Every area of the country struggles with water damage to homes. Some of the issues are similar, resulting from plumbing leaks, spills, and appliance malfunctions. Rain and exterior flooding threaten most locations, but the frequency and seasonal patterns vary. Other differences in the way water intrudes arise depending on the climate and the topography.
In New England, homeowners experience water damage most frequently as an in-home flooding issue. A water heater ruptures or the dishwasher overflows. The water must evacuate completely and then the structures and fixtures affected require a thorough drying. If any water manages to become trapped under cabinets or between and behind walls, the risk of secondary damage rises. Metals and wood deteriorate, and composite materials like drywall or chipboard dissolve. Even a bit of moisture supports mold growth. Special scanning equipment and moisture meters help trained water damage technicians find and eradicate leftover pools and puddles.
During the warm seasons of the year, rain is an outside invasion culprit, making its way into a New England home via loose roof shingles or flashings. The waves of heavy rains seen this fall saturate the ground and seep into homes right through cinder block, stone, or concrete foundations. Moisture measurement and monitoring again is key in drying out areas after pumps and extractors have completed their jobs.
As leaves fall, the glorious colors of our deciduous forests a trademark of the New England region, gutters and downspouts clog. Without maintenance to correct this problem, rain and soon sleet and snow have no outlet except to push under the shingles and soak into the rafters.
As the weather grows colder, the water in the gutters freeze. If the home’s walls and roof underlay are not sealed and insulated, warm air from the house leaks out and starts a thaw and freeze cycle that creates ice dams. This serious problem damages not just the upper stories, but the also the rest of the home as the moisture drains down.
The cold weather also causes another water damage headache — frozen pipes. Pipes that run through exterior walls in cold climates can freeze solid, particularly if a home’s temperature is kept low to save energy or because residents leave for a time. The material making up the pipe may crack, causing leakage when the water flows again as the temperature increases. When temperatures are below freezing outside it is important to keep the indoor temperatures at least 60 degrees or above. Outdoor faucets should not be attached to water-filled hoses which, when frozen, push the expanding ice into the home’s plumbing, threatening to damage them.
Whatever the reason for water damage in a New England home, the real risk is delaying getting help. Water damage worsens for every passing minute unabated. Local water damage remediation specialists with IICRC training understand the unique circumstances of our area and are well positioned to help if a water loss occurs.