I've always tried to have a positive, helpful spin on all my posts. Family dramas and sadness have been left out. This post was a disaster that could have been prevented. We were complacent and overlooked the possibility of what eventually happened.
Within the last 15 years we had finished our basement, putting in a grid plastic with plywood subfloor and finished most of the 1400 sqft with laminate flooring or sheet goods. The walls were finished with wainscoting or wallboard and in my craft room-heavy pegboard above wallboard.
WE had two sump pumps and just had a new water filtration system, new furnace, new electrical to 200 amps and sewer/plumbing upgraded last year. We had an unused generator in the garage---buried in the garage.
The storm all started with rain on February 23, then ICE. Thursday we had a nasty winds and ice, like much of the Midwest all the way to the East. It was moderate in our area, with continuous on/off rain. We used to be on the tail-end of a power grid which means you get fixed last if the power goes out. About 15 years ago a new subdivision was built to the west and COM-ED redid all the power grids in the area. After that we seldom had any outages and usually for only a few hours or sometimes minutes.
We hadn't had any water issues in the basement after we did a roof extensions, new gutter systems, and regrading of the yard.
We thought we were ready with candles, lighter, flashlights so if we lost power. We had water in a pitcher. I figured we could ride out a power outage. Power out at 7:30 PM, 9:00pm we were playing cards by camping light, and I could hear chirping---a plug in sensor with battery back up was chirping in the basement. I went and pulled it out and replaced the battery and walked all through the basement which was fine, nothing amiss. We went to sleep---apparently we had over and 1-1/2" of rain in-between the ice build-up that night. Some 10 large limbs and large branches crashed down in the yard. ALL but one was from neighbor's trees, only one was from one of our trees, which we actually had trimmed last year.
Here are some photos of the basement rooms as they were completed a few years back.
Family Recreation room:
The room is for my Hubby and family time filled with antiques, collectibles from family and little features like this lighted nook above a glass doored cabinet
Luckily the couches are cotton denim and I managed to lift up the skirt high enough it really didn't get wet and dried very quickly. The covers will all be washed when the weather is nice enough to hang them out, and then you put them back on slightly damp.
This table I featured in a redo post, is handy and all the legs were high enough so nothing got wet.
I have an antique trunk of my Grandmother's when she came from Denmark in 1921. It's on huge wheels, so its safe. Other pieces are all on wheels or were put up quickly.
Our finished woodsy/fishing decor-
This freezer is okay...but the wall behind it will be totally removed.
My craft doll room:
The new doll houses we will try and remove tonight. With their extensions they are a little tricky. All the decor has already been carefully boxed up with the help of my family and sorted.
The sink has been removed, the corner desks are dismantled, I'm hoping the cabinet on the left (empty vickie's vintage) can stay (its on wheels.) We will take down the table or use it to hold things, this room is 12 feet wide at its widest point so we have 4' in the middle to put things. I'll wrap everything in plastic or have someone do it.
This was taken in January...for the doll Mystery story.
I had consolidated this wall on Sunday, now I WILL have to take everything and box it up, and everything below already upstairs in the extra bedroom or on the porch.
My shipping shop:(shop is closed at the moment)
I had 8 bins and too many cardboard boxes and shipping supplies in this room, we already removed. I still have a huge shelving unit of supplies and smalls boxed to remove or find a sliver of floor to put it.
Here is a good shot of my gorgeous floors, vinyl laminate, I loved it!
My ETSY shop storage, the numbers are for keeping track where an item is stored. Only thing I lost in this room were paper products, (the suitcases safe and sound and up on a shelf unit. Plastic bins, shelving units and tubs are the only way to go. This room is only 6 feet wide, so everything will leave even items on the wall.
THE STORAGE ROOM: this is the disaster room!
I have quite few metal shelving units in here---but they are jam packed. Forty years of doing art shows really needs to be weeded out. Also left overs from my 10 years as a shop owner---I really need to let all these things go!
This is an older photo, but you can see the sub-floor with the unfinished surface here, but most things are up---or in plastic, safe and sound from 2" of water.
My husband's office, I have no photos of---everything in there was in plastic or on shelves, the entire wall closet is full of holiday and entertaining items---which may have to be removed yet.
Laundry/canning: I don't have photos---but its has plastic shelving. This is the area nearest the sump pumps and well tank, and where the black mold was found. A wall will have to be removed here...UGH!
Back to the DISASTER!
Friday the 24th morning-power still out, I'm at the optometrist the the talking about the outages---and the Doc said his neighbor had 6" of water in the basement from a sump pump failure.
I immediately called home in the middle of my exam and hubby checked, we had 2-3 inches in the entire basement. I got home in a half hour and waded around rescuing anything that needed to be up. I went upstairs to the bathroom. I heard when the power kicked back on and the two sump pumps overloaded the pipes all the way to the sewer (110 feet)away and then began to backup, I was right above where the pipes exit the home. But, the back up was with force, splattered all over and the counters full because, it filled the two sinks, and even entered the dishwasher which was full of dishes. (The dishwasher is okay and now serviced and sanitized.)
But have you ever done dishes in hot water with Lysol and bleach? I soaked our dishes from the dishwasher in that and then washed again and super hot rinse. Any textured plastics were thrown away (ie.cutting boards, glasses.
Luckily I got the icky water off the wood counters and bleached immediately. They will need to be sanded and reoiled. We had just oiled a month ago---so most was protected, only where there was scraping wear. I never prepare food on the sink side counters. Everything is done on the island.
NOTE: Our sumps are strictly used for rain water run off from around the foundation which is pretty clear, but this was YUCKY backup from all the pipes going forward! All this happened in about 2-3 minutes.
Hubby walked in the door and the main floor kitchen floor was covered with sewer silt, and BLACK water splattered everywhere. So now we had two levels of disaster.
HERE are a few suggestions for a positive spin on this post.
1: Have your generator checked each year, primed and gas ready nearby and a fresh spark plug on hand. OURS wouldn't start and was not accessible without extreme chaos. We can't even remember when it was last used.
2: Pull out the plug on the extra sump pump (if you have two) during an outage, it may overload your drainage capacity if they both kick on to remove 2" x 1400 sq. feet=that's 233 cubic feet of water, yep I used a calculator and my son is in boilers and pumps. This is conservative, because it was up to 3" in some areas.
3: REALLY Consider a battery back up system for sump pumps. Better yet, have a generator available for at least that. Of course if you need to run a furnace, freezers, refrigerator, water pump (wells) you will need a much larger generator system. With the continued insane weather issues we all are suffering through, this is definitely a thought for homeowners, even renters if you are allowed.
4:OUR FAULT: Now you are going to say in your head, what about insurance? Our insurance has a rider system. Hubby hadn't updated it since we did the floors, so we had 5K$ ceiling on a sump-pump failure. No wonder every time there are power failures the streets are piled high with furniture, carpeting and walls, floors, and no repair trucks.
The Sanitation estimate from the insurance recommended company was $30K....not counting removing everything in the basement all at once. And nothing on repairing or replacing. We settled for the full 5K and are jobbing out to small local companies what we can't do ourselves.
But, we started with help from friends and family---got half way through and hit some serious OLD BLACK mold, which had been treated years ago and then fired up again with the new water. I reacted immediately upstairs and had to leave the house. We are now on day 7 and still waiting on estimates to remove the rest of everything, haul all the flooring and some walls, and ruined items (luckily we got most things up---since it was only 2-3" of water. (Moving Company will come on March 6-7). We are waiting on the sanitation company to have the entire basement treated for MOLD. Dishwasher was serviced yesterday under warrantee and is good to go---the service man even sanitized it for us. All our appliances are now all from ABT and we can't say enough good things about them or their services.
I had to move to my son's house once the black mold was exposed, I'm horribly allergic to mold. Medications weren't enough to keep me breathing even through a super-duper mask.
Dishwasher was serviced yesterday under warantee and is good to go---the service man even sanitized it for us. All our appliances are now all from ABT and we can't say enough good things about them or their service team.
+ Our water heater is okay, but had to be serviced $110, +furnace is good, + Freezer is fine, +pumps are good, +water treatment system is good, +no electrical was damaged, as all electrical was installed waist or counter top HIGH. +Furniture may be fine, but we will evaluate that---later. Everything is on legs, even the cabinets. The oak desk is the only one saturated below-and it is so big, it may leave permanently.
TIP 4: We will increase the rider on insurance to cover sump pump failure as well as install a generator for basic household functions, (when we can). Seriously 30k to clear 1400 square feet plus more $$$$ for removal of everything first. And, you must leave a 4-foot clearance from the walls.
TIP 5: No more procrastinating, I will downsize, sell, donate anything that is excess that is in pulled out of the house.
Where we are on DAY 6. We have upstairs, the enclosed porch and a 10x10 tent unit set up to put things. Seriously, I'm not going to live long enough to use all the supplies or do the projects I have stashed. Family items have been gone through in the past, but I will go through all those bins again, too! And, we will have a fabulous sale in my ETSY shop when I am able to get it up and running if I ever get my house back in order first.
We still don't know what this will all cost---still waiting on estimates, still on DAY 7! So far we have spent at least $700 on tubs, totes, plastic bags, Bleach--cleaning supplies, gloves, masks, a durable tent, (floor for the tent) and heavy duty rugs for the front door and back door. I know I will have to have the new rug in the living room cleaned, I may just roll it up and clean it on the patio in spring.
Personally, I can deal with problems, but I hate dealing with UNKNOWNS!
THIS TOO, SHALL PASS!
I HOPE YOU are READY FOR a
Stay tuned, tomorrow I will take photos of the stacks of rubbish and the outside, and have hubby take photos of basement (before the movers and sanitation experts are here.)
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