8 Moisture Warning Signals in Your Home

Prevention is better than Cure

1. Dark Patches
2. Peeling off or other paint deterioration
3. Damp and Musty Odour
4. Visible water stains or Discolouration
5. Gatherings of Pests
6. Visual leaks
7. Condition of wooden furniture
8. Health Symptoms

Homes are supposed to protect us from the harmful things from outside like water, wind, and extreme temperatures. But sometimes, however, our homes fail to serve its purpose and moisture enters into our house.

As a homeowner, moisture is one of the most common and annoying problems you can face. Moisture / Dampness in buildings is a major factor that contributes to mould growth, unhealthy buildings, and poor indoor air quality. Moisture is one of the most important agents of building deterioration.

Moisture Intrusion is an often-unseen problem lurking in many homes. A little excess water in the wrong place can cause many other problems, such as mould growth, pest infestations, weakened building structures and unhealthy living conditions.

In many cases, moisture problems in houses or buildings are easy to get missed until they have progressed to the point of despair.

“Prevention is better than cure”. Early detection of these problems is significant for minimizing the extent and cost of the damage. But, how can you identify a moisture problem at the earliest?

Let us go through warning signs of moisture that homeowners should be on the lookout for:

1. Dark Patches in Home Elements

One of the most common signs of water-related problems in any structure is the appearance of dark patches in walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. As water seeps into building materials, it tends to cause them to look visibly dark.

Homeowners can often find these dark patches in ceilings after a heavy storm which indicates source of moisture can be in roof or sometimes due to floor / unit above if there is a leaky pipe there.

2. Peeling off or other paint deterioration on the surface finish

High humidity levels can cause wallpaper or paint finish to peel from the wall. Too much moisture behind the walls can eventually cause paint and wallpaper to start peeling or bubbling. If you see wallpaper or paint peeling or even protruding out like a bubble, it could indicate a moisture problem. Sometimes airborne moisture vapour gets behind the wallpaper and mixes with the glue, causing it to peel. Peeling off paint is mainly caused by moisture on the surface, poor surface preparation, using an incorrect painting method. Other paint deterioration like cracking or blistering paint on exterior or interior finishes can also happen due to these reasons.

3. Damp and Musty Odour

One of the most common signs of a moisture problem is the presence of strong, musty odour. This sign is a strong indicator that there is water damage somewhere nearby – possibly in the building materials hidden from your direct view. If you have a persistent, musty, damp smell in your bathroom, even after repeated cleanings, you may have moisture-related problem in the walls and subfloor. If a proper ventilation system does not help, you probably have a moisture build-up below the surface of walls or the floor. This odour is often caused by bacteria and mould growth that feeds on the excess moisture in a dark, cool space.

4. Visible Water Stains or Discolouration

A water stain will form a dark yellowish colour on your ceiling in a slightly deformed shape. This yellowish colour will soon turn into brown colour, and in fact, it may even start off sometimes as brown colour right at the beginning. It can be the symptom of a much larger problem and this is something that you should look into immediately. Some common causes of Water Stains on Ceilings are leaking pipes, leakage from roof and water seeping from upper unit / floor areas.

Stains or Discolouration can be prevented by reducing the accumulation of moisture in the wall / ceiling. Yellow, brown or black stains etc on your walls are signs of water damage from behind them.

5. Gatherings of Pests

Water is a necessity for life – and pests like ants, cockroaches, rodents, termites are no exception. As the humidity rises in your home, pests such as these will migrate inside your home, where they will begin to reproduce. A sudden increase in the presence of pests could be an indirect indication that there is a suitable source of water in your home. Of course, other nutrient sources, such as open food containers, exposed trash bins, and the like can also attract pests.

6. Visual leaks

Water is the enemy of every home. Being a homeowner, if you find unwanted water in your home, you should make every effort to find the root cause as quickly as possible. You need to do periodical visual checks of moisture / leakage / seepage in the home and get them repaired. Some leaks can be easily found by visual checking whereas, some leaks are concealed inside wall / structure.

7. Check the condition of wooden furniture

Damaged wood is a classic sign of elevated moisture levels. Because wood is porous, it absorbs moisture from the affected area as well as from the air as humidity levels change. This will cause the wood to swell and shrink with the changes. Check the integrity of wood by lightly pressing it. If it is soft, you know it has weakened from moisture damage.

8. Health Symptoms

One of the most annoying problems of moisture is its effect on our health. Common human health hazards associated with moisture / dampness in home include: respiratory (nasal and throat) symptoms, Asthma symptoms in sensitized persons with asthma, Cough, Wheeze, Allergies, Skin Diseases etc. People often ignore these important visual signs of moisture, but it can be harmful for your health.

Understanding and Detecting the Moisture Problem

If you have spotted one of the signs above, then it is important to understand about moisture problem and know the actual source of it. For that, you need professional help who will use moisture meter1 and advanced thermal imaging technology which can detect hidden / concealed leaks in the structure and give you long term – least destructive – low cost solutions.

If you feel your home has a moisture problem, you should take immediate action to solve it. Ignoring these signs will only make the problem progressively worse.

Apart from this, it is advisable to get a moisture / damp inspection before spending on costly waterproofing treatment or other related repair works.

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