The Negative Effects of Water Damage

Even though water is a precious commodity that sustains all life on earth, you should not discount its destructive power. Especially when it is in large amounts.

Water can wreak havoc on your property- including your home and business- posing a danger to your health. Water damage is risking the health of your loved ones as well.

So, what are the effects of water damage? Is water damage harmful to your health?

There are 3 major effects of water damage.

  1. Damaged materials, systems, and appliances
  2. Aggressive mold growth
  3. Contamination from black water

Is Water Damage Harmful?

Generally, water damage is very harmful to your health. With mold growth being one of the most harmful effects of water damage, you should always watch out for it.

When you let mold grow in your home, it puts you and your entire family at risk of experiencing breathing problems. You are also likely to get infections and other allergic reactions.

Having looked at the definition of water damage, we now have a clear scope of what the term refers to. We have also seen the common causes of water damage inside your home. However, we still do not know the level of destruction water is capable of.

Through its destructive processes, water can easily attack your household, destroying its materials and systems. It can also lead to massive losses on your property by destroying the valuable items you keep inside your home.

Most effects of water damage are well-known since they are visible to the naked eye. You can easily notice stains on your ceilings or walls.

However, other detrimental effects of water damage are not very easy to identify or tell. Instead, they are only felt by the occupants of the affected household.

This article outlines some of the most common effects of water damage.

We will explore the effects of water damage to your home separately from the effects of water damage on occupants’ health. Meaning, we will look at how water can damage your home. And, its impact on the health status of your home’s occupants as two separate entities.

To start with, this article mainly focuses on the effects of water damage on your home.

We will go through some of the common items that can easily be affected by water damage in your home. And, this will help you in 2 major ways:

  1. It will put you in a good position to store your valuable items appropriately. Thus, minimize the losses that are likely to occur due to water damage.
  2. You will know what to look for when trying to assess the impact of water damage after it has occurred.

The Most Common Effects Of Water Damage

Overall, water can cause extensive damage to your home. The kind of damage that can have you spend thousands of dollars seeking proper repair and restoration to your household.

Most of these damages are also harmful to your health. And, you should always be on the lookout to deal with them the right way- from their onset.

Damaged material, systems, and appliances in your household

Water can completely destroy everything found inside your home, rendering all the systems, appliances, and items useless. You’ll have to get expensive repairs done when trying to restore your home to its original healthy state.

Quite often, you’ll see that some valuable items cannot be restored to their previously useful state. So, you are forced to suffer the loss of such items. And, incur new costs of replacing them at the same time.

The effects of water damage can be seen and felt on several items in your home. We will discuss most of them. So you can be aware of how water attacks and destroys different items found in your home.

Hopefully, this will guide you to adopt safe ways of storing things inside your house at all times. Thus, preventing major losses in case of water damage.

Floor coverings

Your floor coverings are at high risk of getting destroyed by water. Depending on the magnitude of the water damage that has taken place.

Most homeowners end up replacing their floor coverings completely.

Carpets soak up a lot of water and are often very difficult to restore. Also, any foam rubber backing may soak up a lot of water rendering your laminated floor coverings useless.


Excessive water leads to severe cracking and warping on plaster.

It (plaster) also takes too long to dry out completely since it’s made from thick material. Because of this, water damage on your plaster can extend to other parts of your household.

For most cases, you’ll have to replace the plaster inside your home as soon as possible. Avoid any serious damages that may extend to other parts of your home.

Wallboard and drywall

Your drywall and wallboard are made of a porous, sponge-like material. As a result, they are vulnerable to extensive water damage since they can easily soak up water.

Wallboard and drywall restoration is quite difficult. And often, they remain contaminated even after they’ve been dried out completely. Therefore, they are a great risk to your health and overall wellness.


The effects of water damage on your home’s insulation depend on the type of insulation you have installed. Water damage’s effects on cellulose insulation are very different from the same effects of fiberglass insulation.

As a result, the way you deal with these damages on each type of insulation is also different.

For example, you can remove and replace cellulose insulation made from blow-in-treated paper. However, you’ll have to completely throw out muddy fiberglass batts.


The effects of water damage on your house appliances are always severe and costly.

Most, if not all, of your electrical appliances, get shorted out when water damage occurs. Because of this kind of damage, your appliances can leak harmful gases into the air.

These gases affect the quality of the air you breathe inside your home. Specifically, they lower the quality of the air you breath indoors. Which, in turn, affects your physical, emotional, and even mental health state- negatively.

Also, it is important to note that the harmful gases released by faulty appliances might be explosive. Therefore, be very keen when handling water-damaged household appliances.

Electrical wiring and pipes

Water has the power to strip electrical wiring and break any pipes in your home.

Laminated wood and particleboard

The material of particle boards weakens and separates easily when wet. The same thing happens on laminated wood. You can always tell, very clearly, when the material on your laminated wood or particleboard separates.

Solid wood

The most common effects of water damage on solid wood, including your furniture, are warping and cracking.

Framing and wood studs

These solid pillars get contaminated when water attacks and destroys your household’s interior. Usually, they become okay when dried out completely.

But, always remember to disinfect them to completely reduce or eliminate any contamination.

Heating, Ventilation & Air conditioning (HVAC) system

Water can seep into your HVAC system, damaging all of its internal electrical systems. And, extinguishing the pilot light.

Your HVAC system can also become muddy and contaminated. This is dangerous because different contaminants get to other parts of your home when blown through the air.

Effects of water damage on your HVAC system are severe. They reduce the system’s efficiency, leaving your home vulnerable to other types of damage, including mold growth.

Aggressive Growth of Mold

Aggressive Growth of Mold

Mold growth is one of the most difficult effects of water damage to deal with.

It is also the most unsightly water damage effect that modifies your indoor environmental quality significantly.

Largely, mold growth on any part of your home changes how the entire place looks, smells, and feels. This affects your emotions, mood, and your entire outlook on life.

Also, mold can be toxic and very harmful to your physical health.

To summarize, you are likely to experience breathing problems, severe allergic reactions, and infections from having mold in your home. Because, it changes the conditions of the surrounding air completely.

The growth of mold in your home is the last thing you’d want to be dealing with. Trust me on this one. In addition to the harmful effects on your health and your family, it is very expensive to get rid of mold successfully.

If you do not respond to it fast enough, it will grow rampantly, spreading to other parts of your home. And, in most extreme cases, mold can certainly take over your entire household making it un-inhabitable.

You put yourself at risk of incurring massive losses to your property every time you let mold grow inside your home. Mold can grow on anything and everything while damaging the entire structural integrity of your house.

Literally, mold can destroy all your belongings, including your clothes and your children’s toys. And, quite often, aggressive mold growth leads to entire structures being condemned and declared unfit for humans to stay in.

Mold growth is a significant effect of water damage that you should always pay close attention to. For you to understand this topic practically. One that will be useful to you and everyone you care about, I will dedicate an entire section to it.

In this section, you will learn everything you ought to know about mold growth in your home. This way, you’ll be aware of exactly what to do to prevent it or deal with it the right way. This is very important when it comes to safeguarding your indoor environmental quality.

Contamination From Black Water

Contamination from black water is another common effect of water damage in your home. It is also the most dangerous effect because it poses serious health risks for you and your family.

As we have seen, black water -which many call category three water- is highly unsanitary and grossly contaminated. Category 3 water has toxins and pathogens, including very harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause severe illness. And, sometimes, even death.

Final Thoughts

Water- the main constituent of oceans, lakes, and streams- covers approximately 71% of the entire earth’s surface. Its destructive power is more or less similar to its power to enhance and sustain all life on earth.

Damages from water can either be minor or major, depending on the area that has been affected. And, the category of water causing the damage. In minutes, water can flatten out an entire city leaving its residents to deal with major losses. Losses of property and even human & animal life.

It is important to always identify the water that causes damage in your home. Do this before you apply any measure to deal with the resultant effects. Since unprotected contact with black water contamination causes adverse health effects.

We have looked at some of the major and minor effects of water damage to your household.

You may be wondering: what does it take to deal with such effects appropriately?

Well, each water damage problem in your house comes with its own cost. Plus the effort that you need to put in. Since there are various ways of handling each effect appropriately, we will cover this in a different article.

For now, focus more on maintaining a healthy home environment—one that is conducive to productivity, growth, and wellness in life.

Mas Broto

Written by: Mas Broto

Mas Broto is a small business owner with 30 years experience in the real estate industry. He is the founder and editor of, the most comprehensive free home improvement website on the planet!