ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning

Leaks, Drips and Damage

July 3rd, 2013

Ahhhh. Refreshing, cool clear water. We drink it. We wash with it. We play on it, in it and even under it. In fact, we can only live about three days without it. It’s essential to life. But when it leaks into our house from a leaky or burst pipe it can quickly become our worst nightmare! It can cause damage, cost you money and some of the longer term effects can even make you sick. Water damage from leaking pipes is such a serious problem, it’s responsible for about 12% of all property damage insurance claims.

So the question is, “What to do?” The answer comes with just five words. The first three are Prevention, Prevention, Prevention! That’s how important it is. The other two words are Quick Action. Leaky pipes don’t just go away. They get worse, so act quickly. Oh, and once you’ve stopped the leak you may not be done with the problem. Water can continue to cause damage even after you stop the leak and clean up the mess.

Let’s start with prevention. After all, the cheapest and easiest way to handle a problem is to keep it from happening. Here are a few simple steps anyone can take to prevent some of the causes of water damage from leaky pipes. The best news is, they’re free.

They’re so important, you may want to write them down and regularly check them off your To Do list.

  • Clean your house regularly and not just vacuum and make the bed. Cleaning under the sinks by removing all the stuff you keep under there so you can do a quick inspection for some of the tell tale signs of leaks like water stains, warped wood or musty smells.
  • Pull out your appliances that use water, like a refrigerator with an ice maker or cold water dispenser. Check behind your clothes washer too. The hoses and fittings that supply water to them can sometimes leak. Just a few drops a day can add up to damage.
  • Trust your sense of smell. If you smell something unusual or musty, check it out. It may be caused by some unseen drip or leak.
  • Inspect the hoses on your washer. A burst ¾ inch hose can leak as much as 10 gallons of water in an hour. Even if you just left to run to the store it adds up fast. And nobody wants to return from an errand or a long vacation to be greeted by water leaking out the front door.

Of course, all the water and flood prevention in the world can’t guarantee you’ll never have a water leak. If you live in your home long enough, chances are you will have a pipe leak at some point. So when that happens, you’ll need to act quickly!

When you see a leak, or evidence you have one, shut off the water. Make sure you know where your water shut-off valves are. You can’t even apply a temporary fix if the water supply is turned on. If it’s a drain pipe, it may keep leaking as long as there is still water in the pipe, so get a bucket to catch the rest of the leak. Then mop up the mess right away. Now you can go about getting the leak repaired.

Rule Number One: If you don’t know what you’re doing, call a plumber – Now! You may make things worse and cause more damage when you’re trying to save a few bucks fixing it yourself. You may even end up spending more in the long run, especially if it ends up leaking again later.

Finally, there is the issue of long-term damage once the leak is repaired. It’s something nobody wants to hear. It’s the “M” word – mold. If you don’t get all the water cleaned up so everything gets dried up, water – even the small phantom amounts you may not see – can cause mold to begin growing within one to two days. That’s when you may need to call in a professional skilled in mold remediation and mold removal. Once mold gains a foothold, it not only smells bad but it can make you sick. So take action to solve the problem sooner, not later.

Yes, water can cause damage when it leaks into our homes, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just follow a few simple practices and you’ll be able to enjoy your home for many years to come.

  • Practice prevention
  • Act quickly when a leak occurs
  • Don’t hesitate to call a plumber
  • Call a cleaning professional like ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning to prevent or clean up mold, mildew and fungus after a leak.

Your home is where you and your family live life. Keeping it healthy will help keep all of you healthy.


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