Help!! My house is flooded!

  1. OK--

    I will try to keep this short, but I need some advice, *please*!

    I have a 3 story townhouse. This morning when I got up (at around 5 AM), there was no water. Unfortunately, when it gets really cold, on rare occasions, the pipes freeze. Clearly this is a huge drag, but I hopped in the car, zipped over to BF's house, showered, and still got to work relatively on time. Unfortunately I had OR all day so I couldn't sit around and wait for the management company to come earlier.

    This afternoon, I called the management company and asked them to take a look at the pipes; it hasn't been much above 0 today so I figured they were still frozen. I got home around 5:30 and YIKES there is water everywhere on the first floor-dripping from my ceiling, down my walls, even in my garage. Amazingly, despite the fact that the rugs are wet, somehow nothing of any value got dripped on (my new Miu Miu and BV shoes were spared, thank goodness). On the second floor, my kitchen sink had overflowed and was pouring water all over my kitchen, into the living room and dining room, and I guess to the ceilings below.

    So the property management people came over and investigated--it doesn't look like a burst pipe because the water is working fine and once I emptied the sink, things were better; they think some back pressure forced the sink valve open and the water on (??is this possible? I don't know!).

    I already called the insurance company, and took pictures; as I said, the vast majority of the damage is limited to the house, so I'll probably need some ceilings and wall drywall replaced and repainted, but my things (except a leather sofa) are all OK, for the most part. And the mitigator people (people who dry water up for a living) are coming over tonight as well to fix this up--apparently this takes 3-5 days.

    Has anyone had this happen to them? Do I need to do anything else? Should I be more worried? Should I call a plumber? I'd prefer not to since I don't want to pay for them when there is no broken pipe, but on the other hand, I don't know what the problem is or how to fix it. I know I didn't leave the kitchen sink on, because I left the hospital at 1 AM this morning and just climbed into bed (and the water was working, so I would have heard that running--random water running drives me crazy).

    Please help! I need some advice. The insurance company says it will be fine, but we all know they're FOS. What about when I sell the house? Do I need to disclose this?

    Thanks in advance. Please feel free to keep me company while I dry out.:p
     
  2. Hmnmm.. never heard of back pressure causing this kind of flooding, only a busted pipe. I'm wondering if the insurance company will hire a plumber to find out WHY the water was everywhere? Would make sense.

    Uh, how about your hot water heater? Did a pipe break to that?
     
  3. I've never experienced this - I'm not much help. but when I saw that a "urologist" house was flooded, I knew it couldn't be good! Good luck - I'm sure one of our PFers will have good advice for you....stay dry!
     
  4. Make sure u take pics of ALL ITEMS that r damaged so u get reimbursed fully..THAT IS KEY!
     
  5. Oh no, I am so sorry this has happened, it must be awful! I don't have much advice at all. I hope the problem is resolved quickly, hang in there!
     
  6. I've never heard of that either and I was a building inspector for over 20 years! Sounds like someone turned on the faucet when the pipes were frozen and then didn't turn it off, then when it warmed up a bit the faucet was still on. Was there anyone else in your place while you were at work?
     
  7. Thanks all--no, it wasn't the hot water heater, because whatever is leaking has stopped leaking, and all of the water valves are on right now, plus I have hot water. I am really perplexed :confused1: by this--it's almost as if someone came in and turned on the water and overflowed the sink, only clearly they didn't, since BF and I have the only keys.

    *sigh* I hope this is not too big a disaster!
     
  8. That is EXACTLY what I was going to say! Take pics of the ceilings, walls and floors too.
     
  9. About 3 years ago when we had horrible rains here in Calif our 90 year old flat roof house leaked in about 5 of the rooms. It was literally one of the top 5 worst times of my life. Your insurance will need to send the guys with the fans and they will have to stay going as long as it take to dry everything out, to prevent mold, etc. It is loud and annoying. Ours stayed 10 full days. Then they have to take the walls down to where they are no longer wet and dry them out, then redo them. We had lathe and plaster so it was messy and horrible.
    I had my dad come over when they were doing the work to make sure they were doing a good job.
    Yes, if you sell your house in less than 7 years (this law varies state to state) you have to disclose water damage, but keep your receipts and records so you can show it was fixed..which will make it no big deal, the future buyers just want to see how it was fixed. This is not a fun event. I would suggest that you have 10mg valium handy, or lots of vodka. Good luck and PM me if you need any other info about water damage. Ours took 3 months start to finish, during which time I had got rhuematiod arthritis..as you know an autoimmune disease...no doubt caused by the stress.
     
  10. Aaahhh!!! It takes that long to fix?? EVeryone made it sound like a 3 week project, which I extrapolated to 4-6 weeks (since everyone lies on timelines!). But 3 months?? Yuck. It sounds like my damage is so much less extensive than yours, though.
     
  11. Well, in that case, it's got to be one of two things.

    Your roof leaks somewhere. Badly enough to gather enough water to possible gather in one spot and then burst through.

    OR, someone is messing with you. They snuck in and turned the facet on while you were at work.
     
  12. Well, it's *definitely* not the latter:nogood:, so I'm gonna have to start investigating the former! Would a roof leak collect on the second floor, though? I see no water damage whatsoever on the 3rd floor. Very odd--the guy from the drying company can't figure it out either. I'm nervous that it's some leak that's temporarily plugged at the moment and will result in copious additional flooding later.:cursing:
     
  13. There's no way valves got forced open. Plumbing valves aren't like doors. You can't force the open (unless you have some funky valves. They're either seated valves, where there's a flat seal (think a rubber circle with a hole in the center) and a "plunger" that is pressed against the seal via the rotation of a faucet handle, or it's a ball valve, which is a ball with a hole in it that's rotated by a lever to either rotate the ball so the hole is in line with the pipes allowing water to flow, or it's perpendicular which blocks flow. Either way, pressure won't force the valve to be twisted open (both valves require twisting to close or open).

    So, there's no leak now? Do you think it's possible your neighbor's pipes burst?

    Whoa whoa whoa...I just reread your post. So the kitchen sink was overflowed? Um...do you think you perhaps turned on the faucet and left it on by accident? Since there was no water you didn't realize you left the faucet on when you were trying to see if you had water? When the pipes thawed....overflowed sink and flooded house.

    Also, for future reference...when it gets that cold, leave a faucet running with a steady stream. Not like full blast...just enough to keep the water flowing so it doesn't freeze. That should keep things flowing and ensure you have water the next morning.
     

  14. yep. it was probably an accident, you just forgot to turn them off. My pipes were frozen a few times last year and I once, unknowingly, left the faucets on, thank God I was home and heard the gushing water.
     
  15. ^^^ I didn't even read her response...pretty much saying the same thing I did. ;)