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How to spot water intrusion in your home and what to do once you find it


Most leaks in homes go undetected and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. When it comes to your home, water intrusion is one of the most common, costly and destructive things that can happen. Mold can start growing within 24-48 hours of a leak showing up and can cost between $5,000-15,000 to repair! My name is Bill Daniel. I am a licensed home inspector and owner of Hound Dog Home Inspections. I have experience in construction and a background in engineering. In this post, I am going to tell you how to spot water intrusion in your home and what your options are should you come across it.

Water intrusion is notoriously hard to spot without thermal imaging, however there are definitely some telltale signs that you can look for that can alert you to the presence of a leak. These signs include:

1. Water spots on ceiling or walls

2. Wet carpets

3. Musty smell

4. Swelling, cupping, or gaps in your hardwood floors

5. Cracks or changes in exterior stucco

6. Baseboards coming away from walls slightly

7. Temperature changes in walls

8. Changes in the paint on your walls

These aren't the only signs of water intrusion. In fact, there are too many to list. A general rule of thumb is if you suspect you might have a leak, odds are you probably do. So, what are your options once you think you might have found a leak? Well, you have a few to choose from.

The first option you have is to call a contractor. While most contractors offer free quotes, I do not usually recommend this option. The reason for this is that somebody has to pay for that contractor to come give that free quote, and that person is usually the customer. Contractors are like mechanics. Some are honest, but you have no way of telling which ones are and people fall victim to contractors selling them expensive services, up-sells, and add-ons that they never needed everyday.

The second option you have is to do internet research to determine what you need to do to solve the leak, but the internet is generally a mess of unreliable information.

The last option you have is to hire an expert who is an expert in water intrusion, but does not sell the repair. This way, you can get an unbiased, expert opinion on your problem and have the ability to call around to contractors (if you even need them) and compare prices. This way you can have all the information to avoid getting sold something you don't need.

We do offer Water Intrusion Inspections at Hound Dog Home Inspections. You can learn more about them here if you'd like.

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