Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.
This new year was a surprise in more ways than one. It was the first year we went away for the holidays spending 2 weeks in sunny Southern California. Upon returning home on Jan. 5th, we discovered our water pipe downstairs broke due to the freeze. Here is our story.
- Jan. 2018
Background and Day by Day Log
Jan. 5 - Arrived home at 8:30 am after a red eye flight from John Wayne Airport. Found our house was in crisis. The fire alarm was blasting and steam everywhere. A quick check found a busted hot water pipe in our den. The ceiling had collapsed due to the weight of the water. All rooms were steamed up and condensation everywhere. The only dry place was the basement. About 2 inches of standing water was on the floor of the den. I quickly shut off the main water line to the house.
After the initial shock, we try to pump out the water using a portable sump pump. My son went around and took photos to document all the damage. I called the Amica Insurance 800 number to file a claim.
The agent on the line was very helpful and professional. She took down the basic information and instructed me to contact a local plumber to take care of the leak and get the heat going. She contacted Belfor, a disaster mitigation specialist, and I received a call back within an hour. The rep. said he will come by in an hour to assess the damage.
I used HomeAdvisor and found a few local plumbers. I called a few but they were busy but one said he would stop by after his current job.
By noon, the plumber showed up and fixed the broken pipe. It was an easy fix and cost $250. He then started the oil burner to get the heat circulating. It will take a while for the heat to come back up. It was 5 degrees outside.
The Belfor rep. showed up while the plumber was still here. He assessed the damage and took a few quick photos and quickly called his office to arrange for delivery of 10 large industrial de-humidifiers.
They came by 5 pm and setup the de-humidifiers in every room of the house. They run hoses to our sinks so we don’t need to worry about draining.
The pipe that busted
1/6/2018 - Second Day
1/6/2018 - 8:30 am, the Belfor rep. arrived at our door along with a crew of 9 people. They were very professional and started taking down the sheet rock and ripping up the flooring that was damaged. They also boxed everything and sent some books and photo albums to their warehouse to dry out. After cleaning up, they installed large fans everywhere to keep the air circulating along with the de-humidifiers. They were done by 3 pm. We are able to use our kitchen and the bedrooms and bathrooms.
1/7/2018 - Sunday, we just stayed home and kept warm. We stayed mostly in our bedroom and watched TV. It was still very cold outside.
1/8/2018 - 11 am. The Amica adjuster arrived at our door. He explained the situation and walked around every room of the house. He took photos and wrote up a detailed damage report. He was very thorough and professional. It took about 2 hours and he left. He said the process will take about a week and we should be receiving a check soon. It will cover all the damages minus our $500 deductible. Also, if the repair goes higher than his estimate, we can file claim for additional adjustments. He was very fair and straight with us.
Day Six - 1/10/2018
Today, 3 workers from Belfor came with a large U Haul truck and picked up all the de-humidifiers and fans. There were a total of 20 machines.
Our house is finally dried out and the quietness is a blessing. Those fans were very noisy.
Day 11 - 1/15/2018
Today I received the estimated damage from the adjuster. It is a fair estimate but he said there are some additional items he would pursue. He has contacted a restoration company on some of my artwork and antique cabinets.
Day 13 - 1/17/2018
I received a call from a service personnel from:
The Conservation Center
“Conserving Art Coast to Coast”
400 N. Wolcott, Chicago, IL 60622
She asked me to send her photos of the items and their dimensions. They will arrange for shipment to pick up and work on restoration of these items. This is much more than I expected from an insurance agency.
Today, I also received the detail of my estimated repairs from the adjuster. It is a 16 pages PDF file with drawings and dimensions and costs...It is very impressive.
The rep. from Belfor also stopped by to discuss the estimate for the major repairs. I asked him to provide an estimate for the costs of repairs on the flooring, the sheetrock and the painting of all interiors of the house. He will get back to me in a few days with the cost.
2/5/2018 One month
Two man and a large van arrived to pick up the 4 items identified that needed restoration. They spent 3 hours packing the four items carefully and loaded them onto the van. It was very impressive the care they took with the items.
I must say we were extremely impressed with how everything turned out. The people were very nice and helpful. No hassels and under the circumstances, we were stressed coming home from a long vacation to a nightmare scenario, but it all turned out fine. We are very fortunate and blessed.
I want to thank Amica and Belfor and my local plumber to helping us out in a time of need. Our next door neighbor was also extremely helpful and supportive. Thank you all.
Some Related Info
- Countertop From IKEA
My recent experience with IKEA countertop replacement.
- My House Painting Experience
A recent accident of a broken pipe at our house required a full repainting of our house.
- My Floor Replacement Experience
My recent experience replacing our floor with engineered hardwood.
- BELFOR USA | BELFOR
BELFOR USA homepage. Water mitigation specialist.
- Amica Home Insurance
A great insurace company to have.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Jack Lee