BY DON M. MCNULTY, MBT, MTC, OSHA APPROVED TRAINER ©COPYRIGHT 2018
Water as a flood inside your home can be devastating. I know, I’ve had a supply line fitting to our dishwasher break open and flood our kitchen while the dishwasher was running. When my wife called me in a panic at work, I instructed her to shut off the water to the dishwasher. She opened the door to the washer, which caused the machine to stop running and walked to the other side to start calling the insurance and restoration company. As I walked into the house the dishwasher was still gushing water. I ran downstairs to the basement and shut off the water to the entire home. My wife explained, she thought by stopping the machine from running the water would stop. The problem was the break in the line was ahead of the actual control of the machine. So the water ran a good 40 to 50 minutes before I arrived.
Here’s our damage; our pre-finished hardwood floor in the kitchen was only 6 months old. It had to be replaced. The water ran down to the basement, which was unfinished but used for storage. I kept my extensive 30-year-old library of business and religious books on three large bookshelves for easy
retrieval and I lost roughly half of my collection and the bookshelves.
We were, of course, displaced from the kitchen for one week while the dry down process proceeded. The machines are really loud and it was next to the living room so having a conversation or watching television was extremely difficult. Then we had to wait another 2 weeks walking on cupped hardwood flooring while the adjuster got everything approved and for the new flooring which was ordered and arrived. We were displaced from the kitchen once again for a few more days while that work proceeded.
That was water running uncontained in our kitchen for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Think about a second-floor wash machine fitting failing while everyone has gone to work and the water is allowed to run unabated for hours before someone returns; (It happens all the time). The washer’s water line is twice the size of my dishwasher line. These things happen all the time. In fact, in the Greater Kansas City Area, there are hundreds of water
damage calls each month on a regular basis. When the area suffers a cold snap of two or more days the numbers goes up exponentially.
HERE ARE THE TOP FIVE PROBLEMS
- Plumbing Failure. Dripping faucets and leaky pipes that are being ignored.
- Toilet overflows. When this happens it is considered a Category 3 (contaminated) water loss
- Slow or Clogged Drains causing backups
- Wash machine hose failure
- Sump Pump or Water heater Failure
Mechanical failures happen, that’s just a simple fact. Things just wear out but many times they give us some sort of warning. Leaky pipes and fixtures are the number one indicator. These issues should be taken care of immediately to prevent greater damage. Others require a more proactive action through inspection. Such as, taking a large bucket of water or a garden hose down to the sump pump to fill the pump well, making sure it comes on once the float is triggered as you fill the well. Things to look for, are the slow start or splutter start. Has debris fallen into the well? Does the float work? Does the well empty quickly or slowly once it’s triggered? Of course, slow means you need to do further investigation. Is the outlet hose clogged? Is the outlet hose tight against the fitting? (Since you can’t see the fitting under the water and at the bottom of the well. If the fitting isn’t tight it can leak water at the fitting while trying to empty the well.)
Are you getting all the hot water you need? If the water has been hot but now is not, or do you have rusty water when you first turn on the hot water? You may have a tank failure in your future. Find out the age of your hot water tank. Typically they last 10 -13 years. If it’s older consider changing it out. If it’s more than 15 years old experts say it’s better to be proactive.
The second and third issues usually go together. Many times if you have a toilet back up it comes down to clogged drains. If the toilet is emptying slow or you have to flush twice it can mean you need to adjust your toilet flush valve. You can easily check it by lifting up on the valve manually and if it still doesn’t perform as required this could indicate a clogged drainage pipe and need a drain cleaning service to fix the issue.
About twice a year while doing the laundry check out the hoses in the back of your wash machine. Do they look worn or old? Run your finger around the fittings both at the wall and where it connects to the machine. Does your finger feel wet at all? If so, think strongly about changing the hoses.
If you have a failure and you are in need of the mitigation and restoration company to dry out the structure and make necessary repairs, call First Call Restoration, Inc. of Kansas City at 816-804-0154. We will respond quickly to your problem and get the work done. Many of these problems are paid for through your property insurance. We’ll work with you and your insurance company to see you get the best rates available.