So. I have good news! Ed did NOT throw away the pants he found in the wall! They are in a trash can in the basement and as soon as I can get some decent pictures of them I will be posting an update. We will get to find out all there is to know about the pants. Okay, maybe not everything, but at least we’ll get to see if there’s anything in the pockets! Ha!
And now, let’s talk about the house – again – and probably always – because, as someone recently pointed out, this place is one writing prompt after another. Today’s prompt: Burst Pipes
Monday morning started similar to all weekdays with my sleepy household slowly waking up to prepare for a day of school and work. I was just about to begin blow drying my hair when I heard water moving in the radiator next to where I sat. Weird, I thought, but whatever. Then Ed came into our room to tell me that a pipe burst and water was coming into the living room – which is directly below the master bedroom where I heard the water moving in the radiator. I hurried downstairs to see what I could see. The first things I noticed were the sound of water running through the walls, which is quite eerie and unsettling, and the smell of an old musty house. This house has never smelled old or musty so the smell was surprising and disturbing. On closer observation I noticed water gurgling out of the wall behind our couch. It looked like water coming out of a drinking fountain. The area rug was wet and our couch – our brand new couch – was in the line of fire of the gurgling water. Ed was working to get the water turned off while I ran back upstairs to see if I could turn off the radiator valve in case that would help anything. Next, Allison and I grabbed parts of the couch and moved it to safety. After shutting off the water main and the boiler Ed helped move the rest of the couch into the dining room and I grabbed some beach towels to mop up the water on our antique wood floors. Then, I went upstairs and finished blow drying my hair… I figured that the urgent stuff was under control and blow drying my hair was kind of important. You don’t want to see this mass of hair in an air-dried state – trust me!
I’m happy to say that the couch didn’t get a single drop of water on it. And I think we started mopping up the water before it had a chance to seep into the floors.
The next order of business was calling the insurance company and getting the claim going. Ed was instructed to call Service Master right away. He did and they were at our house within an hour. In a word, they’ve been amazing. They have listened to every concern I have and have addressed each issue according to proper protocol and my requests. One thing that caught me off guard was that they wouldn’t cut a hole into the wall to access the damage in there without running tests on the materials. This wasn’t going to work for us since the damage needed to be repaired and there wasn’t time to wait for test results. Annnddd, apparently some plumbers won’t cut into a wall to access pipes so we didn’t have that option either. Fortunately, we have an awesome contractor friend who quite literally dropped everything and came over to cut a hole in our wall. You may be wondering why Ed didn’t cut the hole himself. It’s because he was on his way to the AIRPORT for a business trip. Ha! Anyway, the hole got cut, the plumber came and patched the split section, and service master came back and hooked up all their fancy equipment to suck the water out of our floor and walls. We had heat by mid afternoon! 🙂
Can you see the split in the photo above? That’s a nasty looking hole in that pipe! Here’s another view of it after it had been cut out of the wall:
Had the pipe burst hours earlier the damage and the mess would’ve been much worse because we’d have still been sleeping. If it had happened later Ed would’ve already been on his way to the airport and I’d have had to figure out the crucial stuff without him. Thank you Jesus, for taking care of us!
When the plumber started the system up again we actually had a second pipe burst and discovered that we have three additional radiators with frozen pipes. Those pipes may not burst, but rather simply thaw with this warm weather we’re having. We caught the second burst before it could do much besides drip through the ceiling in one spot. I’m thankful that it happened while the plumber was still here. He shut down some valves to the affected radiators and gave me a tutorial on how to shut things down if something else should happen. Knowledge is power, after all, and knowing how to protect of our old house is essential in taking care of her.
As a little side note; a man who Ed knows gave him this awesome book:
It’s kind of like an owner’s manual for old houses. I LOVE instruction manuals! No joke. I will sit in my car with the owner’s manual and go through it section by section familiarizing myself with how my car works and all the cool stuff it can do. See all the sticky tabs sticking out of the book? Those are reference markers so I can easily find things that pertain to our house. I now understand what kind of heating system we have and the basics of how it works. Along with what makes an antique chimney lean and why it’s important to have a chimney lined. I even have a small understanding of what causes a circuit to break resulting in a blown fuse or tripped breaker. And, I’ve started doing some research on using a special anti-freeze in a boiler system like ours. It’s all incredibly fascinating!
Anyway, back to the burst pipe and the clean up process. Service Master has sealed up our living room with plastic and tape, and they’ve hooked up fans and dehumidifiers to dry up our floor and walls. Now, we wait for everything to get dry. The plumber will be back to start-up those radiators that have frozen pipes. And then putting everything back together can happen.
Until then we have living room furniture in the dining room, a plastic wall, holes in the wall, frozen pipes that may pop, and very loud fans going 24/7. We also have heat, electricity, water, food, and our health – so I really have nothing to complain about. God has put people in front of this who are taking very good care of us, and He has provided everything we need. Yesterday in the midst of it all I was a bit stressed and nervous that something else was going to happen, especially in the middle of the night when I wouldn’t know about it until morning. I just kept thinking about how God brought us to this house. I truly believe that He means this house to be used for our good and His glory. No matter what kind of stuff comes up we still love it here and feel like this is home. Like for this moment in time we get to be the caretakers of this old girl. Like our family and this house were meant for each other. And the best part is that God brought us together. A sweet blessing for sure. 🙂
Do you have any pipe bursting or home owner disaster stories? How about anti-freeze, specifically Propylene Glycol, in the boiler system – do you have any opinions on that? I’d love to hear what kind of things you’ve had to deal with.
Now, I’m going to head outside, away from the noise of these hard-working fans, to the peace and quiet of a snowy meadow. The fresh air and warm weather will feel so good! I hope you get to enjoy this mild day too.