HOW TO PREVENT WATER DAMAGE FROM SPREADING
Step 1: Contain the water.
First things first: if water is actively dripping down, get something to contain it. You can use just about any waterproof bin. Next, retrieve some old towels or a mop to soak up and dry the puddles on your floor as quickly as possible. Pro tip: If water splashes out of the bin each time it drips down, line the bin with a t-shirt or towel.
Step 2: Protect your furniture.
If needed, move your furniture out of the way of the leak. You can also cover unmovable items with a tarp, vinyl shower curtains, or any other waterproof surface. Don’t forget to wipe away any water that has collected underneath your furniture, including the legs.
Step 3: Help the leak drain.
Now that you’ve completed some initial damage control, grab a sturdy step stool or ladder so that you can get to your ceiling. Locate the area where your ceiling is darkening, bulging, or bubbling. With a small bucket ready to catch falling water, poke a hole into that spot with a narrow, sharp item (like a screwdriver or a pen). This will give the water place to drain and will make it less like to spread and weigh down your ceiling.
Step 4: Try to determine the leak’s source.
You’ll need to try to determine whether you have a plumbing leak or a roof leak, and there’s a relatively simple way to tell. If it’s raining outside, or if you have snow on your roof, you most likely have a roof leak. You can check for additional signs like holes, mold, or brown spots in your attic. If there’s no rain or snow outside, you most likely have a plumbing leak.
WHAT CAUSES PLUMBING LEAKS?
Plumbing leaks can happen for numerous reasons. Leaks in your walls or ceiling will typically occur due to:
- Age. As pipes wear out, corrode, or become brittle, they become more susceptible to leaks.
- Clogs. If a clog is severe enough, the pressure that builds up can create a leak in your plumbing. Clogs can also create standing water inside your pipes that wears them down, especially if that water contains corrosive chemicals.
- High water pressure and water hammer. Excessively forceful water can damage pipe joints and connections, increasing the risk of a leak.
- Burst pipes during winter. The pressure change that happens when water molecules freeze pushes water toward the nearest tap. This creates a huge buildup of pressure between the tap and the ice blocking the pipe. That pressure can make the pipe burst.