Water leak/damage from upstairs laundry advice

We got home tonight and there was some water leaking on our main floor ceiling right under where our washing machine is on the top floor.

laundry room but dry higher up where the pipes attach to the hoses. There was also water on the floor under the machine. I turned off the cold water (hot is always off) and saw that there was some buildup of water near the valves as well.
I'm planning on calling the person builders representative first thing tomorrow but the house is over 1 year old so I'm weary of them not taking responsibility. First off, who is the best people to deal with and assess the situation? Would the builder liable even after 1 year for this type of problem? Any other recommendations on what we should do? Since it looks like the problem could get worse and I'm even weary of the structural integrity I hope we can get this figured out soon. BTW, this is a newly constructed 1 year old townhome.
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
- Alex
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First, the actual cause has to be determined. Builder or a plumber could do that. Could be the valve stem leaking. I don't know what your house warranty is but the valve itself may just need tightening or it may be covered by the manufacturer. Consequential damage is usually not covered.
If it was defective joint by the original plumber, the builder may be liable. Read your warranty.
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liability aside homeowners should cover the costs, and then its up to them to recover costs from whoever might be responsible.
you need to upgrade your laundry room add a washer drain pan and auto shutoff valve so it never occurs again. a main floor drain should be required in all laundry rooms of new homes.
this is a very common problem and costly for insurance which ultimately raises everyones rates
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

It used to be that this was almost always covered by better homeowners insurance packages. But, as you noted, it's become a very expensive problem. Rather than keep raising rates for everyone, more and more insurance policies exclude some or all of this sort of damage.
You could find that the pipe itself is not covered, and if tearing open the wall reveals that this is an ongoing leak you just discovered, the water damage from the leak may also be limited or excluded. Mold, fungus, or rot resulting from the leak may also be limited or excluded.
Read your policy and talk to your agent before you decide to file a claim for this sort of damage.
For an upstairs laundry, I strongly recommend a pan under the machine, preferably one that drains to the outside, with a discharge that's visible to the neighbors. I also would suggest an automatic shutoff valve set for the hoses. (The valve controller senses current flow to the machine and opens the valves, then closes them when power flow stops. Like turning off the hoses between each use, but automatic so you won't forget.)
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snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
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I do a lot of work in townhouses built by one large builder. The laundry closet is on the second floor. Downstairs is the cottage cheese/popcorn type ceilings. I can always tell when they have had a leak because the ceiling is almost never the same. It seems that these units have a history of plumbing problems. If there isn't one there now I would suggest the installation of a pan under the washing machine. If your water heater is on the second floor I recommend a pan under that also. You should also get in the habit of turning off the water to the washer when finished. A one handled valve is made to make this an easy step.
As Edwin suggested find out what the cause was and what the solution is before pointing fingers. It is quite possible that the builder will take responsibility for the problem and help get it resolved, but I wouldn't bet on it.
My sister bought a six year old house several years ago. For quite a while she noticed a wet spot in the crawl space, but didn't think much of it. One day she had a company come in to clean her ducts. One guy removed a vent cover and a bunch of water started to shoot out. The vent cover screw was drilled into a water pipe for the bathroom on the other side of the wall. This was from the original installation by whoever installed the vent cover. It had dripped into the crawlspace for several years.
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Also, before contacting your insurance company, I'd figure out what it's going to cost to fix it, assuming the builder won't. And check your deductible. If you're only going to collect a couple hundred bucks after the deductible, I wouldn't involve the insurance company. There's a good chance they will raise your rates enough that you don't come out ahead.
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or the machine? What I would do is buy to caps for the hot and cold water supply Screw them on turn the water back on then see if you have a leak water ( water dripping on your main floor) that will determine if supply are leaking. After that I would take one of the Washing machine supply hose and put it down the stand pipe ( Washing machine drain) turn the water on let it run ( you don't need blast it ) that will determine if the drain is leaking. If nothing is leaking the plumbing should be good. You can take each your supply hose and loop the from the hot to the cold turn the water on to see if they are good. Next would be something with the machine itself. I will assume you have a sheet rock ceiling below the laundry room If you see any discoloration ( water spot) or if a drip my advice would be to drill a couple small holes to drain any water build if it gets to wet it could come down. The only structural problem would most likely be sheet rock damage and the possibility of mold from moister. If the plumbing is bad contact the builder see what they say and take it from there. just remember nobody wins a argument so just see what they say I'll bet if it's a plumbing problem they will resolve it. If it's your machine it's on you, also if you go threw your home owners policy it might raise your rates so do your home work.
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insurance company consider this first---If there is the chance that there will be considerable work--and expense--- to find and stop the leak along with any reconstruction, be smart and get a Public Appraiser. Do this even before talking to your insurance company. He will act as your agent, deal with the insurance company and in the end you will be way better dollar wise even after his fee. MLD
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