The causes of water damage are as varied as its effects. It could spring from broken dishwashers, leaking pipes and even snow melting. Because the causes are common, it happens to almost every house owner. That’s why it’s important to know what damages it can cause, especially the health hazards. The effects can begin within minutes, and it only worsens as the days go by.
How It Damages Your Property
- After minutes
Damage begins the moment anything is submerged in water, and within minutes secondary damage spreads. Anything made of paper, like wallpaper or paintings, will swell, warp, then split. Furniture, especially antiques, will discolor, and anything with wood or metal will begin to transfer stains.
- After hours
The odor becomes very prominent, especially if the space is entirely enclosed. Furniture which was once only discoloring will begin to delaminate, swell and warp. For any furniture with legs, it will show signs of splitting. The same will happen to anything that has finish, like the stairs, cupboards and shelves. Metal will continue to tarnish, as the drywall installations soak up the standing water.
- After days
Anything with metal materials has already begun to rust, while the doors and windows swell, warp then split. Any form of electronics will be difficult to salvage and will most likely short circuit if you try to use them. A few days of soaking can already render your drywall installation useless because it will swell disintegrate in that short period. Water damage on pianos will begin to show because at the length being submerged in water, the components inside of it will swell.
- After weeks
At this point, nothing can be done about wood or metal furniture or fixtures because it has already been destroyed on a chemical level. If in weeks, nothing is done about the water issue mold spores will spread. These spores will erode and ruin natural fiber, from paper to the actual foundation of the house. The best approach to this kind of damage is to demolish and replace everything to pass future home inspections.
How It Affects Your Health
- After days
Within a couple of days, water turns into gray water. What that means is that the water could be contaminated and carrying microorganisms enough to cause a variety of diseases to people. This has little to do with the amount of stagnant water because the same health hazards could happen with dishwasher leaks and an overflowing toilet. As long as the water has been there for days, it could have already bred bacteria, viruses, fungi or algae.
- After weeks
After a week, stagnant water becomes black water, meaning it carries pathogens that compromise the health of individuals in close contact with it. The number of diseases it carries is comparable to water from the sewage, and this is true regardless of the color or severity of its odor. The quality of air is also so bad at this point that it requires proper protection before going anywhere near the area.