What Damage Can Water Cause?

water damage

Water damage is a multifaceted event that affects your home in a variety of ways. Because very few parts of a typical house are waterproof, exposure to water is never a positive event. The wide range of potential negative consequences of water damage require rapid response and recovery techniques performed by qualified professionals to restore your home to a safe and healthy environment. Here are some of the major ways water can damage your home and disrupt your daily life:

Structural damage. Many parts of a home’s construction are vulnerable to the effects of water.

  • Two of the most common structural elements—drywall and wood—are compromised when exposed to it.
  • Drywall that forms walls and ceilings rapidly absorbs water and may be dried in place if there is no obvious change in shape and seams are intact.  However, drywall affected by ‘dirty’ water will need to be replaced. 
  • Wood structure in the attic, crawl space, and inside walls can warp, rot and decompose due to long term or repeated exposure to water.
  • Bricks and other masonry are at risk as submersion in standing water can erode mortar that holds individual pieces together.

Electrical damage. No components of your home’s electrical system are made to resist water exposure. Electrical wiring, outlets, junction boxes, and circuit breaker panels are all very vulnerable to water exposure. If these components become wet, dangers relating to the initial moisture—as well as the corrosion that follows—typically mean that affected components must be inspected and possibly replaced.  

Insulation issues. Both fiberglass and cellulose loose-fill insulation lose insulating capacity when wet. Fiberglass batts may be removed from the house, dried, and then reinstalled. Cellulose insulation that has become wet is considered ruined and must be replaced.

HVAC systems. Water entering the HVAC system triggers mold growth, deteriorates duct material, and causes air leaks. If water contacts critical furnace components such as burners and the heat exchanger, these costly parts are no longer safe and will require replacement. If the AC compressor in the outdoor unit is submerged by flooding, the compressor and other associated electrical components will also need to be replaced.

Flooring. Solid hardwood flooring will absorb water, causing dimensional changes such as swelling and buckling. Engineered flooring made of layers of wood glued together may permanently deteriorate when saturated, requiring replacement.  Standing water seeping beneath the flooring such as tile and other materials may soak the wooden subfloor beneath, requiring removal of flooring material to dry the subfloor. 

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