How to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

Water damage is one of the most common, and costly, misfortunes your home can suffer. In fact, homeowners and renters across the country lose billions of dollars because of it each year.

But you’re not powerless. There are plenty of simple tactics you can use to stay snug and dry no matter what nature—or your pipes—throw at you. In this post we’ll show you the best ways to protect your home from water damage.

Typical Causes of Water Damage

Water damage can happen any time water pools somewhere it’s not meant to be, whether that’s within a room or inside your walls or roof. There are several situations that can cause water damage in a home. These are some of the most common:

  • Severe storms, floods and other extreme weather.
  • Leaky or burst pipes.
  • Malfunctioning dishwashers or washing machines.
  • Cracks in your foundation or walls.
  • Roof damage, such as missing shingles or cracked flashing.
  • Drainage problems on your property.
  • Problems with your HVAC system.









What Are the Signs of Water Damage?

Water damage is obvious when it’s caused by a flood, but other causes are harder to spot. If you don’t know what to look for, it can be easy to miss until it becomes a major problem. Here are the usual signs of water damage in a home:

  • Peeling paint.
  • Warping of your floors.
  • A strong musty smell in a room.
  • Sagging in parts of your walls or ceiling.
  • Stains or discolored patches on walls or ceilings.
  • Water pooling in your yard after a storm.
  • Mold growth (which can look like dark discoloration) on any surface.

Now that you know the causes and signs of water damage, it’s time to learn how to prevent it.

5 Tips for Preventing Water Damage

1. Inspect Your Roof

After all, your roof is constantly exposed to sunlight and precipitation. If it begins to deteriorate, roof leaks can develop without you noticing. But you can stay ahead of water damage by inspecting your roof regularly — especially after big storms.

Use a pair of binoculars to look for any missing or broken shingles, cracked flashing or large debris on the roof.


2. Clean Your Gutters

Ensuring good drainage is essential to protecting your home from water damage. Poor drainage weakens your foundation, leading to cracks, uneven settling and pathways for water to find its way inside.

Man on Ladder Cleaning Gutters









How often should you clean your gutters?

You should clean your gutters at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. You should also throw in an extra cleaning after a big storm to remove wet leaves, branches and other debris that could be clogging up your gutters and downspouts.

How to Clean Gutters

  1. Begin cleaning near a downspout.
  2. Remove large debris (leaves, twigs, etc.) with a garden trowel or your hands (wear gloves!).
  3. Flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose.

Install Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are a device used to protect your gutters from leaves and other debris. There are many different types of gutter guards, including reverse curve, mesh and nylon. Prices vary depending on what kind you get and how many feet of gutters you need to cover.

3. Caulk and Seal Your Windows

Caulking and sealing your windows regularly is one of the easiest ways to protect your home from water damage. You can also apply caulking to bathtubs, ceiling fixtures, drains, faucets and other plumbing fixtures to keep water from seeping in where it doesn’t belong.

How to Apply Caulk

  1. Choose the right caulk: For a long-lasting seal, choose 100 percent silicon, which is permanently waterproof, flexible and shrink/crack-proof. Avoid using acrylic caulk, which can shrink and crack over time, leading to water seepage.
  2. Clean the surface: Remove old caulk and loose particles with a caulk-removing tool.
  3. Prepare the tube and seal: Insert the tube of caulk into a caulking gun and seal around cracks. Squeeze with even, consistent pressure to control the amount of caulk applied.
  4. Smooth the seal: After applying the caulk to the desired areas, use your finger or a caulk-smoothing tool to even out the bead.

4. Check Your Pipes

It’s a good idea to inspect all the pipes in your home at least once a year. Over time, pipes gradually corrode, rust, and decay, all of which can result in leaks. In severe cases, you could be facing a flood of water or raw sewage into your home, causing extensive—and expensive—damage. According to Ford a “failure to understand the required maintenance” often leads people to neglect their pipes.

Man Tightening Pipes With Wrench










Consider Installing an Emergency Pressure Release Valve

If you live in a cold climate, this could one day save you thousands of dollars and lots of hassle. By installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system, you’ll be able to quickly relieve the pressure caused by freezing pipes, thus preventing them from bursting.

5. Test Your Sump Pump

A sump pump is your first line of defense against basement flooding. They’re used to pump water that has accumulated in a sump basin away from a home to a municipal storm drain or dry well.

How to Test a Sump Pump

  1. Locate the exit pipe on the outside of your home where the sump pump directs water out of the basement. Inspect the pipe for damage and remove any clogs if necessary.
  2. Locate the sump pump in your basement and check that the electrical cord is still plugged into a functioning outlet.
  3. Remove the lid to the sump pump, if it has one, and clean out any debris.
  4. Pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the basin of your sump pump. Pour slowly until the pump turns on and begins to pump out water.

Now that you know how to protect your home from water damage, all you’ll need to worry about during the next heavy rain is remembering your umbrella on the way out the door. Need more home maintenance tips? Check out the Home Improvement section of our blog. Ever dealt with water damage? How did you fix the problem?


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Water is Seeping through the Floor

Water is Seeping through the Floor

The last thing a homeowner wishes for is to walk into their home only to realize they are standing in a puddle of water. Standing water throughout any part of your house can be both dangerous and costly to repair. Finding the source of the standing water can prove to be a nuisance. Is the water seeping through the floor? Or is it actually dripping rapidly from the ceiling?

The Dangers and Severity of Standing Water in your Home

Standing water is dangerous because of all of the electrical components that exist within the walls of your home. If enough water is present, there is a chance for electrocution and it can short out your electrical systems. Therefore it is necessary to have a licensed and trained electrician assure you that the electricity has been cut off from the home.  Additionally, depending on how long the water has been on the floor, it can cause severe water damagemold and mildew growth, destroy your drywall, and cause wood to warp. If lingering for too long, your flooring will be ruined regardless of it being wood, carpet or tile. The water can even cause the glue on the tiles to be destroyed. Ridding your home of mildew and mold can prove to be quite a task and often times means replacement of the floors. If you have wood floors the water can damage them so badly by creating a black in color finish if the water seeps in deep enough.  If the standing water comes from the floor then you know the water cut through the entire piece of wood. If not caught very quickly, there will be no chance of repairing the hardwood floor.

Another reason water seeping through the floors is such a serious issue is if you have a two story home or live in a multi-level apartment complex. The standing water can cause the flooring and sheetrock below to be compromised and it could collapse altogether. For this reason, a professional should scope out the situation before you enter freely if you do in fact live in a multi-level establishment.

It is crucial to act fast to salvage as much as you can of your flooring and your home altogether.

Step One:  Where is the Water Coming From?  Where is the Leak?

Time to investigate! Before you can repair the leak, you must stop the leak, and before you can stop the leak, you must find it. Water damage through the ceiling is somewhat common in Florida so your Sarasota home very well may have a leak somewhere in it. Again, many people think that standing water is due to it coming through the floor and while it might have, you must also check the ceiling. So first, look for any signs on the ceiling for water damage. This could be in the form of a wet spot, a stain, or perhaps even the leak itself. Check your entire ceiling, not just the surrounding area of the biggest water pool. The leak in the ceiling could be anywhere.


You should check your plumbing for any visible signs of leakage. You can start by looking around your toilets, under your sinks, and in the bath/shower. Leaking pipes often project a strange hollow, hissing sound. Listen carefully for this noise because if you detect it, it can lead you right to the source of the leak. Be sure to especially check the kitchen as there are many water sources and water pipes in that room.

If there are no signs of leaks in the ceiling or in any other the water sources throughout your home, the conclusion is assumed to be a leak under the floor. Begin by inspecting the floor as well as you can. This will be contingent on just how much water has accumulated. If at any point you notice a bulge in the flooring of your home, it is safe to say you have found the source of where the water is coming from as this is an indicator.

The next thing you can do is use the “check your water meter” method as suggested by With this you simply turn all of your water sources off so that the home is not using a single ounce of water. Then you check your water meter. Wait 2-3 hours and check the meter again. If the meter displays that you have used water at this point, then you know there is a leak in the home somewhere. Contrarily if the water meter has not moved then you know the water leak is coming from an outside source.

Step Two: Find a Way to Stop the Leak

If you prove the standing water is a result of a leak within the home, then you will need to quickly shut off the water source to the home. If you find the leak to be in a specific pipe then shut the water off to that pipe. Stopping the flow of water will at least prevent more water from escaping from the source. This can also allow some of the excess water to drain off.

If the meter did not prove the water leaking was from a pipe or other indoor source, turning off the water to the home will not affect it or stop it. Common causes are leaks in the ceiling or a crack in the exterior of the home which both permit water to enter. In these cases you will want to plug the problem right away if possible and then repair it immediately. The plug is temporary and intended to act as a band aide for the time being.

If the water is seeping up through the floor, it could be a result of insufficiently-sealed foundations or there could be cracks in the foundation floor.

Step Three: Dry Out your Home

The first step in drying out your home is to make sure the humidity in the room is not too high, the temperature is low, and the air is circulating. Utilizing box fans, ceiling fans and open windows (given that it is not hot and/or humid outdoors) are all good ideas. This will help remove the water vapor and will in turn fuel the process of drying the home.

You will want to remove any objects affected by the water leak. Whether you can salvage them or not you need to remove them right away. The items that can be dried and saved should be put in direct sunlight. This will speed the drying. You do not want any wet furniture to be left in the house for an extended period of time as it become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Remember that mold and mildew can bloom within 24-36 hours so this step is crucial.

Depending on the depth of the standing water you may want to utilize a wet vacuum to suck up the bulk of the water.  Note that regular vacuums are not equipped to hand water removal and using one for such can be very dangerous.  Once the water is at a minimum you can use a mop to soak up much of the remainder.

Step Four: Water Leak Prevention

Congratulations! You have found the leak, stopped it, and repaired it.  In an effort to prevent future leaks, you can have your pipes inspected by plumbers to be sure they are all remaining strong and are functioning correctly. Also, having your foundation and the exterior of your home inspected can be a good routine to check for cracks.

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Post-Water Damage Mould | Tips for Prevention

Post-Water Damage Mould | Tips for Prevention

When a home encounters flooding or water damage of any kind, special attention is required to prevent mould growth. Since mould thrives in wet environments and spores spread quickly and easily, the best way to avoid post-flood mould hazards is to hire a licensed water damage restoration firm to assist with cleanup.

To keep your home and everything in it safely protected, we’ve got tips to prevent post-water damage mould growth; read on to learn more!

Post-Water Damage Mould Growth

Dealing with water damage in your home is anything but easy, and often times, homeowners are left feeling stressed and helpless. While these feelings are perfectly normal, it is important to remember just how essential immediate water damage restoration is.

As soon as flooding or water damage is noticed, homeowners should contact a reliable water damage team to begin the restoration process. When water sits for longer than 48 hours, mould spores begin to inhabit the area. Once mould begins to grow, the only way to stop it is with the help of a mould remediation specialist.

Proper Water Damage Restoration

When certified water damage restoration technicians are contacted immediately after damage occurs, the team can get to work on the structural drying and dehumidification process to ensure that mould growth does not become an issue.

When mould is found, the water damage restoration team should notify the homeowner immediately and begin implementing a mould remediation plan to reverse the damage. If the water damage restoration team is not equipped, experienced, or licensed to perform mould remediation, an outside party or firm would need to be brought in to assess the situation and determine the next steps.

Mould Dangers

When mould spores are found in the home, it is crucial to understand the severity of the issue. While there are a variety of studies that outline the different side effects of mould exposure, long-term or high-level exposure is unhealthy for both humans and animals. Mould exposure suppresses the immune system and triggers a wide variety of health issues, including:

  • Cold & Flu Symptoms
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Eye & Skin Irritation
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Asthma Attacks

Types of Mould

While some categories of mould are more common than others, water damage attracts all types of mould spores, including:

  • Stachbotrys (Black Mould)
  • Cladosporium
  • Fusarium
  • Alternaria
  • Penicillium

Mould Safety

When post-water damage mould is found in the home, remember that it is a very common occurrence. To keep the space as safe as possible it is important to remember the following:

  • Never attempt to clean mould on your own.
  • Never stay in a space that has been contaminated by mould.
  • Always wear proper safety equipment in a mould-infested area.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms of mould exposure begin to surface.

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Mould causes in Toronto homes

As most homeowners and business owners know, mould removal is no fun. Although molud grows outside and actually serves a purpose, mould inside the home only causes health concerns for you and your house. The way that mould works is that it needs a food source (such as drywall, carpet, or wood), warmth, darkness, enough time to grow and of course, moisture. This mould is usually black mould (Stachybotrys), which can be dangerous to your health. To prevent this mould from coming into your home, it is important to know the causes and possible locations so you can stop it before it is too late.

Most usual mould causes

Flooding – When it comes to flooding, act fast. According to the American Red Cross, floods are the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Call Ibx Services emergency service to get help with water removal because mould is almost certain when it comes to flooding. When flooding occurs, homes are prone to extreme water damage and typically mould spawning within 24-48 hours of the flooding.

Pipe Leaks – This is a very common cause of mould. Be careful, most of the time these leaks are out of sight. Checking your pipes, especially in the tricky areas, will prevent mould from growing out of control.

Basements – Due to the lack of ventilation, increased amounts of moisture, or humidity compared to the rest of the house, the basement is a prevalent spot for mould. Keeping your basement well ventilated and making sure there’s no water or dampness will help prevent mould.

Condensation Areas  – Similar to inside your car, when warm air comes in contact with a cold surface, condensation occurs. These areas can become damp and attract mould. By adjusting the humidity in your home, you can avoid these areas and the damages that go with it.

Roof Leaks – Just like the condensation areas, roof leaks are wet areas that make for a mould’s dream home. When you see a water stain, don’t ignore it. Inspect your attic and roof to make sure water isn’t seeping into your home.

When it comes to mould, early detection is key. Make a commitment to inspect problem areas to prevent mould growth in your home. Read more about mould prevention in our article How to prevent mould tips from Ibx Services.

No matter the time Ibx Services has a 24/7 hotline you can call and stop mould damaging your home, health, and wallet.

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