An escape of water nightmare – two stories

Lucinda Wood
15th March 2018 in Know How

It happens when you least expect it. When it does, it can cause terrible damage and  wreak havoc on the building. We’re talking about escape of water.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the trade body for the insurance industry, insurers pay out around £2.5m every day to customers who’ve made ‘escape of water’ claims on their home insurance. Nearly one in five claims made on buildings and contents insurance is for damage caused by leaks.

Today, we’re talking to Thomas M and Bernd S, and hearing their stories about their personal experiences with escape of water and learning about which measures they took to avoid damage.

Crime scene: plant room

Hello Thomas! You had a pretty peculiar case of escape of water last spring. Can you briefly describe what happened here?

Hello there, of course.

First of all, I would like to mention briefly that I gave particular attention to the protection against escape of water during the construction of my house. I’m talking about measures such as gravel, a drainage system and sloping terrain around the house. Simply put, exemplary insurance.

But?

Well, one day, I was woken by the sound of my home alarm. The lights in the house began to flash, I had a call from the Miniserver on my cell phone heard the alarm through the speakers. Looking at the app, I noticed that it was a water alarm in the plant room. I thought it was a bit strange – I suspected a false alarm, because why should there be water in the plant room?

At first, I thought to myself, ‘please let me sleep’, but then I went into the technical room anyway and immediately saw what was going on.

Through this pipe, water was able to enter the plant room from outside.

What awaited you in the plant room?

The tiled floor of the plant room was already almost completely covered with water. The water came neither from the heater nor from the water pipe. It ran in several small streams from the ceiling. There is a small cable tray for the cable management. As I took a closer look at the entry point, I found that the water was coming in through the pipe for our telephone line.

What caused it?

There was heavy rainfall last spring – parts of Europe were affected by floods. Logically, this meant a lot of water soaking into the ground. The water is then likely to have penetrated via the soil into the telephone line pipe from the telephone distributor, which is 50 meters away from the house. And voila – the water came out at the other end in our plant room.

Was anything damaged?  

Thankfully not. The water sensor detected the water early enough and the Miniserver also informed me quickly enough. The door to the plant room is made of wood and in the hall leading to the plant room is a parquet floor – I was only just able to stop the water from damaging them.

The adjoining wooden floor was spared significant damage.

In your opinion, what would have happened if your Miniserver had not informed you?

Oh my goodness, well, the water would have spread throughout the house. The office, sauna, utility room – everything would have been flooded. All parquet floor. The water would have penetrated the screed, and the result would have been catastrophic. If I had been on holiday and the water flowed unnoticed on the wooden floor for a while, this could have been much, much worse.

I would have had to renew the entire floor, including the screed, or have needed to call in experts to try and get it dry. Later effects such as mould and the awful smell that comes with flooding would’ve rounded off the disaster.

We’re glad that you were prepared accordingly and nothing was damaged! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us.

You’re welcome!

Crime scene: kitchen

Hello Bernd! Are we right to think that you’ve recently had a narrow escape with a dishwasher disaster?

You’re right – as I’m sure many others have experienced, when the dishwasher goes wrong, it’s a real headache.

Please tell us what happened at your home

With pleasure. On the 23rd of February, when my wife and I were already on our way to bed, suddenly the lights went on everywhere. The next moment I received a notification on my phone, with the message that water was detected in the kitchen.

Okay, what happened?

Well, naturally, he headed straight to the kitchen to see what the matter was, and we were dismayed to find that the tiled floor of our kitchen was soaking wet!  

The wooden frame supporting the in-built dishwasher was already warped from a slow water leak.

Where did the water come from?

I immediately realised that our dishwasher was the source of the leak. I opened it and after a little investigation, I found that the seal had come loose and broken.

Unfortunately, when I looked closer, I realised that the seal had been loose for some time, because the entire cupboard supporting the dishwasher was softened and warped. The way I see it, the dishwasher was probably only dripping a little and going unnoticed until enough water had collected to touch the water sensor.

I felt a mixture of relief and concern.

Why did you feel concerned?

On the one hand, I was relieved that the water had not seeped into the wooden floor below, which would have caused a great deal of damage, but on the other hand, I was also a bit annoyed. After all, every new dishwasher now has an integrated water sensor…which apparently is useless since it didn’t register the leak.

Good thing I installed an additional water sensor.

True, one shouldn’t leave it to chance. Thank you for your time Bernd and hopefully, the seal on your next dishwasher will be a little better!

Sure. Yes, I hope so too!

Be prepared, just in case

Even something as small as a water sensor can play a big role in helping to protect your home from the damage caused by the escape of water. Discover our Water Sensor Air today.

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