PlumbingAccidentFilter, UK edition
March 13, 2013 9:10 AM   Subscribe

I let the plumber in to replace the hot water tank this morning, and just got home to find that he'd flooded the floor of the 3rd floor bathroom badly enough that there's water leaking through the *extractor fan opening* of the bathroom immediately below. There's also a small run of water out of a light switch in the 2nd floor wall. The house is full of little pools of water that I don't know if they have been tracked there or have leaked through. How compromised are my electrics and what is the plumber's liability?

The plumber said that one of the valves wasn't fully closed, and he'd left water running in the assumption that it was closed while he went downstairs from the 3rd floor to his van. When he got back up he said he found that the bathroom floor was flooded.

The extractor fan set in the ceiling of the bathroom below was leaking grey water (several drops at once, like hard rain). Unthinkingly, I turned the fan and lights on, and within a minute or two it was starting to buzz and smell kind of burny. They're now turned off.

The plumber is still upstairs replacing the hot water tank, and I haven't yet paid him beyond a deposit. He works for a larger company whose number I have? What do I say when I call them? Will the electrics be all right tomorrow if I turn them all off and let them dry out, or do I need to get an electrician in?

I'm kind of panicking here. I haven't dealt with this kind of thing without backup before.
posted by Pallas Athena to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would not even let him finish. I would send him away, call the company, tell them to send over a supervisor immediately, and insist that they repair all damages, including sending an electrician at their expense, without any delay. Stay on the phone until they agree, go up the line to the owner if necessary.
posted by beagle at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2013 [15 favorites]

Yeah. That is a major screw up. Get someone on site to take responsibility.

As for the electrics...I flooded my own bathroom a few weeks ago and water came in through the kitchen roof and pooled inside a hanging light fixture. Lights remained on and didn't even trip the breakers even though the bulbs were submerged.

We let it dry for a few days and everything seems fine. But probably worth having it checked properly. Sounds like your flood is worse.
posted by The Hyacinth Girl at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2013

It's water damage you need to have them address immediately.

- water will result in mold. Fast. Mold is the kiss of death for a comfortable, clean home.
- they need to professionally dry out all affected areas, starting today.
- that includes usually cutting open the ceiling to properly dry out.
- they will then need to repair the damaged surfaces.

The plumbing company has insurance for exactly this reason.

Hold them to it.
posted by Kruger5 at 9:56 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

1) Pay them nothing.

2) I don't know how insurance works in the UK but you don't really want to negotiate with the plumbing company. They flooded your house in a really stupid way and they are totally liable. They are going to want to say something like: "let it dry out, and then we'll send someone over to fix things..." Depending on what your walls are made out of this might be reasonable, but you need someone independent to assess the damages and decide on the repairs.

3) the plumber is totally liable. this was a really dumb mistake.

4) if it makes sense to call your home insurance company (is that how it works in the UK?) do it. talk to someone else before you talk to the plumbing company.

5) avoid the electrics! especially if there is water near a switch or appliance like the fan.
posted by at 11:05 AM on March 13, 2013

You need to get the damage assessed by an independent company approved by your insurers. Water damage is HELLA expensive. Our toddler flooded the bathroom and brought down the ceiling in the living room -- $10k right there to put it all right.

And I absolutely wouldn't let them repair it.
posted by unSane at 7:08 PM on March 13, 2013

« Older A Twist on the Martini?   |   Who is the best "buy and hold" online brokerage... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.