Water is both essential to a house and a cause for some of the most expensive repairs. However, there are a lot of signs and symptoms of water building up in places its not supposed to. We outline the most common water buildup issues and how to detect and fix them.
- Leaking pipes
If you have a leaking pipe that is a small drip of a continuous stream, it will cause moisture issues like mold, drywall cracks, ceiling and wall damage, and potential problems with the foundation. If your water bill gets high for seemingly no reason, there is a musty smell, or there is mold or mildew developing, call a plumber to get it inspected and fixed
- Leaking Roof
If rain and snow are able to get through your roof and into your attic and walls, they can become a hotbed for mold growth. This mold will degrade your insulation and cause similar problems to leaky pipes. If you see water stains on your ceiling or walls, get your roof inspected and repaired before the damage gets worse.
- Leaking foundation
Over time, your house will settle on he foundation and hairline cracks can form in the concrete. As water seeps into the tiny cracks, they eventually expand. This can cause standing water in the basement and underneath your entire house. If you are able to see the cracks, there are ways you can patch it yourself. If you can’t find the problem, hire a foundation specialist to locate and repair the problem. This is one of the costliest and time-consuming home repairs to undertake. Luckily this doesn’t happen very often.
- Damp or wet crawl space
Speaking of water under the house, it is is important to check your crawl space to make sure it is dry. In areas that get a lot of rainfall like western Oregon and Washington, as well as the southeast United States, saturated ground may leak water into the crawl space. One easy way to help detect this is to line your crawl space with plastic. This can help you find standing water. If you smell musty air or have higher energy bills (because it takes more energy to heat/cool wet air), inspect your crawlspace yourself. It’s not fun, but it needs to be done
- Dirty or improperly sealed air ducts
Over time, air ducts get clogged up by absorbing dust, pet dander, and other air contaminants. When they are trapped in the ducts, they absorb moisture from the air, potentially creating mold buildup. Be sure to replace your air filters every 3-6 months and inspect the ducts for cracks or leaks. If there are cracks or leaks, seal them with duct tape.
- Air leaks
As doors and windows get used and age, they weather stripping will deteriorate. Be sure to inspect that the stripping is in working order and replace them if need be. A good way to check is to feel around the edges of doors and windows. IF you feel cold air moving in during the winter or warn air moving in during the summer, this is an indication of an air leak.
- Excess Moisture
Excess moisture in your home can cause the buildup of mold and can damage many parts of the house. The best way to prevent this is to try to keep your home at around 40% humidity. If you notice there is condensation around widows, old growing in the bathroom or in cabinets, or notice that paint on the walls is cracked or blistering, you have an excess moisture problem. Here are some ways to combat this: use a dehumidifier, take cooler and shorter showers while leaving the fan on for longer, and using houseplants to absorb the moisture.
Overall, take steps to make sure your home stays as dry as possible. A dry house is a safe house. If you have any questions about water buildup, contact a professional to get it inspected and fixed. In future articles, we will outline home venting issues to monitor and fix.