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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Check for Leaks and Water Damage During Spring Cleaning Season

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Whether it’s because the tasks so closely align with the seasonal premise of rebirth or simply because we find the fresher, warmer air to be so invigorating, spring has traditionally been a time for cleaning and improved living in Central Oregon and beyond.

And, as we capitalize on this added motivation to downsize, organize, deep clean, and prepare for more active days ahead, we at SERVPRO of Bend recommend homeowners add one more effort to their spring maintenance lists: checking for leaks and signs of water damage around the house.

After all, leaks and the water damage they create – even the so-called small ones – represent one of the biggest and most costly threats to American homes.

What Restoration Company Do I Choose?

Before we get into the how behind checking for water leaks, we at SERVPRO have an important reminder for homeowners. If homeowners do find and report water damage to their insurance companies, this doesn’t mean they lose choice when it comes to clean up, repair and restoration.

Most insurance carriers will “recommend” a water damage restoration company to you. This is acceptable, but the final decision is legally up to you. It is your property, and like using any other service to work on your house, you have the ultimate choice of who you use.

SERVPRO of Bend is contracted with you, the property owner. We work with all insurance carriers and are a preferred provider for most.

The Cost of Leaks

According to Water Damage Advisor, a top resource hub for information about water damage in the U.S., insurance companies paid out $17 billion in 2017 alone to help repair water-damaged homes and property. The average claim exceeded $10,000.

And, despite what you might expect, little of this damage was caused by flooding, storms, or other weather phenomena.

On the contrary, the most common causes of water damage claims come from leaks, malfunctions, or structural flaws in roofs, toilets, sinks, refrigerators, irrigation systems, water heaters, and HVAC systems. Yes, even tiny leaks can create big problems.

A small leak under a sink or behind a refrigerator that drips ten times per minute, for instance, will release an average of 500 gallons per year. That’s enough to warp floorboards, cause serious molding, and create massive structural damage in a home – just from a slow series of tiny drips.

How prevalent are such issues? Nearly 40 percent of all homeowners have admitted to experiencing some sort of loss – structural, financial, or otherwise – from water damage.

How Do I Check for Water Leaks?

When inspecting your home for potential leak issues, start with the following areas suggested by our team here at SERVPRO of Bend:

Behind Appliances

All appliances that require water hook-ups have the potential to leak. So, check behind and underneath your refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer for puddles, moisture, or signs of water damage such as swollen spots on the floor. Also, check around all water connections for leaks and potential damage. Replace hoses as necessary.

Under Sinks/Behind Toilets

Look in all cabinets under sinks and drainage lines for small puddles, dry rot, mold, or warped spots in the wood that may indicate water damage. Also, check around and behind all toilets in the home to ensure there are no leaks in the toilet, its seals, or the line which feeds the water reservoir.

Peek in Your Crawlspace

If you have access to the entrance to your crawlspace, open it up, grab a flashlight and take a peek under the house. Even if you don’t feel comfortable crawling around in the space, a visual inspection for puddles under bathrooms and sink junctions can help you to know if you have any issues with pipes or in areas above sinks and appliances.

Gutters & Rooflines

Make sure your gutters are cleaned out and maintained, and do a visual check of your roof and roofline for any missing or loose shingles due to wind or general wear and tear. Also, ensure any buildup of needles and other debris on your roof – such a common occurrence here in Central Oregon – is removed.

Irrigation System

When you turn your irrigation system on for the spring and summer, make sure all sprinklers are pointed away from the home’s foundation and siding. Consistent spraying throughout the season can cause foundational damage as well as damage to siding and underlying sheetrock. Also, check for leaks in underground lines, especially those close to the house, that may cause water buildup under the home.

Siding/Foundation

Perform a visual inspection of possible water damage to your home’s foundation and siding. Moisture, cracks, and warped siding can be a sign of several potential issues, from problems with the irrigation system to deficiencies in your roof and gutters.

What Do I Do If I Suspect Water Damage?

If you find leaks or signs of water damage during your inspection, the first thing to do is look for ways to remove water from the equation. If under sinks, behind toilets, attached to appliances, or related to your irrigation system, look for water shut-off valves leading to the connected appliances or fixtures.

However, if the leak is bad and time is of the essence, turn off your home’s main water shutoff valve. If you don’t know where that is, don’t wait for an emergency to happen to look for it. Contact the city for help locating it.

Once you’ve done what you can to prevent additional damage, contact a licensed professional (i.e., plumber, irrigation expert, roofing company, etc.) to assess and fix the cause of the leak. If the damage is bad enough that you plan to make an insurance claim, be aware that it is up to you – not your insurance company – which company you choose to clean and restore the mess made from the water damage.

At SERVPRO of Bend, we offer water removal, damage repair, and restoration services no matter the time of day or the size of the job. Using state-of-the-art water removal equipment and advanced drying techniques, we will quickly dry your home or property, ensuring the job’s done right.

If you’ve experienced water damage and wish to receive an estimate for our services, call today at 541-385-7044.

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