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Water damage is a common fear that all homeowners have. Once you have been infiltrated with water, time is of the essence to fix the problem otherwise you could be faced with some major water restoration costs and health problems. Whether the issue is a small dripping faucet, a line behind your refrigerator or a busted water pipe, I will address some ways to detect if you have an issue and how to quickly recover to prevent the least amount of water damage as possible.
Sometimes the small leaks are the most dangerous. It could be under your house or in a pipeline you do not see, like behind your refrigerator. Next thing you know, you have a major water restoration issue. One way to detect if you have any unknown leaks is to not use any water for one hour. Do not flush the toilet, run the sink or do anything else with water. Take a reading of your water meter in the beginning of the hour and then again at the end of the hour. If it has changed, you know you have a leak somewhere.
For larger leaks, for example, you undid the wrong pipe when fixing the pipes under your sink, know where the water shut off valve is in your home. The quicker you get there to turn it off, the less damage you will have. In that case, you do not want to be fumbling around your house to find it when the situation is dire.
Once the water damage has occurred, it needs to be fixed quickly before you have a mold issue. If drywall has gotten wet, most likely it will need to be removed and replaced with a new section. Not the whole thing, just the part that has suffered damage. If paint is starting to peel, use a scraper and remove all the old paint, make sure the surface is dry, and then repaint the area.
Another sign of previous water damage is brown stains on the walls (usually on ceilings from roof leaks), this can be painted over but should be sealed first. If you do not seal the area, it will seep through the new paint in a matter of time. The process I would recommend following is to first wash the affected area with a cleaning agent, Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is recommended. When washing the
area, do your best not to "soak" the spot. After it has dried for a few days seal the area with a stain-blocker product/sealant. Once this has dried, go ahead and paint over the area with the color in your house.
The water restoration process isn't easy and can be quite tedious, but it is well worth the time to ensure the quality of your home and the health of your family. If water damage is ignored or not dealt with in a timely manner, be prepared for a whole slew of problems.