Complete Guide to Water Damage Causes

Water damage is one of those things that people don’t think will be a significant problem – until it happens. Properties in the New York City area will always be susceptible to water damage, and when it happens, addressing the situation is essential.

The Main Causes of Water Damage

Water damage can happen due to natural disasters such as floods and severe storms or issues within your home. Any kind of water damage is dangerous, but pinpointing the leading cause can help you recover your property and personal belongings before it’s too late.

Let’s take a look at the main causes of water damage.

Roof Leaks

Roof leaks are one of the most common causes of water damage, and there are many reasons it happens. Severe storms could damage the integrity of your roof, but water damage usually occurs because there are some weaknesses within the roof itself.

While your roof might be strong structurally, as time goes on, it’s natural for the shingles and sealing around the vent pipes to begin to weaken. When this happens, your roof is more likely to let in the rain, which results in water damage.

As many people don’t necessarily notice their roof leaks (especially when you have an attic), mold growth is typical. Most homeowners have insurance, but dealing with the leak ASAP is essential because the damage to your home will only get worse.


Leaks In Dishwashers and Washing Machines

Dishwashers are invaluable for the average New York household – but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible! You’ll usually notice problems with your dishwasher because water will pool around the bottom of the appliance.

However, a dishwasher can also leak due to a worn-down door seal, air gaps, and faulty drainpipes under the sink. If your dishwasher displays signs of a leak, the damage could impact the walls of your cabinets and get into the floorboards.

Overflowing Sinks

Did you know that Americans waste 1 trillion gallons of water each year? The root cause of this waste is leaking kitchen and bathroom sinks. While a puddle of water on the floor might not seem like a big issue – there’s often a lot more damage beneath the surface.

Bathrooms are particularly vulnerable to leaks because they use an intricate piping system to ensure the toilet and shower can function correctly.

If you see water on your kitchen or bathroom floor, it’s essential to address it immediately – as water damage can turn into mold over 48 hours.

Sink Overflow

Overflowing Toilet/Damaged Sewer Lines

There’s no doubt that an overflowing toilet is one of the worst things a household can go through. Not only does it cause damage to your home, but the sewage backup creates a strong odor – and it’s dangerous for your health.

To avoid health issues, you should always contact a professional service because when the water in your property is brown or grey, it means you’re dealing with a combination of water and bodily fluids.

All areas of your property should be dried, cleaned, and sanitized to prevent infections. A water damage restoration company is the best solution for returning your home to its previous state.

Identifying & Evaluating Potential Water Damage Risk Areas

As you can see from the above section, there are plenty of water damage causes, but some are more noticeable than others.

If you want to have peace of mind that your home is safe and unlikely to be a breeding ground for excess moisture to become mold, it’s essential to know what to look out for.

Frozen Pipes

We all know that winters can be harsh in New York City. The temperature can drop to 20F during December, so frozen pipes are a common problem. 

In many cases, insulating your pipes can reduce the risks of them freezing over, but the lines are still vulnerable in severely cold temperatures. 

Water supply lines can go through garages, cabinets, crawl spaces, and attics, so if they freeze over and weaken, this will cause a leak. 

Sink Overflow
Sink Overflow

Vulnerable Appliances

Kitchen appliances are central to daily life, but many of them can also significantly contribute to water damage. By knowing which household appliances are most at risk, you can be on guard and reduce the chances of a leak.

We already covered dishwashers, but let’s look at other appliances.

Hot Water Heater Leaks

These heaters carry gallons of water, and while small and slow leaks happen, a rapid leak can cause significant damage to your home. It would help to shut off your water heater when you won’t be home and be vigilant for leaks.

Washing Machines

Your washing machine can have a small leak, quickly transforming into severe damage. When the pump, seal, gasket, or hose is damaged, it can result in significant plumbing issues, and you should call a specialist immediately.

Air Conditioning Ducts

While many people don’t think air conditioning ducts can result in water damage, they can cause significant issues. Even if only a few drops of water escape from these ducts, it will accumulate over time, causing water and structural damage.

Insulating your ducts and installing a dehumidifier can protect your property from excess moisture.


Refrigerators with water and ice dispensers are particularly susceptible to leaks, but water damage can still occur in refrigerators with no dispensers. As these appliances are always on, a small blockage in the drain line will cause water to accumulate under the device.

Failing to address the issue immediately can lead to standing water infiltrating the floor and walls. Calling a water damage restoration company ensures we can deal with the leak before it becomes a full recovery job.


Floodwater is dangerous for your home and your family. It carries a lot of hazardous substances, including:

  • Waste from animals and humans

  • Dead animals, including rats, mice, and snakes

  • Ash

  • Glass

  • Chemicals

  • Trash

The water will inevitably damage your home’s structural integrity and electrical wiring – quickly turning into mold. Floodwater is also hazardous to people because the objects in the water can cause injuries and electric shocks.

As floodwater also contains waste and dead animals, it’s easy to contract a range of diseases, which is why you must call a specialist company and do the following things while waiting for them to arrive:

  • Let the floodwater out wherever possible by opening doors and windows.

  • Wear gloves and waterproof boots.

  • Wash your hands immediately if you touch the floodwater.

  • Keep children and pets away from it.

  • Turn off your electric and water supply.

  • Throw away all food that touches the water (including covered and canned food).

As you won’t have the equipment to deal with the floodwater safely, we recommend you stay away from it and leave the floodwater clean-up process to the professionals.

Second Degree Water Damage

Most people think about the damage they can see and believe there will be no long-term issues when that water is removed. Unfortunately, second-degree damage often occurs from standing water, which can be worse than the original situation.

By knowing where to look for second-degree damage, you can reduce the risk of it causing: 


Mold spores thrive in damp conditions, and while some types aren’t hazardous, black mold grows easily, spreads quickly, and can create a range of symptoms.

Respiratory issues, rashes, and allergies are common. This type of mold also creates a musty smell which is difficult to remove.

Rotting Materials

Wood begins to rot when exposed to water, and your flooring could also incur damage. While carpets are replaceable, water in the floorboards can cause sinking.

Electrical Damage

If water gets into your electrical sockets, it can cause shocks and even fires in severe cases.


Rust and corrosion occur when water reacts with metal components such as pipes and studs. When this happens, they’ll become weaker and damaged.

Water Damage
fire and water damage restoration companies
Roof Leak

Your Ceiling Tiles Can Help You To Identify Water Damage

If you’re not sure whether water damage has occurred, your ceiling tiles could hold vital clues. In most cases, you’ll notice a change in color and signs of mold, which could be down to the following factors:

  • Leaky Roof – Weather and fault roofing can cause water leaks that show on your ceiling.

  • Faulty HVAC System – If your air conditioning units have leaks or excess condensation, it might create mold on the ceiling.

  • Plumbing Issues – Broken pipes begin to impact your ceiling tiles, and it’s common to notice mold spores and discoloration.


Removing Water to Prevent Mold & Structural Damage

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your home or office; water damage can be highly dangerous for any property.

While it’s always best to seek professional advice from a water damage restoration service, you can do the following things to slow down the effect of water damage.

Remove Standing Water

If you leave standing water, it will take too long to dry. So, it would be best if you tried to remove it yourself using a wet-dry vacuum or mop. However, a pump will be better if the standing water is excessive.

Increase The Airflow

High-powered fans and industrial air movers are great for reducing standing water. If you have one to hand, you should use it, but a remediation company can also dry the area for you.

Reduce Excess Moisture Buildup

Moisture and mold are perfect matches, and both encourage each other to thrive. However, you can reduce the moisture in your building by using a dehumidifier. Try to keep the moisture levels at 30% to 50% because anything above will quicken mold growth.

water damage queens
Basement Flood

When to Contact a Professional Water Damage Remediation Team

When there’s minor damage from a water leak, most people can handle it alone – as long as they follow the above steps.

However, even the smallest amount of excess water can result in mold growth and damage to your property – but calling a professional company can save you a lot of time and money on repairs.

At iFlooded Restoration, our technicians are fully certified in identification, remediation, and recovery – giving you the best possible service that completely resolves water damage.

We work across New York, handling remediation of both residential and commercial properties. Our team can help you remove any hazards associated with your water damage and get your property back to its previous state.

Remember, water damage can cause a host of illnesses, but working with a professional team means you can always rest assured that your family or employees, and customers will be safe.