Yikes! I’ve got a plumbing leak with water damage. Here’s what to do…

home emergency: leaking roof or pipe burstWith all of the second homes and vacation properties throughout the Lakes Region, water damage can strike at any time and sometimes can be a total nightmare. Over the years we have seen a number of instances where a homeowner is away. Sometimes they run out of oil in their tanks and the pipes freeze. Other times it may be a small pinhole in one of the pipes that leads to a greater problem, a break in a washing machine hose, or a simple thing like a water feed leading to an ice maker that goes bad. It happens. Dishwasher connections are another common source of leaks. It happens. And when it does, it can be overwhelming to the homeowner.

Yes there are some simple rules to follow.  Number one on my list would be if you’re on vacation, or you live out of town because it’s a second home, make sure you shut off your water valve that leads into the house. I’ve seen so many times where major damage could have been avoided by following this simple practice. If a leak or freeze-up does occur, the damage will be limited to what is already in the pipes and you won’t have the force of water continuing, which could potentially bring major damage. Having your heating system tuned up annually and your nozzles replaced is also a good measure. Periodically have a plumber review your overall system and look for any signs of wear and tear, bad valves and connections. Also have your plumber check the washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator feed hoses as manufacturers often recommend you replace the hoses periodically.  (If possible, stay away from rubber hoses for the washing machine!) In older homes, make sure all of your pipes that are exposed to the weather are insulated properly, preferably with a heat source nearby. And certainly do not turn the temperature down below 50 degrees when you go on vacation. With no water moving through the pipes, a single night of below freezing temperatures could be enough to cause a huge problem.

Okay, we talked prevention. But what do you do if there is a problem? That’s when you call in some experts who are trained to get the job done promptly and in a professional manner. Water damage is no joke. It requires an immediate response in order to prevent further damage. It should be considered an emergency because the sooner mitigation and drying technicians arrive, the better your chances are to minimize the damages. If you simply wipe up the water yourself and assume it’s taken care of, you could be setting yourself up for many latent problems, such as future mold damage, rotten framing materials, warped hardwood flooring and serious ongoing issues. And mold can be a serious health issue.

We had one recent closing that was set to close on a Monday and all of the sudden, during the final walk-through inspection, we noticed a large amount of water seepage flowing from the kitchen into the hallways, downstairs through the laundry room ceilings, and into the downstairs hallways. What a mess, and talk about timing. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, just before the closing. Who you gonna call?

Ghostbusters took care of it in the movie, but in this case, we called Worry Free Restoration, a local company based out of Laconia that specializes in water, smoke, mold, fire, and restoration work. They also have a property management division and offer 24-hour emergency service for every imaginable disaster that can occur. These guys know their stuff when it comes to dealing with emergencies. In the above case, the property was a gorgeous contemporary overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The owner was a doctor who lives down in Massachusetts. And like I said above, the leak turned about to be a faulty connection for the water feed going into the refrigerator. Yes, a simple (faulty) nut caused all that damage! We called Worry Free immediately. They arrived at the property instantaneously and brought with them a truck full of all kinds of drying equipment, dehumidifiers, large commercial fans, and air movers. They came in with wet vacs and all the right equipment. After thoroughly drying out the unit they met with the insurance adjustor and put together estimates for the remediation work. They ripped out all the tile in the kitchen, pulled up the carpets, took out the pads, and cleaned everything professionally using steam extraction on the carpeting. They sprayed the affected areas with a chemical to prevent future mold growth. They installed new porcelain tile in the kitchen, new sheetrock in the laundry room and ceiling, new insulation, baseboards, and put in new padding under the carpets after steam cleaning them. They repainted all the damaged areas.

Bottom line, everything looked like new again, the buyer was very happy, the doctor / owner was happy because the estimate came in to the exact amount of the insurance claim, and we were happy because we sold the house. It was a win-win for everyone. It just goes to show that when an emergency strikes, hire a local professional who has a good reputation and will get the job done to everyone’s satisfaction. In this case, Worry Free Restoration and Property Management got the job right and on time. They have a team of approx. 26 employees. The owners of the company, Tim and Pauline Doucette, are a husband and wife team who are local people and are committed to customer satisfaction the Lakes Region. They can be reached in an emergency at (603) 524-3235 and located in downtown Laconia. You can visit their remediation website online at https://www.nhdamage.com/

Post written by Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc.

Our disclaimer: Be advised that Roche Realty Group, Inc. is NOT a water damage or mold remediation professional. You are encouraged to do further research online, as well as talk to your insurance agent and a water damage / mold remediation professional.

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