Flood in the living room looking toward the dining room. Seconds after discovery. ©missykuester.com
It’s that first step off the stairs that makes one weary. A couple of days ago it was the first indication that things were not okay in my house. Why would the carpet be wet and not just wet but that there would be standing water? The simple act of starting the washing machine the night before turned out to be a big regret. But I’ve done it hundreds of times. I have always said that a cup of water on the floor seems to turn into gallons. Water, water everywhere…and places it shouldn’t be.
Help is on the way as soon as I call them
I had yelled for my husband and sons as soon as I figured out what was what. Then there was this moment when I couldn’t figure out what to do next. My husband was shutting off the water and I was questioning everything and nothing at the same time. It didn’t make sense. I had my phone in my hand but it took me minutes before I could unscramble my brain and do something. So I called Todd, the landlord’s fix-it guy. He can do anything. I texted him a picture. No words you want your handyman to say, “That’s more water than I can handle.” Yeah, Todd, me too! (Todd’s the best by the way)
Suck it up, Buttercup
I called ServPro but because my house is a rental the landlord has to take financial responsibility for their services. I couldn’t get ahold of my landlord so we began sucking up water! Thankfully our neighbors came to the rescue with their Shop Vacs. And apparently, I am no indebted to them for life.
Not as cool as a wind tunnel
Then came things I never knew existed. ServPro showed up in force the next few days and measured moisture, tore out insulation and baseboards, and installed dryers, fans and heaters. I do not recommend flooding your house. However, it saved me from cleaning my house.
Yea, it’s loud in my house. The fans have run 24/7 since this thing started. I have lost hearing I think! And it makes it over 100 degrees in my house. Chocolate has melted. It’s sad.
They then installed these pads and tubes. Looks like that alien on Monsters Inc.
And as if it wasn’t challenging enough, they covered the tubes with plastic. It became a giant inflatable Twister mat with hidden tubes that you can roll your ankle on.
What to do to ensure your washer doesn’t flood your house
I have found that it’s best to learn from other people’s experiences versus trying these things for yourself. So take it from us. Here are some things you can do so that this doesn’t happen to you.
Use a tray underneath your washer. You can buy one at Home Depot for a fraction of the cost to clean up the water. Some even have drains that you can have a plumber connect and run outside.
If possible install a drain in your laundry room.
There are also water alarms you can place on the floor of your laundry room that will scream at you when it detects water. Again you can get them at any local Lowe’s, Home Depot or local hardware. Alarms will go off, alerts will be sent, and a disaster avoided.
My neighbor added water detection to her alarm system for less than $20 a month that will send an alert to your phone if a leak is detected.
If you build a house, be mindful of where you build the laundry room. Can it be built lower than the rest of the house? For example, a step down from the rest of the house. Our laundry room is next to our kitchen at the same height.
Service your washing machine often. Ours gave us no indication anything was about to go wrong.
Do not run the washer overnight or while you are gone
Install flooring that can act as a barrier. Water in our house seeped underneath ruining the wood under the flooring.
I am sure there are other things that I’m not thinking of right now. So please leave a comment and tell me what more people can do.
The moral of the story…
Water is destructive. I now see why floods are disastrous. There are things you can do to ward off such an event. We blame ourselves for not taking precautions. We have lived in 15 houses since we got married and not one of them had any of the things mentioned above.
At the end of the day, my floors got clean, nothing of mine was destroyed, and we were always safe and had a place to sleep at night. Inconveniences were our biggest problems. We drank more alcohol than we should have but learned a valuable lesson. Besides, the obvious lessons learned from the malfunctioning washer there are life lessons. Learn from other people’s misfortunes. Water, like life, is unpredictable and takes unknown and unpredictable paths. It can be a source of life or it can drown you. We can go with the flow or fight the current. One thing we can’t do is stand in the stream of water and fail to make a decision. And sometimes, you don’t even want to be in the water but that’s where you end up.