Know the top sources for water damage in buildings and how to avoid them. | Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality
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3 Top Sources of Water Damage and How to Avoid Them

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Top 3 Sources of Water Damage:

  1. Washing Machine Hoses
  2. Shower / Tub – Grout and Caulking
  3. Water Heaters

The best way to avoid indoor flooding mold growth is a regular “Check Up” on these systems.

In our practice we see lots of water damage in homes and businesses.

Our new clients typically call us in a panic as they discover water flooding from 3 main sources.

These flooding events can often be eliminated altogether with a bit of planning and regular inspection process.

What Mold Needs to Grow:

First know that mold, toxic and not, needs moisture to thrive. Water destroys more homes that fires in America. As Property Owners want to keep our homes dry and clean. We don’t want to provide a place for mold to hide and grow.

A healthy home requires us to know where to look and learn how to prevent the growth in those areas.


1. Washing Machine Hoses:

Hoses, like us, age and develop cracks, fatigue and dry rot. How old is your machine? Chances are it may be more than 10 years. Two hoses that carry water to the machine (hot and cold) are pressurized with water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Often times folks will reuse the water supply lines when they get a new machine in an effort to economize. A washer supply line can flood your home and reek tremendous damage to finished flooring and furnishings. Consider installing  a shut off valve at the wall supply to relieve water pressure when the washer is not in use. Additionally consider replacing the old lines with braided burst proof supply lines.

2. Shower and Tub Tile Grout:

It is critical that grout and caulking around the shower and tub is properly installed and in excellent condition. In the course of a shower a quart to several gallons of water can penetrate the walls and floors due to improper or compromised sealants. Although time consuming grout and caulking needs to be inspected every year and refreshed every three to five years. We have seen our share of wood rot and toxic mold growths in and around tubs and showers just below the surfaces.

3. Water Heaters:

Water heaters are often located within in living areas of the home in a closet or utility room. Know where your water heater is located and inspect it every six months or so for staining  on the tank and drips from the Temperature Pressure Relief Valve (TPR). Typical life of a water heater (Gas or Electric) is 12 to 15 years. The tank is pressurized and typically contains 40 to 80 gallons of hot water. All water heaters should have a shut off valve that allows you to stop the flow of water into the tank. Its a good practice (and generally required by the manufacturer to maintain the warranty) to drain the water heater every six months to remove sediments. Always shut off the water heater electrical or gas service and follow manufactures directions.

Eliminating leaks and water damage in your home or office will minimize the potential for toxic mold growth, bacteria growths, odor and illness.

Shut it all down when your away:

Most catastrophic water leaks occur when your away. Ask your property insurance agent. A sudden leak that occurs when you at home can be quickly addressed. When your away the water can run for days and days truly destroying your home.

It is a good practice to know where the main water shut off to your home or office is located and test it annually. Shut off the water to your home if you will be absent for more than 24 hours as a preventive measure. Check your water bill carefully every month and always compare it to previous usage.

Volunteer Inspections provides a host of inspection services and offers free phone consultations should you have a question about moisture, bacteria or mold growths within your building.

Contact us for answers to all your building concerns.

Bob Byrne

Photo of Building Science Expert, Bob Byrne from Knoxville TN

Bob Byrne specializes in Indoor Air Quality and Mold and Commercial Building Inspections in Knoxville,TN

865 385-0170


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