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Plumbing Problems

January 12, 2019

We have been through a week long ordeal that clearly did not have to last that long or be this frustrating. I really can’t stand dishonesty. Taking advantage of people in an emergency situation is unforgivable.

This situation started last Sunday evening when I walked into our master bath and heard water running although nothing was turned on. We start running around trying to figure out what the noise was and discovered our backyard flooded as though 5 inches of rain had fallen in an hour. We shut the water off and monitored the water pouring out from under the back of our house for another half hour.

Sunday evening nothing we can do till Monday morning. Our first inclination was to call the folks that did a bunch of repairs for us when we bought the house, but after laying awake ruminating I thought it was best to call our home warranty company, we paid for it might as well try to use it.

The first set back was we were not likely going to get a plumber out till Thursday. OK it is just the two of us we can deal, filled up gallon jugs in order to flush toilets, rinse off dishes and drink.  Got a cheap hotel room nearby for one night to take showers.

Wednesday came and we get a call that the detection team is ahead of schedule and they will be stopping by within the hour. Woo Hoo!!! Mind you we were expecting the worst, the amount of water gushing from under the back of the house was in my opinion catastrophic.

The team shows up and gets to work after we summarize what we experienced.

Red Flag #1, we are all standing in master bath but can’t hear the water gushing, plumber says “oh I hear it”. There was absolutely no noise like I heard before.

Red Flag #2, While they are running the air into the pipes, Clay and I clearly observe water gushing from a pipe in the area of the secondary cutoff at the front of the house that faces towards the back.

Red Flag #3 The head dude on the team (whom we discover later is the company owner) claims he hears water under the master bedroom closet and they will have to tunnel under the house to repair. We ask about the water we observed and his reply “the water is following the path of least resistance” Um OK? Basically he is saying ignore what your eyes observed, this is what is really happening.

Red Flag #4 After initially telling us the warranty company will only pay $500 towards the total bill suddenly he back tracks and says “oh sometimes they will pay up to $1000. but I tell customers $500 so they don’t expect $1000.

Finally we have a detailed estimate and our hearts sank, the total was over $6000, to tunnel under the house, jack hammer the sidewalk, replace pipe under the house and rebuild sidewalk. No way we can afford this and my gut is telling me this is ridiculously high. Now, if we hadn’t had a bunch of plumbing work done when we bought the house back in the spring I likely wouldn’t have questioned his estimate. We decide to pay the detection fee and seek a second opinion.

Boy are we glad we got a second opinion. We went from over $6000 to a simple repair costing around $750. Turns out the leak was as we witnessed, the pipe on the secondary cutoff valve had come apart as seen in the pics below, no tunneling, no jackhammer, just a new valve and section of pipe replaced. The water we heard gushing under the master bath was simply the water from that pipe gushing under the house along the foundation beam, following that and running out under the back of the house.

We are very disappointed we were clearly being taken advantage of in an emergency situation. At this time we are not identifying the bad company, we will report them to the warranty company, after all they are basically getting screwed also and discuss a possible refund for the detection fee (good luck getting that back). The company we got the second opinion from would like to stay anonymous.

Moral of the story, go with your gut, get a second opinion if possible and don’t always trust reviews. The bad company has glowing yelp reviews.

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