Plugging Water Leaks

February 2024

Ignoring, or pretending water leaks don’t exist, never ends well.

Water damage is classified, by professionals, in three hazard categories denoted by water colour.  Category one is clean water which comes from overflowing sinks, broken water or steam pipes, and rainwater.  Problems should be addressed 24 to 48 hours after detection to reduce risks of contamination.  Contaminated water, category two, poses health risks.  Black water, category three, is contaminated and dangerous water from exterior sources that include sewers and rivers, and poses the greatest health risk.

Regardless of water colour, all water leaks should be identified and eliminated as quickly as possible to reduce water damage and health risks.

External water leaks, which start outside a building, worsen in the spring.  Outdoor leaks become more prevalent after winter snow and ice on roofs, in pipes and around the base of buildings begin to melt.  Reducing risks of water damage, and injury, requires clearing snow and ice from roofs so it doesn’t seep through the roof or fall off and injure someone.  At the base of a building, water should be directed away from the structure and to catch basins free of obstructions.

Internal leaks are harder to find than external leaks.  There may be no visible accumulation of water from pinhole leaks, loose connections or damaged internal pipes.  RespondPlus Restoration Services deals with the aftermath of interior water leaks.  Lee Hopwood explains that “Water leaks in units from pipes can reside in dark areas that are rarely accessed or seen.  Hidden moisture, particularly behind walls, is a fertile growing area for mould and damaging to materials used in walls, ceilings and floors.”  Jim Lorenzen of LEaC Shield which identifies and repairs water leaks elaborates on this.  “Water sensors, which detect water in an area and send an electronic or audible notification, are not used nearly enough because most believe water leaks are “someone else’s problem.””   No wonder water damage insurance claims exceed those of any other type.

Small leaks, if unaddressed, become rivers of trouble for building residents and management.  Plug your water leaks.