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Water Water Everywhere - Oh My Gawd!

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Yesterday, I arrive at my job and get started. I'm working my way around the house inspecting the exterior when I take feint notice of what I thought was a neighbor's lawn fountain or something next door. After making a few notes about what I was seeing on the house I was inspecting, I turned to glance at the neighbor's yard and noticed that there wasn't any fountain nor lawn irrigation equipment. What the?

Then I noticed that the sides of the house were wet. Beginning at floor level on the second floor, water was dripping out from behind the clapboard siding at every course all the way to the foundation. I kind of whistled softly to myself and said, "Oh shit," and then walked around to the back of that house - same thing. I walked around to the front and water was dripping out of the soffit over the front porch onto the porch slab. Walked around to the entrance and water was dripping out around the door casing and running across the threshold onto the porch, onto the drive and then into a driveway drain.

Called the realtor over, pointed it out to him and then sent him to knock on doors and try and find out if anyone knew the homeowner and had his cell phone number. While he was doing that, I went to my truck, got a wrench and went over to the meter. I have never seen a meter spinner going around that fast, ever. I shut off the water at the meter, jotted up a note to the homeowner and stuck it in the door.

I went back to work. A little while later, while I was up on the roof of my client's prospective home, up rolls a fire truck. Someone had called the fire company - not me. They ask me what happened, I tell them. They walk around the house, can't see anything inside and decide to leave without breaking in, 'cuz a neighbor says the occupants were on vacation. The water was off and they didn't really have any emergency for them.

So, a few hours later I'm finishing up the job and a fellow walks over from that house. He's a neighbor and friend of the owner of the flooded house. It turns out that the owner of that house is a native of India and had left for his homeland on vacation nearly two weeks ago before the big freeze 10 days ago that burst the pipes in so many homes around here.

"Ten days!!?" I asked. "Yep," came the answer, "I have the remote and can go in through the garage, but I haven't been over there since my neighbor left." Well, you'd better check it out, I told him, If that place has had water running in there for 10 days, I'll bet there's at least $100K in damage. Make sure you stop at the breaker panel in the garage and throw the main breaker first."

He trotted over there and came back about five minutes later - yeah, the first floor ceilings had fallen down, the walls were soaked, the carpeting and floors were soaked and it looked like the entire first floor was a total loss. He said it looks like a pipe had burst in the laundry room upstairs because the damage at the ruined carpeting and walls on the second floor all seemed to spread out from that area.

I told him that he should call his friend and get the guy to call his insurance agent and get Serve-Pro or someone out there fast to pump out the crawlspace, remove all of that rock, all of the ruined insulation, set up some fans and industrial sized de-humidifiers and start drying that place out stat before it's a total loss.

He got on the phone and called his friend - they are cutting their vacation short and are on their way home.



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I got a call from an insurance agent I did some work for once he asked me to meet him at the house and when I pulled up in front of the house there was a sheet of ice on the drive that was 8 inches thick. This was in January and the temperature had not been above 0 for over two weeks. After talking and walking around the house, the agent said , just break the door, we need to look inside. After chiseling ice from around the front door, and not being able to use a pry bar and break the jamb and push the door in, finally got the chainsaw out and killed a chain but got the door out of the way. The ice was 6-8 inches thick all over everything. What happened was the Pulse furnace exhaust had froze and shut the furnace down. The house and contents was a total loss. The home owners were in Florida for the winter. Another reason why I tell people if you are going to be gone more than a couple of days shut the water off and turn off the breaker to water heater.

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Reminds me of Christmas Dinner 2003. The whole family was in town and we were getting ready to sit down for Christmas dinner, when my brother-in-law's cell phone went off. It was his neighbor, who was checking on their house, calling to inform him because his water heater

leaked, (TPR Valve) and flooded his basement. They ended up leaving very early the next morning. This happening about a year after he installed new sewer line because of a collapse, and a new perimeter drain in the same basement.

Not nearly as severe as those people's house, but seems like this stuff

always happens around the holidays.

That reminds me, my water heater is 11 years old, and it's the holidays.


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About 5 years ago on Christmas day my step daughter call her mother to get me to go turn the water off to a home she had listed. An agent showed the house on Christmas day and the water was running out everywhere.

A pipe had come loose on the interior wall at the hall shower, flooded the main level, took out a lot of the ceiling in the basement and had a river of water running into the lake.

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