It is very easy to let minor repair and maintenance tasks slide. Repair jobs are often put off until tomorrow, and the next day. And often, no harm will come from a bit of procrastination. However, some minor problems can manifest into much larger concerns in no time at all.
A big reason that repairs get sidelined is due to the cost of calling out professional services. And also due to a lack of DIY skills. Sometimes, the problem may just not seem so urgent.
Any small leak in a home or business should be attended to. Often, a leaking pipe can be fixed very simply. But, ignoring leaks may lead to you needing a professional plumber urgently to prevent serious damage to your property.
How much damage can a small leak cause to a property?
One thing is sure, if you have a small leak it won’t disappear magically on its own. Therefore, you have two choices; fix the leak, or ignore the leak. If you choose the latter, the hole in the pipe will eventually grow bigger.
As water continues to flow along the pipe and escape through the hole, your pipe can become weakened. The pipe may become more corroded which will weaken it. Or the hole may expand due to the pressure from the water rushing through it.
At some point, this pipe may burst. When that happens you will have a potential flood on your hands. Especially if no one is at home when the pipe fails. Here are several ways that your property can be damaged by a small leak, even before it worsens
Water damage in general
Fortunately, there are ways to repair water damage, but it can be costly. In some instances, you might not be covered by insurance either. Leaking pipes will lead to water damage in the long run.
Getting a home’s aesthetics right can take a lot of money and effort. A simple leaking pipe can undo all that work.
Below you can see just how a small leak will lead to problems on your property if you don’t address it.
Common flooring types include vinyl or lino, laminate, and hardwood. Laminate flooring is constructed with a fiberboard core. This is extremely susceptible to water damage. This type of flooring will warp and swell when exposed to flooding.
Similarly, hardwood flooring can buckle and warp also. The amount of damage done will depend on how serious the flooding is, and the length of exposure.
Vinyl flooring is fairly resistant but a heavy flood can still cause significant harm. If water gets under the tiles it can cause them to lift, bubble, and warp. Even tiled floors are liable to water damage if the grout is penetrated.
Water damage can lead to extensive flooring repairs, and in the worst cases, a complete floor replacement.
2. Ceilings and walls
As mentioned previously, insurance may cover water damage from plumbing problems. But, if neglect or poor maintenance is the cause of water damage, then your insurance may not pay out. Ignoring a small leak could lead to damage to ceilings and walls. To the extent that a ceiling could even collapse.
Repairing ceilings cost hundreds of dollars. Neglecting any leak could be expensive when it results in a burst pipe. Leaks will lead to discoloration on walls, weakened plaster, and peeling paint.
Wallpaper is likely to peel if you have moisture building up from a leak. Plus, the plasterwork can crack or become soft.
3. Your family’s health
An area you may find hard to put a price on is your health and that of your family. Leaks can lead to several health problems.
You might not believe it, but a small leak in a home can result in an unhealthy environment. And at worse, even dangerous.
If water touches an exposed wire it can cause an electrical fire. The insulation on wiring can become damaged from constant exposure to water, leading to short circuits. And moisture results in mold and mildew forming.
When a house has dampness and mold growth, the occupants can experience a range of unpleasant allergy-like symptoms. Anyone in the house that suffers from asthma or respiratory problems may find their symptoms worsening.
4. Attract pests
Many pests like damp environments. Silverfish in particular love moisture, so a leaking pipe can help form the perfect environment for them. And of course, a leaking pipe also provides a source of water to drink from.
Moisture will attract cockroaches and rodents. Plus, standing water will help mosquitoes breed. A leaking pipe outdoors may lead to pooling which is ideal for mosquito populations.
Having pests in your house will lead to health hazards and potential damage to your home. Any commercial business with pests will face being closed down and a loss of revenue.
5. Carpets and rugs
Water will damage carpets and rugs if they are exposed to it for too long. It can be hard to dry out carpets after a burst pipe has happened. This can lead to carpets lifting from the floor, staining, and foul odors. Rugs may become stained. Plus fungi and mold can grow on damp carpeting.
6. Catastrophic flooding
When pipes burst it is easy for a building to flood very quickly. A toilet supply line will gush up to 3 gallons of water a minute if it bursts. Imagine you are not at home when this happens. Water will very quickly cover your property’s floor. In commercial premises with bigger pipework, hundreds of gallons of water can pump out in a minute.
Insurance comparison site, Policygenius, reports the average payout for water damage was $11,650. So, you can see that a small leak left to its own devices could lead to a hefty repair bill.
7. Structural damage
Just to escalate the point further, neglecting a small leak could even damage the structure of your property. Damaged pipework that is left to continue leaking will weaken parts of your building.
Wood will rot, and drywalls become weaker. Depending on where the leak is, the escaping water might cause corrosion or affect the foundations. Pipes and metal beams will corrode under prolonged exposure to water. And soil can erode affecting foundations.
Moisture and heat cause some materials to expand and contract. This can lead to door frames warping, and walls to bulge.
Avoiding burst pipes
Neglecting problems in your home or business will inevitably lead to bigger issues down the line. There are several dos and don’ts of home improvements, and one important aspect is using professional help.
If you are capable of fixing a leaky pipe then do it sooner instead of later. But, if you lack the tools and skills then hire a professional. The damage you could incur later on will more than make up for paying for that pipe to be fixed.
Also, look out for signs of leaks. Many small leaks are not noticeable. Leaks can occur in underground pipes outdoors, or pipework behind plasterboards. Listen for drips, and look for signs such as discoloration or dampness.
A small leak could easily lead to a serious amount of water flooding your property. When this happens, all your hard work in creating your private space will be damaged. Paintwork and plaster can be ruined. And flooring may need replacing.
In some cases, your health will be impacted by water damage, as well as your wallet. Neglecting small plumbing problems will only lead to bigger ones shortly.