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.
wall were the pipes are as the wall is wet toward the bottom in the
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.
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.
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
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.)
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
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
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.
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.
The first thing you have to do is Determine what is leaking is the plumbing
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.
If you have no luck with your builder and need to deal with you homeowner's
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.
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