Water Damage: Dangers and Risks
~~Water is one of life's essential requirements, but too much of a good thing can cause very real problems for homes and structures. Standing water, excess moisture in the air and flooding can all lead to expensive and potentially dangerous issues within a building. Taking steps to prevent water damage is imperative, but it's equally important to spot budding issues before they become a hazard.
Dangers Posed by Water Damage
There are several factors which can contribute to moisture-related problems on your property. Flooding due to a natural disaster or as the result of a burst pipe, standing water without proper drainage and high levels of moisture in the air within a building or crawlspace can all have a detrimental effect on your property. While there are many dangers which can result from excess water, some are more common and more problematic than others.
• Mould – Mould is unsightly, but it can also be deadly. The presence of toxic mould spores can irritate allergies, exacerbate symptoms of asthma and irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat. Mould spores are often present in the air, but generally only cause a problem when they land on standing water or damp patches and begin to grow. Eliminating excess water and actively working to prevent water damage can help to prevent mould growth in your home.
• Structural Damage – Standing water can not only create the perfect environment for microbial growth, but may also compromise the structural integrity of your home. Improper soil grading, lack of drainage and damaged or blocked gutters can all contribute to the presence of excess water, which in turn may damage your foundation or decking timbers.
• Aesthetic Damage – Buckling timbers, discolored exteriors and damaged paint are not only telltale signs of water damage, but also can reduce the aesthetic appeal of your home. Failure to address the source of water damage will only lead to worsening issues, up to and including aesthetically displeasing sights.
Preventing Water Damage
The best way to handle water damage is to prevent it in the first place. This means keeping your drains and gutters in good repair, promptly addressing any plumbing leaks and ensuring the soil on your property is properly graded.
The relative humidity inside a building should rest somewhere between thirty and fifty percent. If you notice condensation on your windows, obvious areas of dampness on walls and ceilings or a musty smell inside your home, the humidity level may be too high. Excessive relative humidity levels can foster mould and mildew growth while contributing to overall structural damage.
Should water intrusion occur, it's important to address the problem as soon as possible to help mitigate any damage. The extent of the damage can be assessed by a professional building inspector. Because the signs of water damage aren't always so easily spotted by the untrained eye, it's also wise to schedule regular building inspections through a qualified professional. This will allow you to be apprised of any present issues, as well as factors which may present a problem in the future.
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