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Old 08-28-2008, 08:17 AM   #1
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DIY Water Mitigation?

Hi There,

In July we moved in to our new home and put in a new refrigerator, and I had my brother install the water line for it. In the middle of the night, the water line popped off at the connector to the refrigerator, flooding our kitchen and leaking down into the room below it. As a result, we had our insurance company send a water damage restoration company out. They put fans, heater and dehumidifiers in our kitchen and room below for one and a half weeks to dry out the space, and then replaced the water damaged ceiling of the room below the kitchen. The disruption this caused was unbearable, and now I have another water issue now and am looking for advice about what I can do myself to take care of it.

Last night we found that the paint on the bottom of a support beam that runs across the ceiling of our laundry closet was bulging and full of water.
I cut open the bulge to let out the water, and removed the latex paint. Below was some dry wall (well wet wall now) covering the wood support beam. I REALLY don't want to call my insurance company about this and I don't want another mitigation company in my house, so I am wondering what I can do to dry out the beam and resolve this problem.

Some things to note:
- There is a bathroom above this area. The sink of the bathroom is roughly above the area where the bulge was, and the bathtub is about 8 feet away from there.
- The bathtub was backing up, so we had a plumber over recently, and he used a some device that drives air through the pipes to clear it. We had called him because in addition to the bathtub backing up, we were getting water dripping from the heating vent which runs below the bathub and into the hallway beneath it. He told us we may get some residual water dripping from there. But the place where we got the bulge is about 8 feet from there so I'm not sure if its related or not.

So I am wondering, is there anything I can do to take care of this problem myself? I know the mitigation people used this handheld device to detect the water levels beneath the surface, can I buy one of those myself ? I'm most concerned about the beam wood rotting and becoming structurally weak.


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Old 08-28-2008, 05:11 PM   #2
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Your concerns about the beam rotting are justified. But, that beam is going to be able to stand being wet for a while, just like it may have when your house was being framed and was subject to rainfall. If you don't let it stay perpetually wet for 6 months, you shouldn't have structural issues. The best bet is leave the area exposed to fresh air until you get this fixed and have it dried out.

Step one is determining the source of the leak. Leaks like this are very sneaky sometimes and can run quite a distance horizontally before showing up.

The handheld detector the cleanup company used was probably an infared device, and unless you're filthy rich you don't want to buy one yourself.

I'd climb under the sink and rule it out first. Use a dry paper towel or a tissue that will show water if it gets wet. Wipe it around the trap, the connection to the sink, and the supply line connections at the faucet and the valve. Run the water some too to try to force a drip.

Condensation in the duct will be difficult to fix. I doubt that is the problem, but it does happen. The duct can easily act as a conduit to move plumbing leaks as well.

The plumber might have done damage to the tub's trap when blowing the clog out of the pipe. Probably not, but a possibility nonetheless.

There's no magic bullet for a problem like this. You've just got to do a lot of investigative work.


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Old 08-28-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips, I found a moisture meter for around 80 bucks, it requires you to insert two sharp probes into the material to be tested.

I'm wondering if it'd be useful to pack some kind of dessicant like calcium chloride around the site where the water came through.
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