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Old 10-03-2011, 02:10 PM   #1
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big washer overflow damage - next steps?


So our washer overflowed - badly. Flooded the laundry room, which also spilled into a new finished basement bedroom office.

Shoes were floating in both rooms. I immediately began to vacate the standing water. Then we had SP on the scene within 45 minutes and they've handled it since. We're at day #2 of their drying process, which is expected to last a few more. All is "going very well".

They have space-age tools and seem to really know their stuff. They have plastic tents and these strange pads everywhere. They have these tools they poke into the walls, and ones they set against stuff. Dehumidifyers and fans are running non-stop.

Whatever the case, ALL of this (and the repairs) will be covered 100% by my insurance.

However - I'm fearful that SP might miss something - even something small. The guy says it's their 100% job to remove 100% of the moisture.

I'm not worried about the damage -that can be fixed and paid for by insurance. I'm worried that stuff they have left intact and say will dry or didn't get that wet will in fact cause mold.

I witnessed the waterfall in the basement first hand. It was like 5 showerheads in the ceiling. Everything was getting wet - water was running down the walls. The ceiling fan globe was a a waterfall. It was even pouring out a tiny gap at the top/inside of a window frame in the room.

Yet today - just 24 hours later - no hints of water the eye can see. And the guy showed me some tests - poked the walls with his gauge - and even around the window - they are all showing acceptable and decreasing moisture content. He's got the whole area mapped out and is keeping track of readings from many different points/places. Seems totally pro.

There were walls with a true flood of water washing down them (with insulation behind. And the laundry room above had 1 inch of standing water wall-to-wall which was seeping under baseboards - and that water would have poured down behind my finished basement walls (and I have insulation too).

The guy tested the drywall in all areas down there - and said if the insulation had any moisture - it would dampen the back of the drywall and he'd see it on his gauge. He's not seeing it.

Should I simply trust them to assure that when they leave, I can simply start to repair? Or should I tell them to rip out even more? He did say that he's going on protocol - you just don't rip stuff out unneccesarily. He might think insurance won't pay for it. But I'd call my insurance company for approval if need be.

I just can't believe these gauges can really fully see what's behind a wall. There just has to be more dampness back there that will lead to mold. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe these dehumidifyers suck all that out.

Any tips or advice here? We'll be starting the rebuilt/fix next week.

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Old 10-03-2011, 02:29 PM   #2
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big washer overflow damage - next steps?


You should back away from being in charge and let your insurance adjuster handle EVERYTHING.

Don't try to second guess or micro-manage things you have no knowledge of, leave it to the pros. Let your adjuster shoulder all the responsibility.

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Old 10-03-2011, 02:34 PM   #3
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However - I'm fearful that SP might miss something - even something small. The guy says it's their 100% job to remove 100% of the moisture.

I'm not worried about the damage -that can be fixed and paid for by insurance. I'm worried that stuff they have left intact and say will dry or didn't get that wet will in fact cause mold.

Should I simply trust them to assure that when they leave, I can simply start to repair? Or should I tell them to rip out even more? He did say that he's going on protocol - you just don't rip stuff out unneccesarily. He might think insurance won't pay for it. But I'd call my insurance company for approval if need be.

I just can't believe these gauges can really fully see what's behind a wall. There just has to be more dampness back there that will lead to mold. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe these dehumidifiers suck all that out.

Any tips or advice here? We'll be starting the rebuilt/fix next week.
And you should be just fine to do so. I've dealt with *SP* many times, including a bad leak in our old home as it sat vacant. It leaked for weeks!
They are the most trusted company used by AAA and many other insurance companies so far as I can tell. Rest easy, they know their stuff.

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Old 10-03-2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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big washer overflow damage - next steps?


Look, if there is moisture behind any surface, the proper use of dehumifiers will wipe out any remaining traces of moisture - from whereever that moisture is; you may not or need to actually see it, just know that the efficient use and control of some of the dehumidifiers they have nowadays is enough to extract moisture from behind wall from insualtion etc - because the dehus don't mind where the mositure comes from - they only extract it all until it beeps "I'm DRY!".

What "DRY" is is a relative term to where you are and how 'dry' the other materials in your house are, so there's no one definition of "dry"...but a water damage pro will know that from the outset of the operation, since that's his goal: "dry" relative to where you are...

So, there may not be a need to destroy all the gyproc walls in order to have them become 'dry'. Yes, sometimes it is cheaper to rip off the drywall and replace it, but underneath the drywall, there's studs and a sill plate, insulation and other stuff. So, for those of us who are 'visual', it may be comforting to see the inside of a wall dry out, but believe me it happens all the time. So resist if you can the urge to have the guys rip everything out just to dry it.

It is not automatic that something wet turns mouldy; if something gets wet and stays wet for a period of time, it can. But somethig that gets wet and is dried out suficienty, will be almost as good as new. Unless of course it is made of an absorbent material, then it gets a bit more complicated. It might take a bit longer to dry - but again, this depends on the equipment used.

In your case, you had what is called a Category 1 loss, that is to say that they water was originally clean (not for example sewage water) and therefore most materials can be dried and salvaged, with the exception of the insulation, IMO. There are many protocls out there that suggest you discard fibreglass insulation in any category of water damage, and that would, of course, mean destroying the walls to some extent - but only the exterior walls where there is insulation. But that come back to the contractor and how pro-active he really is.

The good thing is that insurance adjusters are just as savy as the contractors are in what should be done and what can be overlooked; the better companies will do whatever it takes to keep your insurance premiums coming in to them every month, so they don't worry about costs as much. They want to make you very happy - so by all means bring up these points to the contractor. An hour or two here or there doesn't make that big a difference to him - but if you're not happy, that'll really ruin his week...
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:59 PM   #5
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It's all coming together now - and based on what I'm seeing and what SP told me - and what you all said - I think I can relax a bit. Sucks that this happened - but what an amazing process it is...
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:07 PM   #6
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Seems like an awful lot of water from a simple machine overflow. What's the story on that?
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:15 PM   #7
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Seems like an awful lot of water from a simple machine overflow. What's the story on that?
I was wondering this myself.
Even the whole tub dumping out at once would not 'float shoes' in two rooms!

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Old 10-03-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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Apparently the washer overflowed unchecked for like 45 minutes. The vinyl laundry room floor is 1 inch lower than the hardwoods, so acted like a bathtub - so with the inch of water, stuff was floating all around. So much water was then pouring into the basement through the ceiling fan it and over a desk and onto the floor it had washed items on the floor out the door - maybe it didn't float them - but sorta washed them away.
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:21 PM   #9
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Apparently the washer overflowed unchecked for like 45 minutes.
Yeah, that could do it all right!

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Old 10-03-2011, 09:25 PM   #10
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big washer overflow damage - next steps?


I will give one word of advice. I don't know if they work, but I saw that home depot had inexpensive water alarms. I think you stick them places like under sinks, in laundry rooms, etc. I can't believe insurance companies don't give them away. I'll definitely be looking into them in the future - just in case
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:22 AM   #11
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Did you figure out what caused the overflow? How old is the washer?

In my previous life....the x-b!tch was anal about cleaning and used 2-3x as much laundry detergent as was necessary...this is the same person who would not clean the lint trap because she did not want the dust from it to dirty the house....

Anyway, the excessive soap usage caused the hole going to the level sensor to plug...which caused more water to go in the tub than was supposed to. Easy fix.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:23 AM   #12
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Those water alarms seem to work OK, but the best - and the one the insurance companies are most interested in - is the one that has sensors throughout the house (like in the laundry room, under the hot water heater and under the kitchen sink) that sends a signal to a water shut-off valve that is directly connected to your water supply pipe, near the water meter...Upon receiving a signal, the shut off valve shuts the water off for the whole house.

It takes a plumber to install and costs about $500, all told, but for those who spend time away from the house (like our snow-birds up here who spend 6 months in Florida over the winter), it is almost a necessity. It doesn't take long - as the OP will testify - for a half-inch pipe to dump water.

The next best thing is to change your water supply hoses to the washer for the more costly stainless steel coated hoses; we've seen more than one rupture from the cheap hoses that some people put in... with identical results as the OP.

I agree that remediation is an amazing process; it is an emergency- response procedure that ranks up there with fire and ambulances. It takes training and the right amount of the right equipment to carry out a proper drying of a structure within acceptable time limits, to say nothing about experience and a proper protocol. Up here, seeing that we're an island, about 50% of the general population has had some experience with water damage more or less severe/ That a whole lot of damage. And we're not talking Hurricane Irene or anything - just day-to-day events.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:57 AM   #13
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No determination has been made as to why the washer overflowed. It's also old and inexpensive (maybe that the reason) - so we don't plan to even test it to find out. My guess is a broken overflow sensor. Insurance didn't even need to know the cause.

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