Discovering Water Leak Damage In Pre-Purchase Building and Pest Inspections | Total Inspections
Hi, Michael here of Total Inspections on the Gold Coast.
If I had to pick one common problem from doing pre-purchase building and pest inspections from Ballina to Brisbane it would be that water damaged taps and leaks lead to significant issues and can be a BIG expense for homeowners and commercial property owners.
What types of BIG problems and expenses can water cause?
Well, it’ll cause severe damage to your walls, floors, and foundations for starters.
Showers that have yet to become sealed will leak water internally with the water getting into wall cavities and in most cases result in rot.
What’s worse, those water leaks and damages can go unnoticed for years without you being none the wiser.
Some symptoms of water damage from leaking taps, baths, showers, or another water source could be:
- Warping in your ceiling, walls and floors
- Damage to your carpet and furniture
- Moisture or condensation in a room above or below
- Mould or musty odour that smells like a wet dog
- An excessively high-water bill
- Tiles lifting
The extent of water damage was illustrated when Chubb launched its latest Insight Report – Get Smart about Water Leaks.
It highlighted a 72% rise in the size of property-related claims by Australian homeowners due to internal water damage over the last five years – the average water damage claim has leapt from $17,627 in 2014 through to $30,361 last year.
Now, water damage is making up 34% of all of Chubb Australia’s property-related claims – so Insurance Business reached out to Michelle O’Dowd, underwriting manager, Australia and New Zealand, personal lines, at Chubb, to find out what’s going on.
“There are a couple of key reasons for the increase in water damage claims in Australia,” she explained.
“Firstly, modern living requires more plumbed-in appliances using Flexi hoses, more bathrooms and laundries on upper levels of homes and more open-plan living spaces.
The typical manufacturer’s warranty on a Flexi hose (plastic tube with steel braid around it) is ten years, so replacement should take place within this time by a licensed plumber.
“And secondly, homeowners commonly focus on protecting their homes against fire and theft through locking devices, alarms systems and smoke detectors, while there is far less focus on protecting homes from water damage.”
So what can you do to check your home or business for water leaks?
Okay, whether you’re having a pre-purchase building and pest inspection or not start with the basics.
Walk around and check you do not have any leaking taps in or out of your home or business. If you do, organise your landlord or a licensed plumber to fix them for you.
Next, check your Flexi hoses.
These are the hoses that connect toilets and sinks. They also have a habit of leaking. Or worse, bursting (that of which you’ll know about!)
If your Flexi hoses are showing signs of fraying or weak spots, replace them ASAP.
Check the fittings and pipes connected to the wall and the and surrounding areas too. Checking the fittings is something homeowners, landlords, and even a small majority of licensed pest and building inspectors miss due to inexperience.
Another great tip to minimise water damage is to turn off all your water mains if you’re planning on being away from home for a long while.
When it comes to water leak detection
– prevention is better than the cure!
With years of experience providing pre-purchase building and pest inspections from Ballina to Brisbane that includes water leaks and detection, the most common thing we see in our checks are showers not sealed correctly.
Incorrectly sealed showers can result in internal leaks and the water soaking into your wall cavities, causing rot and ultimately hurting the foundational structure. Plus it’ll significantly depreciate the sale value of your property now and when you go to sell it.
Our pre-auction and pre-purchase building inspections involve the following:
- Moisture meters to determine the level of moisture in the building materials, which may indicate rising damp or water leaks
- Thermal imaging cameras are used to detect the slight temperature variations that termites or other pests give out. Termi-track movement detector can check for movement inside wall cavities or floor spaces. Thermal imaging cameras can detect slight temperature variation to assist with leak detection or air leakage.
- Laser technologies to assess the floors and walls level to check if the building is showing signs of subsiding.
- The inspection will also evaluate visual defects and functional operation of the building’s fixtures.
- Assess structural elements and non-structural elements in the sub-floor areas, external of the buildings, roof space areas and internal of the premises if access is available
- If the roof linings or outer walls are inaccessible, a drone can be used to assess the condition of these elements at an additional cost.
- All Total Inspections’ pest and pre-existing building inspections are carried out as per Australian regulations and standards.