How to Fix Water Damage Under the Sink
No one likes to be surprised by an unpleasant, wet mess under the sink. Yet it happens on a regular basis to homeowners. They open the doors to the cabinet in their kitchen, only to smell the telltale scent of musty mildew. Or they walk into their bathroom and discover a puddle that leads them straight to the vanity. It’s enough to make you wish for days when water was hauled up from the well with buckets … well, sort of.
Truth be told, we all appreciate the value and advantages of indoor plumbing and just-in-time hot and cold tap water. Still, it’s frustrating when pipes leak, sinks rust and we’re left with excess moisture where we least need it. When you find yourself in this troubling situation, remember you are still in control. Just follow a few simple rules of thumb, and you’ll be past this maddening episode before you know it.
Turn Off Any Electricity, If Needed
Most of the time, water damage under the sink isn’t going to be affected by electricity. However, it’s always good to check. Before touching any standing water with your hand, be sure there are no electrical outlets or electrical conduits in the proximity. If there are, turn off the electric supply to those areas.
Mop up the Water
Obviously, you want to get rid of all that water as soon as you can. Standing water doesn’t just attract mold. It can also be a beacon to critters and insects. Plus, it can rot away wood very rapidly. If the water is minimal, a few rags will be all you need. Make sure you don’t wring them out in the sink, though. If the sink is leaking, the water will simply go back under the cabinet.
If your puddle of water is doing a decent imitation of an indoor swimming pool, you may want to rent a wet vac unless you have one handy.
Find the Leak and Fix It
Not sure where the water came from in the first place? Put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and do a bit of sleuthing. The problem could be a leak in a pipe. Alternatively, the sink itself could be the issue. After wiping up your watery mess as much as you can, turn the water on at the faucet. Let a little flow out, and see if it drips underneath the sink.
Turn Off the Water Supply
When you find the leaking culprit, you may want to turn off the water supply to the sink. That way, either you or a professional plumber can fix the situation. Not sure where your water supply valve is? Call the plumber right away. It’s better than waiting for hours and being unsure what to do next.
Dry Out Any Wood Under the Sink
Use fans, if possible, to completely dry out the wood under the sink. This helps inhibit mold growth in new leaks. However, if your leak has been going on for a while, you might need to actually rip up the wood or get someone else to do it for you. Rotten, moldy wood isn’t just an eyesore. It’s a health hazard. You’ll need to contact a professional, as you cannot fully remediate mold issues without the proper tools, techniques and know-how.
Make Plans for a Drier Future
After you have successfully dried out and fixed your sink, pipes and anything that was damaged, be sure to put plans in place to avoid future surprises. Every now and then, open the cabinets under your sinks, especially sinks that are used infrequently, such as in the basement. The faster you catch a potential problem, the less it can ruin your day … or your property.
At the first sign of plumbing issues or mold spores, make a call to a company like ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park.
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