We’ve taken many water damage claim reports over the years. When it’s not your house that was flooded, or damaged, you may look at the situation differently. But it’s different when it happens to you.
Last week my wife called me saying the carpet in the office in our basement was a little wet. Did I think that our bunny had peed on it ? I told her I didn’t think so, but you never know. A few minutes later, Nancy emails me a photo saying that the wet area on the floor seems bigger, and doesn’t think it could have been our bunny. See photo below
After Nancy mentioned that the carpet under the desk was wet, we realized it wasn’t the bunny. But this stain in the photo was in the middle of the room – not near a wall, not near any pipes. We started trying to figure out where the water could have come from;
- Could the water have entered from a crack in the basement FLOOR foundation ? Unlikely, but you never know
- Was there a crack in the WALL of the basement foundation, and water was coming in through there ? It didn’t seem possible, since none of the walls were wet
- Was there a cracked/burst water pipe ? We didn’t think so, since we couldn’t hear the sound of running water, and none of the ceilings in the basement were wet or had a water stain.
We didn’t know what to do. Luckily, a few days ago, Dino Martignago from Puroclean had come to our office to introduce his services. Puroclean is a restoration company ( www.puroclean.ca/CentralToronto ) that specializes in water damage, We called Dino, and he came by our home fairly quickly. After looking at the damage inside the house, and inspecting the foundation walls on the outside of the house, Dino noticed a small crack in the outside foundation wall near the site of the water damage. He thought this was the likely source, and he removed part of the wet carpet and installed some big air dryers to dry the carpet. He thought we’d likely need to wait till April/May for someone to fix the crack in the foundation (if that was the source of the water damage). Dino returned a few times over the next week to inspect the site. He opened up the drywall to get a look at the foundation where he thought the water was coming from. But there was no visible crack on the inside wall of the foundation. On the 3rd visit, Dino noticed that the water on the floor had increased, and it was possible that the water wasn’t coming from the area he first thought. Dino suggested to Nancy that we call someone immediately who specializes in fixing foundation cracks, and get his opinion.
Frank Lecchino from Sunhome Improvements arrived within a few hours of our call. His initial inspection concurred with Dino – he thought the water was coming from the spot where there was a crack in the exterior foundation wall. But Frank wasn’t sure, and he thought about opening up a different area of the drywall in the adjacent room. Just then, he heard the sound of running water/falling water. Nancy just turned on the water on the floor above, but Frank didn’t hear the normal sound of water going through a pipe. Frank opened up the drywall in the adjacent room, and found this:
The plastic waste pipe from our dishwasher/kitchen sink had completely broken off, and any water coming from the dishwasher or kitchen sink was landing on our basement floor behind the drywall. This is very odd since our basement walls were finished over 14 years ago. How could this happen all of a sudden ?
Why did it take a few days to figure this out ? One reason is that my wife Nancy was out of town for a few days, and while she was away I wasn’t doing a lot of cooking or cleaning or running the dishwasher. But as soon as she returned on Saturday night, that’s when we noticed an increase in the water on the basement floor (since she was back to running the dishwasher & using the kitchen sink at normal use).
The good news, is that we’ve figured out where the water is coming from. This is probably one of the trickier things in a water damage claim, especially if your basement is finished. You don’t always know where the water is coming from, and you want to minimize the damage to your walls and floors by finding for the source/cause of the damage.
Did I put a claim in through the insurance ? Initially no, since I thought it was a seepage claim (water coming in through a crack in the basement foundation), which isn’t covered. But our situation was now different – there had been a sudden break/rupture in a water pipe, which may be covered by our home insurance policy.
Whether we put a claim in through our insurer will depend on the estimate to fix the damage. We also have to be careful;
- If we make an insurance claim, the insurance company first needs to inspect the damage (before we start the repairs) and agree to pay for them.
- But insurance companies take time to approve claims. Before that happens, we have to minimize any further damage – which may involve making some immediate repairs. This is a tricky situation that many homeowners frequently find themselves in.
- In our case, it means we will likely repair the broken/missing pipe, but wait for the insurance companies approval before we fix the drywall, baseboards, flooring, paint, etc.
So we didn’t submit an insurance claim. With the help of Frank from Sunhome & Dino from Puroclean, we were able to clean up the mess, fix the damage, and get our home back to normal.