If not taken care of properly mold damage can occur.
- Odors can arise and persist until properly dried.
- If not dried correctly the issues of mold and odor can persist.
- Property damage can continue to occur until properly dried. As one of the largest investment for most people, it is important to protect your home by having it dried out correctly.
- Items such as cabinets, drywall, insulation, flooring, furniture, etc can be destroyed if not dried out quickly and correctly.
What is likely to happen when a water heater overflows or bursts:
- Water will seek an equilibrium. It will follow a path of least resistance. If the water heater is on the second or higher floors, this many times means it will go through the floor and into the ceiling or walls of the floor(s) below.
- Items in the path of the water damage will soak up water and be damaged if not dried out correctly. Most items in a home are hydrophilic. I.E. they will suck up water very readily. Drywall is an excellent example. Once water hits it, water will even travel upward within it due to cohesion within it.
- The home will grow mold if it is not dried out properly.
What to look for if you think you have a leaky or damaged water heater:
- Look for moist or darker looking drywall around the base of the water heater. Many times the moisture will darken the drywall or swell it, causing a line between wet and dry drywall.
- Pooling water. Check all sides of walls adjacent and close to the water heater. Many times when a water heater is next to a wall it is the opposite side that shows damage.
- Increase in water bill with no apparent increase in water usage. This could be an indicator that you have a leak somewhere and it could be the water heater.
- Musty or strange odors. When water damage sits for over a day or two usually a smell similar to a wet towel left undried in the washing machine.
What can be done to prevent water damage before it occurs:
- Ensure that valves are in good working order. You can call us to give an estimate to replace valves. Many issues we see with water heaters and other components of the pressurized water system of homes have to do with broken valves.
- Have the pressure checked in your home to ensure it is being regulated correctly. If the pressure from the street is too high this can cause a valve break or a pressure release valve to burst and cause water damage.
- Potentially consider a tankless water heater. Most homes have water heaters that hold between 20 and 80 gallons of water. A tankless water heater is much smaller than a regular water heater and heats water when needed as opposed to keeping a tank of water heated all of the time. Tankless water heaters are either powered by electricity or natural gas. Reach us and we can give you an assessment.
- Read the label on the water heater and ensure that the duration it is meant to last is not exceeded, else have it replaced.