It’s the polar vortex, ya’ll. And I’ve been watching and reading multiple articles about pipes freezing and how to prevent it and stuff. But hey, our house is only 2 years old, so I figured we’d be good. And in fact, I DID open a cabinet in one of our bathrooms where the plumbing backs up to an exterior wall. And then I tried to get my brother to do stuff in my parents’ house while my mom was in the ER, but he didn’t understand what I was trying to say, so he didn’t do anything. And thus the worst night went by without any trouble, so I figured we were good.
Then I came home from PT today and let the dogs out. And as I went to look out a side window to see where Butthead had gone, I heard a weird noise. And I was almost convinced it was the heat turning on just as I walked into the room, but it was so loud. And I stared down at the vent on the floor under the window and I was thinking the heating system isn’t right underneath there, it’s at least 15 feet away from where I’m standing. What the hell is that…oh shit.
And I ran down the stairs to the basement and as I turned on the landing, I see it. Water, everywhere on the floor, flooding along one whole side of the basement. And then I hear it…the horrifying sound of GUSHING water. I run down the second set of steps and splat my way around the corner and into our mechanical room to see water spraying from some pipes on the wall. Everything around me is soaked, the floor has about three inches of water on it, and as I get closer to the gushing water I start to panic. I have no idea where the shut off is, even though I’m sure I know. I finally see the paddle next to the water pipes and I figure it’s the shut off, so I crank it as far as it will go. The rushing spraying water slows, then turns into drips.
And I’m standing in a pond of water that is running out of the mechanical room and into the main part of our basement. Where all hub’s stuff is, and where our storage is. Cuz that’s what you do with a basement.
I start shaking. My entire body is vibrating. I run upstairs and grab the phone, then go check on the dogs. As I’m dialing the phone to call Hub, I am yelling at the dogs to come in the house. My voice is shaking as I try to explain to Hub that we had a pipe burst and it sent water over 1/3 of the basement. He says, “Call your father. I’m packing my shit and coming home.”
I disconnect the phone and try again to convince the dogs to come in the house. I’m shaking a can of treats, but getting little response. I dial my parents’ house and my mom answers. She’s one day out of the hospital and I don’t want to worry her, but my voice is still shaking, so she knows something is up. I ask her to hold on and I yell at the dogs, who come to the door reluctantly. I hand Butthead a treat and the little stinker grabs it out of my hand and runs back outside. WTF. I toss a treat across the room for Le Moo, then go to yell at Butthead and the can of treats falls out of my hand onto the floor because I’m still shaking so badly. My mom is still on the phone and I scream, “I can’t fucking believe this!” I scoop dog treats off the floor, yell at Butthead who comes slinking back inside, then say to my mother, “Mom, I’m sorry…” and she tells me to call her back. But I say, “No, I need Dad. We had a water pipe burst.”
I hear her yelling for my father and I’m shaking like a leaf, adrenaline is just zipping through me. My father comes on the line and I tell him I got the water shut off, but the basement is a mess. As I’m talking, I go upstairs to retrieve as many towels as I can carry. Back downstairs, I start putting towels around the edges of the puddles to “dam” them to make sure the water doesn’t spread any farther. Then I stand in the middle of our indoor pond and look around…and I want to cry. My father shows up and we start pushing water into the sump pump hole, and we’re trying to figure out what the hell to do. There’s a freaking polar vortex, all the plumbers are going to be busy…but we now have no water in our house. Except spread out on the floor. ARG.
Luckily, my parents had someone doing some work in their house, building a bathroom in their basement. He does everything, including plumbing (and building houses!), and he was due to be at their house that afternoon. I got his phone number and called him, and thank goodness he was only about ten minutes away. He agreed to come see if he could make repairs for us. Which he did. But it was a bigger issue than we thought, because cold air was leaking into our basement, rushing past our pipes like a wind tunnel. We’ve bandaged the problem temporarily, but still have to figure out how to fix it permanently. Fortunately, the broken pipes could be isolated away from the main lines in the house, so we have the water back on.
I took pictures of the issue that remains and have contacted our builder. We all feel it is something they did not do properly, but considering the multitude of issues we’ve had with the builder, I suspect they’re going to tell us to go take a leap. Wouldn’t be the first time with them, sadly.
Meanwhile, I have no clue how much the repairs are going to cost us, nor how much the actual fix is going to take. But it has to be done. And we are so fortunate that we had no carpet down in the basement yet, and because of previous basement floods, we kind of know better than to store things directly on the floor. Most of our stuff is up on plastic shelving that has feet…keeping our stuff off the floor. The couple of things that did get wet should dry out (leftover carpet from our original install, and a box with an outdoor rug in it). The worst part is that the water did get to the wood framing behind our walls in a bunch of places. I only hope it dries out without growing mold, considering we cleaned up so quickly. We have a sad little dehumidifier running down there to help with the moisture.
I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 22. I bought my first home–a townhouse–because my grandfather told me that buying was better than renting. He said if I bought a house, he would help, but if I rented, he wouldn’t throw good money away on rent. So I bought. A couple of years into living in that house, a neighbor screwed something up and a pipe burst into the main level of my house. It ruined the vinyl floors in my kitchen, and soaked into all the padding and carpeting in my living room and dining room. I had to have ServPro come in and pull up all the carpeting and suck out all the water and run giant humongous fans for days to dry things out. I lost my home insurance because of that incident, which wasn’t even my fault! But even so, that was the first of my incidents with water problems. The second house I owned–a single family home–was after Hub and I were married for several years. Maybe four or five years in, we had water leaking into our kitchen from the upstairs bathroom. The water POURED in from around the recessed light fixtures in the kitchen, down onto our kitchen table. We tore down the ceiling to find the leak, thought it was fixed, repaired the ceiling…and several months later it leaked all over again. We tore down the ceiling AGAIN, but couldn’t find the source. So we lived for almost a year with no ceiling in the kitchen as we tried to figure out what was wrong. We ended up tearing out the entire tub in the bathroom above, and remodeled the WHOLE bathroom from top to bottom. Then we left the ceiling open for several MORE months to make sure the leak was fixed before repairing that. THEN we had a flood in the basement a couple of years later after a monster storm. Ruined a lot of drywall and all the carpet in the basement. Tore all that up, redid the drywall, then laid down laminate wood floors in the basement. Horrible, horrible experience with that damn floor.
Every damn house, water problems. WTF? We thought that building a new house would keep us away from any water problems. Ignoring the fact that we ended up spending a fortune in this house because of water problems beneath the house before and after it was built….ugh.
And like a dumbass, after we were done what we could do for the night, I put all the wet towels in the washing machine and went back downstairs to let the dogs out. Then as I was watching them in the darkness through the window, I heard rushing water again. I almost flipped out again until I realized it was the water from the washing machine rushing through the pipes on the second floor. DUH.
And now I’m exhausted. I came home from PT and didn’t even get to eat lunch. And didn’t eat breakfast. And I was literally on my feet from the time I got home until the time the repair guy left. Four hours. I can barely stand up at this point. I’m so tired, I can’t even explain it. And so angry at the builder that I’ve looped around past ANGRY and am at DEAD CALM. Be afraid, ya’ll.
Well, be afraid tomorrow, because tonight I’m too physically exhausted to hurt anyone. Maybe.