Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

This seems to be the wettest season I can ever remember so I thought I would refresh everyone on flood issues. The winter of 2016 has hit us hard with Ice and water.

Levco has responded to all sorts of floods and have even been victimized by a few myself. Insurance companies have a list of the most common causes of loss and floods are up there in the top ten.

There is no better temporary fix than shutting off the water supply as soon as possible.

Typical main shut off

Locate the valve and have it labeled to remember in a crisis. Rarely are tools needed to shut this off.

I have not seen everything yet. When you understand that there is a pressurized system living in your home at 50-60 pounds per square inch, it doesn’t take much imagination to run through the “what if ” scenarios of a failure.  Water from an outside cause is not covered by homeowner’s insurance, unless you have federally administered flood insurance.

Water alarm

Much of my approach to dealing with homes and water is preventative. Time spent looking for potential problems is not wasted. There are new products on the market that are designed to shut off if excessive flow occurs. Unfortunately many failures are of the slow drip over a long period. My favorite system is the water alarm that is a battery operated  device that alarms like a smoke detector when it comes in contact with water.

Here are some of the problems we’ve responded to for water. These are usually covered except for the object that caused the flood.

  • Leak in braided steel flexible water heater supply line
  • Failure of the internal mechanism in a freezer ice maker to shut off.
  • Rupture of a water supply line to a refrigerator.
  • Rupture of a washing machine supply line.

    Near miss

  • Failure of a drum trap in a basement.
  • Leak at a shut off valve for a toilet
  • Toilet overfilling and running onto the floor through the flush handle.
  • Clogged toilet overfilling.
  • Blockage of sewer line.
  • Nail through a water line in the wall. (Hanging a framed photo)
  • Failure of a fitting of a polybutylene plumbed system.
  • Washing machine failing to drain and overfill.
  1. Clog in pump from a child’s sock
  2. Ornament hanger wire stuck in pump.

External sources of water entering the home: These are usually not covered events. Some are it depends upon your carrier and your coverage.

There are lots of ways for this to occur too. Occasionally we see several of these issues working together to cause a flood.

  • Water backing up into the home from the city sewer line being clogged.
  • Reversed grade of ground back to the home.
  1. Water coming down the hill through a foundation vent
  2. Underground spring on a hillside

    Broken head

  3. Ruptured sprinkler line at the top of a hillside home.
  • Gutters not being directed away form the home.
  • Sprinklers being directed to the home.
  • Pressurized irrigation water entering the crawl space through a foundation vent. (over 40 thousand gallons) ruined the HVAC duct system.
  • Knocked off sprinkler head flooding into a window.
  • Tree roots growing in through cracks in the foundation.
  • Improperly made foundation allowing water back into the home.

When leaving for vacation:

Leave your heat on in the winter. the few extra dollars in fuel will be offset by not having to pay a deductible to a contractor. Leave the fan on the “ON” mode to ensure the entire house had a better chance of staying the same temperature.

Consider turning the pressurized water to your home off by turning off the ball or gate valve that allows it in (Typically it can be found in the basement or in the crawl space) as seen above. Do not mess with the water meter at the curb, the water folks get upset especially if you break it. I am not a big fan of leaving the water dripping but that is a fine way to decrease the likelihood of frozen pipes.

Sadly my neighbors took off for a vacation and left their 2 story with a basement home on 50 degrees with the fan on auto. The first floor kept at 50 but the basement was colder. Their pipes froze that were in a finished ceiling near a basement window and when it warmed up a bit, the place flooded. They had not taken my advice.