Can a small water leak in your home make you sick?
Consider the following:
- One leaky faucet dripping at a rate of 1 drip per second will use roughly 3,000 gallons of water in one year. That’s enough for almost 200 showers.
Now let’s imagine that that drip is happening in a location where you can’t see it or hear it. That’s about 250 gallons of water collecting somewhere in your home each month or over 60 gallons of water each week. What happens when all this water has nowhere to go and is unable ever to dry out? Mold.
All it takes is a bit of water and a relatively warm environment for mold to grow. When the water damage is hidden, so is the mold. And once mold starts to grow, it spreads everywhere; it grows in drywall, insulation, vents, carpets, carpet padding—you name it, mold can grow there. Not only will mold undermine your home’s structural integrity and damage your belongings, but it can also make you sick. Mold allergies generally feel like allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies; symptoms such as red, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, or runny nose are common. Dry, scaly skin is also common. Mold may also trigger asthma attacks. Prolonged exposure to more toxic varieties can lead to severe respiratory illness.
What’s the Solution?
Because these symptoms are vague and can be associated with other environmental factors, it is challenging to use health to diagnose a mold problem. At Emergency Mitigation Services, experts in emergency water damage in Lawrence, KS, we recommend working the other way round: be on the lookout for signs of a hidden water leak to prevent mold growth and the problems that accompany it. Here are three tips for uncovering a hidden leak:
- Do a water meter test. Your water meter tells you your water usage in real-time. Turn all the water off in your house – everything including appliances and the sprinkler system. Read your meter. Recheck the meter in 5 minutes. If it’s changed, you have a fast leak. If it didn’t change, reread it in a few hours. If you see a change now, you likely have a slow leak somewhere.
- Check your water bill. Your water usage probably remains relatively constant. Summer months may be higher because of the sprinkler system, but generally, you should see a recognizable pattern over time. If your usage increases without an explanation – watering the lawn, houseguests, etc. – then it’s time to check for leaks.
- Look for rust and discoloration. Make it a habit to periodically check your pipes for signs of rust, especially at connections, as this is a sign of a slow leak. Also, watch for discoloration on the floors and walls around your appliances.
Water Damage Repair
The best way to prevent mold is to have water damage repaired quickly and thoroughly. Whether you have a slow leak in your dishwasher or a flooded basement in Lawrence, KS, the team at EMS is available 24/7 to remove the water, clean up the mess, and get your home safely dried out as quickly as possible. Don’t wait until mold makes you sick; call for water damage repair today.