The incredible leaking house

Just remember, when you stop one leak, God will provide you with another… I think that’s the proverb. At least that seems to be the appropriate one for this house.

For those of you not currently enjoying the wonderful heatwave up here in the Northeast, you’ve also just missed out on one frightening bit o’ thunderstorm that hit these parts. We’re talking non-stop thunder, lightening strikes that seemed only blocks away, winds that sent rain horizontal, and hail. That’s right, freakin’ hail. I don’t know about you guys, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw hail around here. While it may be common elsewhere, that’s freaky weather for me.

Thanks to our recent gutter cleaning, all of the basement leaks appeared to be holding well. No big deal considering how quickly these vicious storms can pass. But I kept hearing some strange noise along with the howling winds. Eventually I tracked it down to a window at the top of our stairs – one which we, of course, just recently talked about replacing. I’ve seen it leak a little before, but after five minutes of the torrential downpour outside the sill was overflowing and a stream of water was heading down some steps. Oh joy, because I just love every square inch of my house constantly being under threat of a random soaking.

Fortunately a bunch of extra towels and an old comforter stopped it up. But it got me thinking of the water issues in this house and how they keep staying one step ahead of me:

  1. Initial water found in basement.
  2. All boxes are moved to dry locations.
  3. Dry locations quickly become wet, too.
  4. Front gutters are cleaned stopping the leaks.
  5. Major storm dumps enough water to cover the entire basement floor – outright mocking my previous work.
  6. Basement is cleaned to the point that only major storms will affect it – good enough for me.
  7. Damp sheet rock is discovered in soon-to-be-built nursery.
  8. All gutters are cleaned, no more dampness in soon-to-be-built nursery.
  9. Water heater EXPLODES filling basement with 2-3 inches of water.
  10. Water heater is replaced. Everything in the house is now dry.
  11. Upstairs window starts flooding stairwell…

WTF! Could I just go back to some of the non-water related homeowner problems? Wait, we’re just about to renovate the kitchen. So please, a reprieve on homeowner woes. I beg of you!

The good luck was bound to run out…

Here at the Slattery household, we can’t help but feel a tad blessed of late. Lots of good things have happened, from my game show appearance to The Woman’s growing belly. But we knew that something somewhat bad had to happen to slightly balance it out. And so, instead of telling you about the kitchen renovation plans, the great deals we got on the last appliances, or my big upgrade purchase I get to wonder about why I didn’t buy this emergency water pump during the big flood last year…

This morning I was awoken by The Woman commenting that there was no hot water. There have definitely been a few mornings when my shower has been on the cool side or shortened because I was second in line, but no hot water at all is a real conundrum. Everything else was running just fine, so it’s not like PSE&G decided to cut us off because I still can’t figure out the stupid login for the account. So I headed down to the basement to check on the flame and hopefully get it back up and running in no time.

Unfortunately as I approached the basement door I heard a sound I definitely did not want to hear – running water… Crap. At first glance the floor looked to have only a few puddles, but those were apparently just reflections. Because once I threw my sandals on, I found myself sloshing through 2-3 inches of water to get to the shutoff valve. Yeehaw! For those of you who don’t know how water heaters work, just realize that it’s about the same as a pipe in that if it breaks… well… there’s nothing to stop the flow of water.

The frustrating thing is that we’ve been having discussions about replacing the stupid thing this summer. But there were no real indications (at least in my mind) that an upgrade was a huge priority. Certainly nothing that said a flood was imminent.

At least just about everything was moved off the ground due to the previous flooding problems. It looks like just some CDs and DVDs that were on the lowest shelves may be ruined, and the pump from Home Depot did a pretty good job so far with some more clean up work to be done tonight. So we still can’t complain that much, but this is more than just a minor inconvenience since the hot water is off until a plumber can come by. Not to mention, I don’t feel very eco-friendly wasting a few hundred gallons of water to wash the basement floor…