Checking For Water Damage

Your home protects you from the elements, but heavy rains can weaken that protection. With a little maintenance and a lot of vigilance, it’s not hard to stay safe and dry.

Spring rainstorms are a fact of life in many areas of the country, and they help keep things green, even if they keep you inside. But when they get heavy, it’s time to start thinking about the potential impact all that water has on your home. The first step is finding and fixing any immediate problems as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then, you’ll want to take measures to prevent those problems from happening during the next downpour!

Where is all that rain going?
Your roof and gutters form a key line of defense for your home – and in a storm, they’re vulnerable, because so many things can damage them. Trees, hail, and other objects can create weaknesses that might lead to leaks in your roof, so check for missing shingles and other issues. And keep your gutters clear so all that water drains properly.

Are you checking everywhere?
Water dripping from the ceiling is hard to miss. Water in your crawl space, however, can easily go undetected because hardly anyone ever checks there. Don’t forget to look down there after a storm (or have a professional do it) to make sure everything is nice and dry. If you do see moisture, you’ll want to get it out with a sump pump as soon as possible.

And don’t just look up – another place to check is your home’s exterior, whether it’s siding, brick, or another material. Weak spots can be hard to see, so look at various times of the day in different lighting conditions.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed to keep the elements out, too.

What about around your property?
Storm water has to go somewhere, and if your property doesn’t drain well, or if runoff goes toward your foundation, you could have problems. So watch for patterns, and grade property so it drains away from your home if possible. Always be wary of hillsides and tilting trees after heavy storms, because the land might not be stable.

And don’t forget to keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris. This can prevent flooding both on the streets and your own property.

What should you do during the storm?
During powerful storms, stay inside. This is not the time to check your roof, your exterior, or your property unless there’s an emergency and you know it’s safe to go out. Monitor your interior, making sure no water is getting in. If it is, do what you can to alleviate the situation in the moment, even if it means just placing something under a leak to collect the water. For more serious problems, though, remember that safety is the most important thing. If your basement is flooding, for example, don’t go down there – you could be trapped and even drown.

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Kitchen Leaks

Not long ago, we discussed the potential damage a slow leak can cause when not repaired. Pictured below shows that exact case in point.  A leak under the sink that went undetected for some time, and then when it was finally noticed wasn’t taken too seriously caused this finished kitchen to become unfinished.  Mold and water damage rotted the backs of cabinets and drywall, while also grew on appliances, all of which needed to be removed and structurally dried.

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Repairing an S-Trap

A J-trap is also commonly known as a P-trap, S-trap or S-bend. This is the U-shaped pipe under a sink that keeps sewer gases from entering your home. The terms are interchangeable, and parts may be labeled one or the other. Common problems with a J-trap include leaking, misalignment or breakage. All of these problems can be repaired with a little do-it-yourself experience.

  1. Inspect the J-trap for misalignment. The pipes in the trap will be attached sideways, hanging low or possibly even disconnected. Reconnect the pipes by unscrewing the lock nuts with an adjustable pliers and sliding them back together. Many J-traps are connected with compression nuts that squeeze compression washers around the pipe. The nuts need to be tightened firmly to make positive contact between the washer and the pipe. By doing that, the pipes will stay in place and aligned.
  2. Check the connections and the washers for leaks. Unless the J-trap is damaged, virtually all leaking will come from either a badly fastened joint or a broken washer. Cross-threaded compression nuts will leak whether there is a washer in place or not. Remove the compression nuts on the J-trap and check the washers before rethreading the nuts back onto the pipe. If any washer is broken, frayed or bent, it needs to be replaced. Slide it back into place on the pipe and carefully thread the compression nut into place. It must not cross-thread. If it cross-threads repeatedly, you will need to replace the nut because the threads have been damaged.
  3. Check the integrity of the J-trap pipe. Most PVC pipes will remain solid, but metal pipes may corrode and begin to leak. Feel the bottom of the trap for either water or a soft spot in the metal. If it leaks, the only repair is to replace the J-trap itself by turning the compression nuts counterclockwise and removing it. If possible, replace the pipe with PVC. Adapters are available at hardware stores. A PVC pipe will never corrode and will save you a replacement hassle in the future.

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Water Damage in Cherry Hill NJ

An overflow from a second floor bathroom caused a leak in the first floor kitchen and dining room and even traveled to the basement damaging the entire rug.  These are the before pictures prior to the removal, cleaning and structural drying.