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Old 06-28-2018, 07:52 PM   #1
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Unbelievable

We left on our summer cruise to the Chesapeake on Monday. We decided to have our regular scheduled house cleaners come in on Thursday for a final clean and then they would be postponed until we get back.

Got to our anchorage this afternoon, put down the hook and I settled in to watch the England World Cup game.

Phone rings, It is our cleaning company. One of the cleaners knocked a print off the wall in a bathroom and it severed the water supply for the toilet. We are not yet sure if they did not notice it at first or just didn't respond quickly enough to the problem, but by the time they called us and we got our neighbors over there, the bathroom, the two wood-floored bedrooms at that end of the house, and the hallways were water logged.

I was able to direct the neighbors to the water valve shut off. They then brushed as much of the water out through the garage as they could, dried up as much as they could, and got an industrial sized heater in.

Another neighbor, who knew that we were on our trip, then texted us to ask if we had people at our house because the garage door was open. We explained what as going on and thanked them.

Meanwhile the cleaning company kept their cleaners there and got two supervisors over. They admitted responsibility and we are now waiting to see what tomorrow brings. We may leave the boat at Bald Head for a few days, rent a car and head back home.

Thank the good Lord for reliable, responsible and willing neighbors!
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:01 PM   #2
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That is a tough way to start a vacation. The good news is that you can probably escape with relatively little damage. I would get a company like ServiceMaster in there as soon as possible. High speed fans and dehumidifiers can dry out a place very quickly but its important to start as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew. If the cleaning company doesn't have someone on site tomorrow you should arrange it and then argue with the cleaning company about payment. Chances are your Home Owners Insurance will cover it anyway.

Was it all wood flooring....or were carpeted areas affected as well ??
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:07 PM   #3
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Murphy's Law. That is unbelievable. Sorry. The neighbors definitely saved the day though.

How did the cleaners get in if you were away? Keys or keypad code or something? Will you let them in again when no ones home? Or are you chocking it up to it being a freak accident?
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:15 PM   #4
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Geeze. What a calamity. Hope the print wasn’t a watercolor.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:16 PM   #5
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That is a tough way to start a vacation. The good news is that you can probably escape with relatively little damage. I would get a company like ServiceMaster in there as soon as possible. High speed fans and dehumidifiers can dry out a place very quickly but its important to start as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew. If the cleaning company doesn't have someone on site tomorrow you should arrange it and then argue with the cleaning company about payment. Chances are your Home Owners Insurance will cover it anyway.

Was it all wood flooring....or were carpeted areas affected as well ??
No carpeted areas downstairs at all, just wood in the rooms and tile in the hallways and kitchen. I think it was caught early enough to save the flooring, but I am concerned about two things - the furniture and whatever we had on the floors - for example in the closets. As I imagine for us all, do we really know what we have sitting on the floor in our bedrooms and closets from a distance?
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:20 PM   #6
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Murphy's Law. That is unbelievable. Sorry. The neighbors definitely saved the day though.

How did the cleaners get in if you were away? Keys or keypad code or something? Will you let them in again when no ones home? Or are you chocking it up to it being a freak accident?
They have a key. They have been with us for 12 years over two homes. Good people. They are pretty much always there when no one is home. In fact if we are home we go out and leave them to it. So if had been there it would still have happened, just that we would have been there to deal with the aftermath!
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:21 PM   #7
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Geeze. What a calamity. Hope the print wasn’t a watercolor.
It probably is now!
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:47 PM   #8
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After 35 yrs in the Plbg/HVAC business, my mantra to my customers was to shut off the water supply when you leave the house for overnight or longer. Any leak will be limited to the amount of water it takes to dump the pressure in the line. Maybe a quart- even less if you get a drink of water on the way out the door after closing the main valve. Automatic washer hoses were always high on the heartbreak list, nobody shuts off those valves between use like they should, and even more of a mess if on the 2nd floor.

Still, $h*t happens- that's why we have homeowner's insurance. Now if you weren't home, and your cleaning crew has access, if they are legitimately insured, it's a claim for them. Your home was in their care, custody & control. That's why they have insurance. Accidents can happen even with the most conscientious crew.
If you have folks working in your property in your absence, it's a great idea to note the location of the main water shut off. Tag the valve, post a note near where they enter or exit with directions to the valve location. Make sure it functions easily. It sure can save a whole lot of damage and headache.



Toilet repairs are the most frequent cause of claims, usually the supply tube or something related is involved. It can cause extensive damage. Thankfully, yours was caught in time. Hope the rest of your trip free of wrinkles!
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:58 PM   #9
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Maerin, a question.

We have two large gas powered hot water tank heaters.

I have considered turning off the water supply to the house but am concerned about how they would be affected.

Would the water boil out? and If so would the heater be designed to switch off, or could I end up with a bigger issue?
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:09 PM   #10
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Maerin, a question.

We have two large gas powered hot water tank heaters.

I have considered turning off the water supply to the house but am concerned about how they would be affected.

Would the water boil out? and If so would the heater be designed to switch off, or could I end up with a bigger issue?
Well can't you turn everything off when you are away including water heaters?

On a side note tell yourself this is the f***k of the trip just to remind you that things happen and from now on everything will be fine. Last year we prepared our first 1 month trip aboard, things went wrong from the beginning, from health issues in the family to boat issue, but finally we spent 3 wonderful weeks in place of a month and still we really enjoyed.
At least issue happened at the beginning, better than in the middle of a trip, just keep positive

L
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:15 PM   #11
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Well can't you turn everything off when you are away including water heaters?

On a side note tell yourself this is the f***k of the trip just to remind you that things happen and from now on everything will be fine. Last year we prepared our first 1 month trip aboard, things went wrong from the beginning, from health issues in the family to boat issue, but finally we spent 3 wonderful weeks in place of a month and still we really enjoyed.
At least issue happened at the beginning, better than in the middle of a trip, just keep positive

L
Similar to what I said to the missus. This is just stuff and why we have insurance. Though I doubt we will have to use ours.

I just don't know what the issues are when turning off gas powered water heaters. Probably doable, but not something we had have to do any time in the past when taking trips.

Leads into a much bigger conversation about when your cruising plans are large enough that you need to consider disposing of the dirt house you have!
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:36 PM   #12
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About water heaters, if you shut off the water to the house, you should shut off both the supply to the water heater (to keep the tank full for your return) and shut off the gas or electricity, to keep the tank from boiling dry.
If in winter, you may need to drain the pipes as well, and keep some heat near the water heaters / tanks.
Hope it all gets dried out well.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:10 PM   #13
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Shutting off the water main is a good idea but make sure that it doesn't shut off water supply to the yard sprinklers. Don't want to come home to dead grass and plants.

Hope the rest of your vacation goes smoothly.
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:28 AM   #14
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Shutting off the water main is a good idea but make sure that it doesn't shut off water supply to the yard sprinklers. Don't want to come home to dead grass and plants.

Hope the rest of your vacation goes smoothly.
The house valve is in the garage and just for the house. My concern is the gas water heaters. Do I cause issues by turning off the water and heating those dry. Or can I turn off the gas without issue or are they designed to handle going dry?
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:58 AM   #15
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Wow, sorry to hear about this. I think I would delay and go home to get things under control. Anything left wet for any length of time will mold, and then you have a much bigger problem. I would want to personally oversee how everything is dealt with. Then be sure to leave the AC on while you are away. That will help continue to dry things by keeping the humidity low.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:03 AM   #16
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Sheesh! If it's not one thing, it's another. It's always something. What a way to start a vacation.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:47 AM   #17
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The house valve is in the garage and just for the house. My concern is the gas water heaters. Do I cause issues by turning off the water and heating those dry. Or can I turn off the gas without issue or are they designed to handle going dry?
I wouldn't worry about the water heaters. They are thermostat controlled and will only fire up to keep the water in the tank at the temperature selected. It doesn't hurt to shut off the gas valve, but it's a pain having to relight the pilot and not have hot water right away on your return. I'm assuming that you have the traditional tank type heaters and not the tankless ones which I'm not very familiar with.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:48 AM   #18
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What a way to start a trip. Your neighbors saved the day. Might not be a bad idea to bring them a plate of cookies or something to say thanks. Sounds like you've got a good attitude about the whole thing. Accidents happen. You'll get it under control.

We were on a cruise a couple of years ago, right about in the middle of the Okeechobee Waterway, when one son called to say the house had taken a lightning strike. Took out a tree out front, the irrigation controller, the air conditioning, a breaker box switch, a bunch of electronics in the house, and had started a small fire in the garage. By the time he called us, most of it was under control, the fire was out, and no one was hurt. We were not in a position to tie up somewhere and drive home to help so we had to talk them through what steps to take. Things happen.
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:17 AM   #19
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:37 AM   #20
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OK, the plumber has been, cut a 18X24" hole in the room behind the toilet and fixed it up. He has left the water off and turned off both water heaters. He has put the blower on that hole. He also checked the caulk on the 4" baseboards and found them solid - they were all redone three years ago. He has recommended getting someone with a moisture meter to go round the drywall Just in case. I have a GC friend in the neighborhood I have just reached out to on that.
Plumber says to call him the day before we get back and they will go in and get everything turned back on and checked out.

Unfortunately that means we now rely on the neighbors again to turn it on and off to keep the pool level right.
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