Within the US, 98% of basements experience water damage at least once.

Water damage can happen in any home, and while it may not seem like a major issue, it can quickly become one. If left unchecked, even a small leak can cause a lot of damage. It’s best to deal with any issues as early as possible so that you don’t end up having to make large, costly repairs.

Keep reading for a rundown of the early signs of water damage.

Dark Spots or Water Stains

This is one of the most common early signs of water damage in homes. These tend to appear when you have a slow plumbing leak, which can be hard to detect. These leaks might only drip when an appliance such as the shower or toilet is in use.

Dark spots and water stains can appear almost anywhere, so keep an eye out for them around your home. Dark spots generally indicate recent damage, while light, chalky stains tend to come from older damage.

Peeling, Bubbling, or Cracking Walls and Ceilings

Excess moisture in a wall or ceiling can damage the paint or wallpaper. When paint bubbles or peels, it’s usually because the inside of the wall is wet. Cracks are more commonly a sign that a wall is repeatedly getting wet and drying out.

This can be caused by humidity, but it’s more often due to leaks. In bad cases, this can lead to water structure damage, so you want to take care of things as soon as possible.

Mold Growth

No one wants mold in their home, but if there’s a consistent source of moisture, it will likely start to grow. It’s typically blotchy in appearance and can grow from a stain to a kind of fuzz over time. You can clean it with bleach, but it will come back if you don’t deal with the source of the issue.

Mold can appear anywhere but typically grows faster in dark, damp environments. It can vary in color and may pose health risks, so it’s important you deal with it quickly.

Damp or Musty Smells

This is an issue that you don’t need to see to notice, so you may be able to detect it more easily. Water damage has a smell that may remind you of wet newspaper/cardboard. You’re more likely to notice it when closer to the source as the smell will be stronger.

If you notice it more after it rains, it’s probably an external leak. If the smell is more consistent, then it’s likely a plumbing issue.

Higher Water Bills

You’re likely to use a similar amount of kitchen and bathroom water each month, so if you notice your bills increasing unexpectedly, it may be because of a leak. Even a relatively small leak can let a lot of excess water out over a long time, which will cause your bills to go up.

Dealing With Water Damage

Water damage is always an issue, but the longer you leave it, the worse it will get. You want to deal with things quickly to minimize the cost of any repairs that your home needs.

ServiceMaster Restore is a leading water damage repair company. Whether you’ve got just a small leak or a flooded home, we’ll be able to help. To find out more, head over to our water restoration services page.