Our beautiful new home has been flooded.
I'm sure some of you are aware that our water softener was plumbed incorrectly. They forgot to install the drain for the water softener so whoever installed the softener itself put the drain tubes for it down the nearest drain -- the one in the drain pan for the water heater. I should also mention that all of this is in the laundry on the second floor.
Well for some reason the drain pan for the water heater drains to the back yard. I have some theories about why but none of them are very compelling. In any case the water softener mustn't drain to the back yard as it will probably kill the lawn (if I can ever afford a lawn).
I contacted the builder about this as soon as I discovered the mistake and they contacted their plumber -- this was two weeks ago; the plumber never came by to fix the problem.
This morning (Friday) I went downstairs to bake some cornbread and noticed one of those drywall tape bubbles that are often the first indication of a serious problem. Then into the kitchen where I stepped into a huge puddle of water.
My best guess is that that pipe that drains outside got plugged up with ice thanks to the cold weather we're having. The plumber says that for the water heater that's not a problem because water spilling from a water-heater is usually very hot. I hope he's right if I ever do have a water heater leak. Anyway, I guess it got frozen and the water from the softener backed up and spilled over the sides of the drain pan.
The builder showed up pretty quick to look at the damage and had the plumber there in no time. Originally the plumber was going to correct his mistake by running the drain tubes around the walls or through the ceiling over to the laundry drain. But since the ceiling was already destroyed I told him to forget about that and do it right -- put the drain in the wall where it was supposed to be! He was hesitant to rip open my ceiling and wall but I insisted that at this point he could rip apart anything he wanted to since he was going to be paying to replace it all anyway.
I went to work and Rebecca took the kids to her Mom's. Hours later the plumber came back to start working and a guy from a restoration company came by to find all the damage and start getting everything dried up.
It turns out it was way worse than I originally thought. About half of John's room needed to be ripped up, and some of Noah's. The entire upstairs hallway. Most of the first floor ceiling and some of the carpet. A good portion of the kitchen floor will have to be replaced, and some of the walls. I don't think any of our personal property was damaged (though various things are a little wet right now).
The entire house is still under warranty with the builder so we won't be paying for anything. The builder is coordinating all the repairs for us, but we do need to be there to let them in and such. It should take them a few days into next week to fix it.
We're staying at a hotel, which the builder will be paying for. I also put a stop on the check I wrote to the plumber last week which hadn't cleared yet. I don't intend to decide if he gets any money from me until this is over.
Everyone has been very pleasant about the problem and eager to make things right. It's even a good thing in one way because I finally managed to convince the plumber to fix it right. It's also been good because I've been able to practice my negotiation skills -- I'm getting much better. I called the inspector I hired before closing and got him to refund me half of his fee. I could have pushed for all of it but given how unusual the problem was I thought half was probably fair.
Rebecca was wonderful about the whole thing and took care of everything while I was at work. She did an excellent job of it too. I couldn't have wanted to go through this disaster with anyone else at my side.
I'm grateful that I was baking this morning. Baking relaxes me, and the smell of fresh cornbread was was extremely pleasant under all that stress. If I hadn't had to bake for the security team breakfast at work I'm sure I would have been furious all morning.