Does Water Damage Happen Immediately? Fast Expert Answers

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Water damage happens in many, many ways. Overflowing toilets and sinks, malfunctioning water heaters, burst or leaking plumbing, leaking appliances, and flooding are just a few. But no matter what kind of water-related incident you’ve recently had to deal with, your first question is likely, “Does water damage happen immediately? How fast do I need to act?”

We’re Cleaner Guys, a professional water damage restoration company with more than 20 years of experience. We’re going to answer this question and more in this guide to the first things you need to know about water damage.

Table of Contents

Does Water Damage Happen Immediately?

Yes, unfortunately, water damage can happen almost immediately after a water-related catastrophe — usually within the first 24 hours. Water damage can even begin as early as an hour after the incident, depending on the amount of water involved. For example, a flood that leaves inches of water on the floor will likely cause water damage much earlier than 24 hours. Conversely, a small, slow, dripping leak from a pipe may take longer than 24 hours to actually cause damage.

How Do You Tell If Water Damage Is Serious?

All water damage and all signs of water damage should be treated as serious, because water damage of any amount can cause mold. Mold causes mold sickness, which can cause extreme reactions in some. Knowing the signs of water damage is important, and observation of any signs of water damage should be acted upon immediately, as though it is already serious.

Signs of water damage in walls can include brown or grey stains that look like coffee stains, bubbling, peeling, or cracking drywall, and musty odors (that would be the mold.) Click here to see all the signs of water damage in walls. Signs of water damage in flooring, particularly wood flooring, can include staining, bowing, warping, and more. Click here for all the signs of water damage in wood flooring.

What Should I Do Immediately After Water Damage?

If you’re dealing with water damage, you should immediately call a plumber (if applicable) and then a water damage restoration company. If you are able to stop the source of the water yourself, then just call a water damage restoration company. They are the ones who can dry out the area the fastest. That means they’re the ones who will save you the most money. They prevent the damage from spreading and mold from growing.

After calling a plumber (if applicable), a water damage restoration company, and your insurance company, you should immediately do your best to begin soaking up the water and drying the area. The longer the water sits, the higher the chances of mold growth and greater damage.

Do I Need a Water Damage Restoration Company?

You need a water damage restoration company if you’re dealing with a burst pipe, overflowed toilet or sink, flood, or any type of major water incident. You usually won’t need a water damage restoration company if the water incident is very small, like accidentally spilling some water on the floor.

This is because if the water incident is small enough that you can mop up all the water in just a couple of minutes, it’s not going to have time to soak into the floor or drywall. On the other hand, if the water incident is larger, like an overflowed toilet, or has been going on for a long time, like a pipe that’s been leaking for months, then the water will probably have had hours to soak into the floor and drywall. Those sorts of incidents need a professional to dry them out completely, determine if any material is unsavable and needs to be removed, and mitigate any mold growth.

More Resources

If your water damage is from a burst pipe, read this guide next for more details on dealing with that specific kind of water damage!

Need to know if your water damage is covered by insurance? Read our guide to water damage and insurance here.

Suffering water damage in an apartment? Read this guide on how to deal with your landlord, and more!

Wondering how to choose the right water damage restoration company for you, who will be trustworthy and honest? Read our guide on vetting the right service company here!

A photo of a few members of the Cleaner Guys team, ready to help you with water damage!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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