Water leak at 4am, do I call my landlord now?
January 14, 2007 4:02 AM   Subscribe

It's 4 am and I just woke up to a bathroom full of water. I'm renting in the Sierra's and it's been really cold, so one of the pipes burst and started leaking (the heat was on and I was home all day, though..). I called the emergency plumbers and they came to turn off the water. Now the situation is under control. How do I break this to my landlord? Should I call her now or can it wait till morning?
posted by mrunderhill to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Wait. Nothing the landlord can do at 4 am, except be unreasonably cranky.
posted by Osmanthus at 4:07 AM on January 14, 2007

Yeah, wait - call as soon as it is reasonable, i.e 9am?
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:17 AM on January 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks! I dropped her an email and I'll call her in a few hours.

Getting some sleep now :)
posted by mrunderhill at 4:31 AM on January 14, 2007

Just as an aside: in cold weather, it's very important to leave the faucets dripping. It doesn't have to be a lot, but it will nonetheless keep the pipes from freezing/bursting. Having the heat on doesn't help very much, because the pipes are in unheated spaces.

Usually, just one faucet is enough, but if you're in fiendishly cold weather, I suppose you might need to run all of them.

It's really quite remarkable how much of an effect it can have. In an RV once, with a fifty foot water hose, leaving the water dripping inside resulted in a fifty-foot divot out of the snow. The rest of the ground had three inches, but the hose had melted everything for a couple of inches around. It was a fairly fast drip, but that was all.

It really does work.
posted by Malor at 5:56 AM on January 14, 2007

Just make sure he makes an effort to dry it out. We came home to a bathroom full of water some months ago; the landlord didn't do much beyond mopping, and the paint and plaster are still cracking away in the bathroom, bedroom, hallway, &c. Not pretty. I imagine it's a bit mouldy now, too.

I can't imagine most landlords, or the people they hire for maintenance, are that stupid, though. We knew ours was a bit laissez-faire, but...
posted by kmennie at 6:01 AM on January 14, 2007

Oh dear, I'm starting to cry. I thought I was over the trauma, but obviously not.
I've had flooding incidents in the last FOUR homes I've lived in. I see you're off to bed while I'm writing this, which is wonderful, you relax and rest. You've done what you can - stop the flow, mop up what's on the floor. Call the landlord & let them deal with the structural hardware stuff.

The thing that bit me on the arse was not realising how far the damn water flowed....it went under the floors and walls and wicked up in other rooms, in wardrobes and under furniture. I used to be an IT person, and had all my programming & algorithm books in boxes in a built in cupboard, which turned into a mould farm. The biggest trauma was when we moved and finally discoverd the lovely white carpet was stained from a mahogony (yeah) chest of draws and some other items of furniture.
We had things damaged in 2 hallways, and 2 bedrooms all from the bathroom, so my main advice is to be utterly diligent in determihning how far the water has spread.

Good luck.
posted by goshling at 7:10 AM on January 14, 2007

If the water went everywhere, you could have some serious problems. Once drywall gets wet, it takes some serious dehumidification to get it dry again. The burst pipes could be a sign of improper plumbing installation (poor insulation, for instance, or routing them in a cold zone). I realize it's not your place, but I'd recommend to the owner to get an inspector in there to evaluate just how bad the damage is. Mopping up floors will only remove the moisture that's exposed... it does nothing for the moisture that's fallen through the cracks or been absorbed. You'll need to run a few dehumidifiers in the affected area (and the floor beneath the affected area) for a few days if you want to make sure there's no mold growth. You really don't want that.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:20 AM on January 14, 2007

Most landlords consider a burst water pipe to be an emergency, but if you have it under control, you might as well just wait. If don't want it to be too much of an inconvenience, though, you should probably call your landlord around 9 (i.e. don't wait too long).
posted by owl at 11:34 AM on January 14, 2007

In my experience emergency plumbers are a scam. They tell you they are coming again and again, but they don't actually show up before any regular plumber could have arrived anyway. But, because they are emergency plumbers, they get to charge double or triple.
posted by Chuckles at 1:50 PM on January 14, 2007

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