Hump Day: Water is always a sneaky and unwanted home intruder

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

As I write this, I’m sitting here at home with a roof full of snow and eavestroughs full of ice. It’s warm and the thick blanket of snow and ice on the roof is melting fast. By the time you read this, it will be frozen again and the melting will have stopped, but at the moment, it’s melting.

And as luck would have it, the melting water is finding its way like a sneaky magician through my kitchen window. That’s not good. While I’ve rigged up a contraption to catch the dripping water and divert it to the sink, it’s still not good. I’ve never experienced this in nearly 13 years in this house. Thankfully, the other windows seem OK — at least for now. It’s set to turn to freezing cold in a few hours, so that should at least stop the leak for the time being.

Sure, I’ve heard of homeowners having to remove the snow from their roofs as a preventative measure, but I had my roof done a few years ago and thought I was good. In fact, I still believe the roof is fine, but we need to remember that melting water can follow canals into the snow, icicles and a variety of other things to find its way into your home. Water will find its way in if it can, you can bet on that!

water leakWater can cause a lot of damage in a home. In my years of home ownership, I’ve had the pleasure of a few disasters, including two sewer backups — with one of them occurring on Christmas Eve. No stress there, eh? Eventually, the issues were fixed and the problem won’t happen again after two basement renovations.

And then there was the leak in the basement wall that was fixed. Nothing like water gushing out of your wall to relax you. Then some drain tiles had to be replaced to fix another leak. The basement’s dry now, finally, but the new carpet from the last sewer backup needs to be replaced now because it’s stained. Since insurance didn’t cover the leak in the wall, the carpet will stay stained for a while until I bite the bullet and replace it. And trust me, carpet will never be put in the basement again!

Oh, and then there was the time a cat decided to play with the filter on a 55-gallon fish aquarium causing about 35 gallons of water to pour out of the tank while I was at work. Yeah, the insurance company loved that one. At least I was able to get my hardwood floors redone. I also had to move out of my house for a week.

I hate water. I really do. It can do so much damage in a house. After I told my story of the aquarium to a friend of mine, she told me about the time she left the kitchen and left the tap on, fully intending on returning a minute later. She got distracted, ended up leaving the house for a few hours and came back to a complete disaster as water had poured out of the sink for hours and gone through the floor into the basement. Oh, that was an expensive one for the insurance company, too.

After all, insurance is for accidents. As that well-known insurance company radio jingle goes,“Things happen!”

I’ve walked away from the sink when I’m filling it up to do dishes, too. You leave to get a clean dishtowel, the telephone rings and you answer it. A few minutes later, you return to the kitchen to find the sink either overflowing or just about to. I remember hanging up on my mother so fast once that I’m sure she thought I was being a bit oversensitive after she told me what she had for supper.

No, I wasn’t offended by the fact that she had a bowl of corn chowder for supper. In the middle of our conversation, I looked back at the sink that I’d forgotten about and saw that the water about to start pouring onto the floor because I’d left the water on. “I had clam chowder for supper, my beloved son.” Then I screamed and hung up. Of course, I had to call her back to tell her I was trying to avoid turning my kitchen floor into a swimming pool. (Also, she may not have exactly said “my beloved son.”)

I’m not a fan of corn chowder, but I’m not going to start screaming and hanging up on people if they tell me they’ve had a bowl. I’ll just stick to, “Oh that’s gross!” for now. I’ll leave the screaming and hanging up on people for when they tell me they just had a meal of liver and onions.

I’ve made arrangements for a contractor to come to the house this week to clear the roof of the remaining ice and snow. I’ve never had this problem in previous years. The roof was done a few years ago. I can see from the outside where the water is coming in. It’s so maddening. I can’t reach it without risking injury, so I’ll just have to wait for the freeze to take care of it and then deal with the snow and ice.

This one-day-long thaw/freeze cycle is not good for the house, my roof, my windows or my nerves. I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing this in the area. I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I was having a problems and others chimed in that the same thing was happening to them!

I know one thing for sure! From now on, I’m taking some preventive measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. While my insurance company has always been very helpful, I hate having things happen in the house that cause me to call them. Thankfully, it only happens very rarely. Needless to say, these rare calls usually end in half the house being torn up for repairs. Even if someone else is paying for it, it’s still a huge inconvenience and in the end, we all end up paying for it through higher rates.

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