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Old 04-18-2009, 12:21 PM   #1
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


I came home from work yesterday and heard water running in my house, The closer I got the the stairs, the louder it got. I rushed downstairs to step in about 1 inch of water in my basement with a pipe pouring more out. I quickly shut the water off and began cleaning up. A buddy came over with his camera and snapped quite a few pictures.

Now my question is the plumber that roughed all this in (I was at the stage of about to put up sheetrock) about 1.5 months ago, will he take responsibility for this? TYhe problem was a pex tube came off a 90 degree copper stud out pipe. I can't get a hold of the plumbers because its the weekend and they do no offer emergency services.

I would hope that he would have insurance to cover the ruined sheetrock and other items I had downstairs. Regardless of who pays the bill (plumber or homeowners insurance) can I charge my many hours of clean up?

One last question. When they built my bearing walls, they did not use green treat for the floor plates/sills. I did use green treat for the walls I put up. Will I need to have those 2x4's replaced as well? Or will they be OK?

Thanks for your input...it was a long night.

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Old 04-18-2009, 12:44 PM   #2
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


You ask if the plumber will take responsibility for this. I assume you really mean to ask should the plumber be held accountable. The only person who can answer whether the plumber will take responsibility is the plumber, who you indicate you cannot reach immediately.

So to the question of whether the plumber is responsible. Your post makes no indication what work the plumber actually did, whether you had a contract with the plumber, or some other arrangement. This is probably the wrong forum to be asking essentially legal questions, i.e. responsibility for the problem. You might better post those types of questions on a legal forum. If you are interested in questions such as did the plumber correctly do the rough in work, that is a question that someone on this forum can address.

You should post some pictures of the failed fitting, that would help to address the question of adequacy of installation.

As for the 2x4's, a one time wetting with one inch of water will not damage them, just let them dry out for a few days, they will be fine. If you are really concerned, buy a moisture meter, and when they get back to below 12 percent moisture content, they are about as dry as they are going to get.

I spent 8 months down south after hurricanes Katrina and Rita inspecting flood damaged homes. Some of them had been flooded up to the roofs. The framing was almost always salvageable after drying it out and cleaning the mold off. The wiring was always ruined, and needed to be replaced. The copper piping was fine. The sheet rock was always ruined. Tile floors were usually OK, concrete was fine, carpet was almost always a total loss, hardwood floors could sometimes be salvaged, plywood could often be salvarged, particle board was always a total loss. That is my take on flood damage.

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Old 04-18-2009, 12:54 PM   #3
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


I contracted him to rough in a bathroom and a wet bar (where the pipe fitting failed). He also ran a gas line for a fireplace. This was all completed about 1.5 months ago and I have not got much further on the completion of the basement i.e I have not touched the piping to hook anything up.

As for the framing, I am glad to hear that. I took a wet/dry vac and ran it along the plates and also have fans blowing on the walls right now.
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Old 04-18-2009, 01:56 PM   #4
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


Did he do an air test on the gas line before charging it to the house supply? You can, if still accessible, put soap-bubbly water mix on all fittings to test for leaks. You may/may not have a dirt leg near the f.p., it may/may not be required by your local Building Department. (In the piping, a vertical T -to catch any dirt in the system instead of going through your burner jets to wear prematurely)

Pressure treated wood is required on concrete in most universal and international codes, check your local B.D.

Here are some guidelines using a moisture meter, aligning prongs with/against grain of wood, etc. =

http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_bas...re_Meters.html Be safe, GBAR
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:39 AM   #5
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


Just to follow up since I got a hold of the plumber. He came over and inspected the damage and told me to get some estimates and fax them to him so he can turn it over to his insurance. I plan on bringing in the pros for this so they can do adequate testing and replacing what is needed...of course no cost to me.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:54 AM   #6
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


Interesting....you say the plumber did the work 6 weeks ago? that may enter into the whole question about who is responsible.

Some might view it as an 'accident' and therefore the insurance companies may be fully implicated. If however it was deemed "incompetence" on the part of the plumber, first, why didn't it happen sooner and, second, his insurance probably won't cover his "incompetence". It may cover your damage but he'd be ultimately responsible to his insurance company.
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Old 04-19-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


Maybe we have a good insurance guy that can give you a better answer but it is my experience that your homeowners insurance will sort this out best... Be sure to tell the adjuster about the plumbing work that was done recently. I believe the term is called subrogation. They will have extensive knowledge about the material that was used and about proper installation. They will then decide to go after the installer, manufacturer or retailer which ever is appropriate. If subrogation is successful you will even get your deductable.

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Old 04-19-2009, 05:37 PM   #8
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


Post the pictures.
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:56 PM   #9
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


Here are a couple of where the problem was and how much water was on the floor.
Attached Thumbnails
Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?-dscf0651.jpg   Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?-dscf0654.jpg   Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?-dscf0687.jpg   Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?-dscf0655.jpg   Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?-dscf0652.jpg  

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Old 04-19-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


it appears that the plumber forgot to crimp the compression ring and this allowed the PEX to pop off!

I had a similar thing occur once, only it was with a plastic CPVC fitting!
The failure occurred in a ceiling space! It was lucky that I was at home and the damage was minimal.
The fitting was over-looked in the gluing process!
I was the plumber!
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:09 AM   #11
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


I hope your plumber had sufficient insurance to cover things like this (may be covered in his liability coverage) but I'll tell ya, few insurance co's covers goof-ups. Hope he has deep pockets.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:13 AM   #12
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Water in Basement. Plumbing company responsible?


That picture is definitely worth more than a thousand words. I'm no attorney, but this looks like a clear black/white issue here. Either that PEX crimp ring was not crimped or was not crimped properly. I would dare say that ANY experienced insurance agent would be able to bring in one of their contract plumbers for an evaluation. If it was not crimped, my guess would be the plumber who did the work is responsible. If the agents plumber will give a determination as to an incorrect crimp and stand by it, then again the original plumber is responsible. It sounds as if the original plumber has already accepted some responsibility by asking for estimates. Surely he recognized a forgotten or improper crimp. He may even have a problem with his own insurance company in this case, if gross negligence is proven. My 2 cents worth, David

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