Repairs, Maintenance and Renovations
A Water Heater Casualty
From the CCI Review 2021/2022—November 2021 issue of the CCI London Chapter
A sixth sense (or whatever you may call it) can be helpful. Something didn’t sound right, even in my dream, in the very early hours of a beautiful morning. Sadly, some events just don’t happen on a day when you have nothing specific planned. So whatever they call that “sixth sense”, it’s a good thing to have in such a situation.
Perhaps it was de ja vu, as the sound was vaguely familiar (from years gone by). The water heater was running non-stop and called for a basement inspection. It is somehow comforting to be right.
Water was spewing out of the bottom of the water heater. I’ve learned the process over many years (in fact, I’ve written about it during my days as a manager). I heard the words twirling in my head: “TURN THE WATER OFF!” Anyone who has had any water event will understand that expletives can help especially if you haven’t had your normal quiet cup of coffee yet. It’s a must to remain calm.
I have a tendency to notice anything that would or could make an operation so much easier when dealing with a crisis. For instance, no basement is designed the way it should be, where all water follows in a narrow path directly to the drain, perhaps with a little help. So guiding the water toward the drain was essentially all that could be done to mitigate the damage until help arrived. Yes, it’s a mundane action.
Of course, we would all imagine that such a crisis in our own mind would conjure up the appropriate professionals tout de suite after we made the calls for assistance and one would assume they would be equally bothered by the predicament. It was more than likely a normal day in their world, so every call was oddly calming. The process had already begun.
- Turn the water off √
- Call the water heater company √
- Call the insurance provider (who indicated they would be in touch with the condominium manager for the appropriate insurance documents of the corporation). They will provide a listing of approved restoration companies they partner with √
- Email the condominium manager with a heads up that the insurance company would be in touch √
- Continue to guide the water toward the drain to mitigate further spread (that’s my own process) √
The water heater company does not carry around replacements so time is taken after they scope the issue and return with a new one. Getting the old heather out and the replacement in is an interesting and a relatively stressful and lengthy process. Once the replacement is in, the restoration company arrived to do their initial review, water removal and install dehumidifier and fans to dry any lingering water (the cost of electricity for this is usually the homeowner’s).
Get the help you need
The development of mould after water exposure is always concerning. Mould growth can develop quite quickly, within 24 to 48 hour and will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture.
While some would complain about the cost of electricity to run the dehumidifier and fans, they are necessary to the process of eliminating any source of moisture. It is recommended to take the advice from the professionals.
If you are doing the clean-up on your own, the best way is to remove all contaminated areas and replace with new materials. My own recommendation is to call in the professionals as they have the proper training to examine all possible areas that may be contaminated.
What comes next?
The crew from the restoration company came in the next day to check, re-organize and dispose of items that were damaged by water. The dehumidifier and fans are still your friends for a day or so to ensure all moisture is cleared.
Once the new heater is installed, make sure you review the features of it with the installer; even if there are instructions pasted on the heater.
If the valves are not clearly labelled, it would be helpful to do so. Sharing information with other residents (if any) in the unit in the event of a repeat performance would also be recommended.
This is not a process I would care to engage in again anytime soon. It was a relief to count on the professionals to do what needed to be done. So thank you to all the professionals who were involved in the process.
Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hon’s) is the current part-time Administrator for CCI-London and Area Chapter, having served in the position from April 2003 to September 2010. She received the CCI Distinguished Service Award from CCI National in November 2006. Trish was also a Director on the CCI Board from 2010-2015 when she was subsequently returned to the position of Administrator.
Trish is a condominium owner, served on the Board of Directors of the condominium she resides in for a time and a retired condominium manager.
Her experience in the different areas of condominium continues to be a benefit to the chapter and its members.
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