Of course it is a given that water damage can occur anywhere, and at any time, but it is also a given that certain rooms in your home may be more prone to damage than others. These would include your bathroom, washer/dryer room, and your kitchen.
The reasons are obvious; all of these rooms make use of both incoming and outgoing water pipes, either one of which may cause problems if they malfunction in any way. The humidity level may also be noticeably higher in these rooms, which provides the perfect staging area for mold and mildew. For our purposes today, we will concentrate on the kitchen.
In any case of water damage, the best defense is always a good offense, and there are steps you can take to cut down on the damage that water can inflict on your kitchen.
Firstly, check for signs of moisture under your refrigerator, dishwasher, and sink. Obviously the sink will be the easiest to check, but take the time to move and inspect the areas under and around the other appliances. The sink is most likely to suffer from water damage, as it is utilized and exposed to running water several times each day. Feel around pipes, hoses, and connections for any sign of moisture. Even a small amount should be a warning sign.
Even if the pipes are dry, you should look for evidence of water leaking in the immediate vicinity. Water stains on the wood are very obvious and a dead giveaway. You should then run water through the pipes to see if you can determine exactly where the leak is originating.
Any connecting hoses should be replaced every couple of years or so to prevent them from getting brittle and subsequently springing leaks.
Remember to check the filter in your dishwasher from time to time. Didn’t know your dishwasher had a filter? That’s okay, it slips by most people, and you are aware of it now, so…. The filter can become clogged and backed up over time. Once it begins to show signs of age, replace it. This will not only prevent damage to the flooring beneath, but it will keep your dishwasher performing at peak efficiency.
Perform the same inspection on your refrigerator. Most people don’t suspect that their fridge might be a source for water damage, but they do have water lines running in and out of them (assuming you’ve joined the new millennium and have a fridge that makes ice and dispenses water). Even if they don’t, the temps generated by refrigerators and freezers can result in condensation around and under the unit. If not properly treated, this can grow into a more severe problem.
You may also want to consider replacing the factory standard hoses on all kitchen appliances with steel braided hoses. These last longer and are much more resistant to wear and tear and the leaks that generally accompany them. Some people don’t realize how bad their hoses are until they break. The rubber hoses normally used to carry water to your kitchen appliances wear out form the inside. The outside always looks pristine, but the inside is wearing pretty thin and it’s a ticking time bomb that’s about to go off in your home.
You should also inspect and maintain the exhaust fans in your kitchen, as they are one of the primary methods by which humidity levels are maintained. If they get clogged up or malfunction, it can raise the level of humidity in your kitchen, as well as provide a dark, secluded place for mold to get a foothold.
Check your drains every now and then and keep them unclogged and free of debris. Not only will your kitchen smell better, but it will keep mildew and mold from gaining a foothold.
Of course for any water damage problems, contact your local Clean Trust certified water restoration professional.