Home Disasters with Water

Our house is cursed. Three water disasters (yesterday’s crisis was somewhat averted) in five years in a house we moved into brand new. At least they provide good stories.

Fire in the Basement
You’re probably wondering what a fire has to do with water. This story relates to a water heater.

After having been in our house for only eight months, Brody and I awoke to the smoke alarms going off at 3:00am. We didn’t smell smoke but immediately smelled gas when we walked out of our bedroom on the second floor. Considering our smoke detectors did not alert us to gas, this was nerve wrecking. We made our way downstairs – still no fire. Brody opened the basement door, looked down, and saw the reflection of flames on the cement wall.

We rushed back upstairs, put on more clothes (it was December), and called 911. Standing outside across the street, we waited for the fire department, ambulances, and the rest of the circus to arrive. Even across the street we could smell gas. Basically, we stood there waiting for our house to explode.

In the end, a ripple effect is to blame:
1) It had been a very snowy, icy winter, and ice completed covered the gas meter on the side of the house.
2) Your gas meter releases a tiny bit of gas, but ours was getting backed up in our basement.
3) When the hot water heater pilot light went on, there was enough gas for it to light.
4) The hot water heater caught on fire.

Happy ending – our house didn’t explode. The firefighters were able to put out the fire with a handheld extinguisher. Because of the gas, all of our windows were opened, and obviously our water was turned off. Our kind neighbors, who the fire department evacuated just in case, let us stay at their house for the rest of the night. The next morning, a new hot water heater was installed and we were allowed back in our house.

Toilet Flooding
Almost two years after moving into our house, we experienced our second water disaster.

For Brody’s birthday, I had bought him tickets to see The Flight of the Concords one Sunday night. When we left the house, the master bathroom toilet was clogged (luckily everything had gone through…so just water was in there), but we were running late and let it be; we figured we’d use the plunger when we got home.

We returned home to a wet dog (we only had Moose at the time) and were immediately confused. Upon entering the kitchen we discovered half an inch of water covering most of the kitchen floor and water dripping down from light fixtures and the actual ceiling. Brody and I went into panic clean-up mode and began sopping up as much water as we could with towels and brought the Shop-Vac up from the basement. It was a lost cause as we could already see the ripples in our wood floors.

Upstairs we discovered the cause: the master bath toilet.

As we had pulled into our garage, I had noticed a tv flickering at my neighbor’s house. Because we had no idea what to do or where we needed to turn off the water, I called him. Aaron came over, and I then realized we had just switched insurance companies to State Farm with Aaron. Not only was his visit our unofficial claim, but the company’s slogan held some truth: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

Without insurance, we would’ve been screwed. Insurance covered the water restoration (huge fans and dehumidifiers to prevent mold), plastered the walls and the ceiling with water damage, painted the ceiling and the affected first floor rooms, new floors, a replacement couch, a rug, and a light fixture.

I <;3 insurance.

Leaking Refrigerator
Brody left for hockey around 5:45 last night, and it was soon after that I heard our fridge making a funny noise. I got closer and then noticed a pool of water expanding on the floor around the appliance.

I called my mom first, but she couldn’t help me much. I called my coworker Dave, and he didn’t answer. There was no point in calling Brody because not only was he playing hockey, but I don’t think he would’ve been able to figure out what was going wrong anyways (sorry sweetie – no insult meant).

A neighbor who works at a plumbing company saved us. He came over with his tool box, turned off the water line to the fridge, and figured out what was malfunctioning in the fridge. A part has been ordered, and besides the very minor inconvenience of not being able to use the water and ice maker and needing to do another load of laundry from the wet towels, everything is fine.

Thank God I was home and decided to not go watch Brody play hockey. The water had already reached the basement, so if I hadn’t caught it right away, we definitely would’ve had another major disaster on our homeowners’ hands.

Have you ever had any water disasters in your house or maybe growing up?
Do you have a go-to person for home-related problems? A husband, relative, or neighbor?


5 thoughts on “Home Disasters with Water

    • Ha – definitely not what I expected in the first few years of being a homeowner. It’s unrealistic to think nothing like this will ever happen, but not like this 😦
      Our auto insurance also came in handy when Brody was in a car accident a couple winters ago.

  1. Oh, isn’t it fun being a grown up and a homeowner??? 🙂 When I was 18, my parents went out of town for the weekend and I was in charge of the house. The temps dropped to SIX degrees – it was so freaking cold. I came home from hanging out with my friends one day and found a waterfall flowing from the upstairs into our kitchen – the entire downstairs was flooded! A pipe had burst in the attic. It took forever for the restoration people to get our house back to normal!

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