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Disconnected flu pipe = water damage

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Besidemyself
Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
Our roofers accidentally disconnected our flu pipe 1.5 years ago when putting a new roof on. (Our home is 13 years old)We had a record breaking cold/ice spell back in February and our attic completely froze over causing major water damage.  That’s when the disconnected flu pipe was discovered. 
How much condensation does a mid efficiency furnace and water heater put out.  Some weird things have shown up within the last year or so but not sure they could’ve been caused by excess condensation in the attic of our 2 story home. For example mildly humpy hardwood floors with no specific water incident and nail pops all over. (I know some can just happen over time)   I don’t want to blame them for damage that isn’t related but do want compensation for things that could be proven related. 
This is the first home we’ve owned and lived in for more than 3 years due to my husband being in the Army and moving around for 23 years. This is our first major issue we’ve ever delt with and feel lost. Your help is greatly appreciated. 


Comments

  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,894
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    Help with what exactly? Repairs need to be made. As far as who and, or what is responsible, I wasn't there so I can't point a finger. 
    And welcome to homeownership 🎈. It never ends.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,391
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    Hello @Besidemyself , It seems what you're looking for involves a lawyer. I'd ask the lawyer if he or she plans on getting a forensic investigator who would be willing to look over your house, make a report and be willing to testify in court. Just guessing that's what it will take for the roofer's insurance to be willing to pay.

    Yours, Larry
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,849
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    @Besidemyself

    A condensing furnace that has 100,000 btu input will condense .8 gallons of water/hour that's if it runs for an hour without shutting off.

    So lets say your furnace is 75,000 btu input and say it runs 30 min out of every hour that would be

    .8 gallons of water x.75 btu/hour x .5 hours=.3

    so about 1/3 of a gallon/hour for this example.

    And some of this water gets drained out at the furnace

    But enough goes up the flue to cause substantial damage.

    certainly the roofer is responsible for a lot of your damage

    I would follow what @Larry Weingarten posted
    Larry WeingartenBesidemyself
  • aperson
    aperson Member Posts: 66
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    I would take pictures of the disconnected flue pipe and all water damage. Then I would get free repair estimates from companys that you might hire. Then send the roofing company your pictures of damage, a middle price estimate, and any paperwork you have that documents the job done by the roofing company. Ask them to pay to fix the damage. If they refuse you can file with the court to sue. You can hire a lawyer at anytime or not at all. See how far your skills will take you before spending more money.
    BesidemyselfLarry Weingarten
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
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    Some of the issues are from the moisture and ice in the attic. Some other issues are just the result of mediocre construction practices and building with wood that doesn't have the ideal moisture content and temp and shrinks and moves as it reaches its final size and shape.

    Were these vented with metal pipe and roughly 80% appliances or were the vented with pvc?
    Besidemyself
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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    Metal, it goes from the water heater in the basement through the first and second story and then the attic. 
    The living room ceiling is what puzzles me the most. We’ve lived here for 11 years. The house is 13 years old. I know for a fact it didn’t look like this when we bought it. It’s a more recent development but this ceiling is between the first and second story. I can’t understand what’s caused it. 
    Also our floors. They’ve slightly crowned over time. I couldn’t tell you when it began because it’s been a subtle change. 
    I only really started looking at things closely when this ice event happened. I guess I’ve just been busy trying to balance the mom/wife/working life.  
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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    @aperson- I literally have over 500 pictures. It’s become quite a sticky situation. When we first discovered our attic was iced over we called our insurance company. They told us to get our roofers back here who installed our roof almost 2 years ago. They came out communicated with our insurance that there had been an ice dam. So the insurance took their word for it and let them begin the drying out process. It wasn’t until a few weeks later we discovered the flue pipe had been disconnected through a weird twist of fate when we were watching before and after drying videos of the attic. 
    I told the insurance about our discovery and why I will never know, they still insisted that we continue to use the roof contractor for the drying and repairs. This was back when we believed the insurance had our best interest at heart. How naïve of us. I’ve been told since the insurance Acknowledged the claim they are responsible for making the repairs and then going after the roofing company for us. The problem is, the insurance company is ignoring huge amounts of damage that I have pictures of proof of.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,849
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    @Besidemyself

    Don't settle with the insurance company. Hire your own private insurance adjuster to work with your best interests in mind.

    Let him sort out what damage the roofer caused and what they didn't cause
    mattmia2HomerJSmith
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
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    It looks like water ran down that one corner from the attic, is that in the right place to have collected above the 1st floor ceiling that is warping? It could have been running down and underneath some of the flooring as well. the vapor could also have made it to those areas if the fire stopping between the floors wasn't right in the walls.

    Before it got cold enough to freeze it would have been water flowing various places.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,607
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    Do you have pictures of the separated pipe?
    Did you also have ice dams?
    Out of curiosity, why did you have to replace an 11 year old roof?

    Is your insurance company refusing to pay for the work? Are you out of pocket more than your deductible?

    The way these things often work, your insurance company will pay the claim (less your deductible) and then subrogate (shift some or all of the costs) to the roofers insurance company. The subrogation can take years and and in many cases the property owner never even finds out who pays what. As long as they are not talking about denying the claim, you probably don't need to worry about who's fault it is. If they even hint that the loss is uninsured, then you need to go ballistic :s
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Besidemyself
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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    Yes, I have pictures of the disconnected  pipe. Thank the Lord, we have them by accident. I wanted to see what the attic looked like so he took a video. It was captured while panning the attic space. Was there an ice dam? I have no idea. A lot of the damage does seem to be on one eve of the house and ice cycles were dripping brown stuff from the soffits. But the damage is all over. Not one ceiling on our second story is without damage. Even the middle of the house. Insurance told us to bring the same roofers back to see what the problem was. They told him ice damming. The adjuster took his word for it and he told them to begin drying and remove the insulation. 
    We got a new roof in 2019 due to hail damage. I’d say about 50% of our neighborhood had their roofs replaced after that storm. 
    Insurance has sent out 2 independent adjusters to take a look. The first one was a joke. His sketch wasn’t even out floor plan. 🤦🏻‍♀️ He was here for all of 30 minutes and escorted by the roofers. I didn’t even know he was here until he was about to leave. It was then I asked him about the condition of the roof.  He refused to get on it saying that’s not why he was here. He also refused to look at other damages I’d noted. 
    Finally they sent a different adjuster after weeks of begging. He seemed thorough and looked at the places I asked. 
    When insurance cut their check to us for repair costs, they included putting insulation back in and painting the brien ceiling spots.  Uhhhh... how about our siding busting at the seams, windows with obvious interior damage. I’ve sent soooo many pictures snd he brushed them off. He says nothing is wrong with our siding because the adjuster said so... 
    I’ll attach photos if I can. 
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
    edited April 2021
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    They refuse to open the wall/siding. He told me IF there is anything wrong, it’s our fault because we should’ve painted by now. ****?? Our house looked really nice and wasn’t ready to paint before now. Now it looks awful! 
    Here’s a pic of an area not affected because there is no attic above. 
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,607
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    You might just need to fast forward to ballistic. :(

    The condensate in the flue gas wafted around the cold attic and froze to every cold surface it could find. During the winter, you probably had inches if ice caked on the attic walls and the bottom of the roof sheathing. When the weather warmed up, it all melted and ran across the ceiling and DOWN THE WALLS!!!

    I would try to go to the most senior person at your insurance company and show them the picture of the separated vent and the icicles dripping directly down the wall. If that does not get them on board, there may be a state insurance regulatory agency that could talk some sense into them. The last resort would be to hire an attorney and forensics engineer to point out the obvious.

    BTW, the separated vent is probably not the fault of the roofers. I am sure they bumped something or twisted the cap off and that caused it to separate. I don't think that a properly installed vent could be separated from 20' away through a few direction changes. The vent probably was not twisted (locked together) when originally installed, the roofer just got unlucky and nudged it apart.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    mattmia2Besidemyself
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
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    An public adjuster is selected and hired by you, not the insurance company. Not sure if that exists in every state. You may have to pay them, but they aren't concerned about if the insurance company will pick them the next time.
    Besidemyself
  • heathead
    heathead Member Posts: 234
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    Insurance commission in your state ask them for help, also you may need a public adjuster that you hire. Remember your insurance company is who you're dealing with and you pay them for what is in your contract. They have a contract with your to get your house back to where it was before this happened, no better but not worst ie no nail pops, or cupped floors, no mold in walls, be nice and try to work with them but make sure they do what is right. This can take allot of work. Can you call and get a Service Pro clean up company or similar disaster clean up company to come in a give you a clean up estimate. It is harder for an insurance company to ignore a proper clean up estimate. this is true especially when they say the house needs to be dried out completely. That plywood on the roof looks damage ie if it's rotted it needs to be changed, this is why many people are saying get an public adjuster they know what to look for. Looking at the siding picture ,the house is going to most likely be a mold factory shortly down the road if not dealt with properly. The cleanup company you may have a choice in who you hire, read your insurance contract. If you don't catch this early and fix it all at first you won't be covered latter. You need to find a contractor that knows what needs to be taken out, ie walls opened up to check for drying and mold, moisture. Do you have ceiling upstairs, kids in the house is it safe to live in? If your insurance company has to put you up in apartment or house, when this gets worked out, they move faster when they are out more each day paying for your place to live, if it's a hotel, then it's your meal cost eating out above what you would have spent making meals at home. You need to make sure that it all gets looked at by someone who knows what they are doing and how to fix the damage. Get some estimates for a couple cleanup companies for removing building materials, just don't sign blank contract for fixing everything, you may want one company to rip out and one to fix everything. Number one read your insurance policy, you pay them for what is in the contract, they need to do their job. I wish you luck with this and hope for the best. This is going to be a nightmare but will get better shortly. At the end of this your insurance may be dropped if they don't drop you, your deductible may skyrocket. Then once things get worked out cost wise if you have a mortgage on the house this is where it get better with the red tape, they get paid and control all the money to get this fixed, working with them is a nightmare in itself but that a story for another day. They control all the money from the insurance to fix the house. Then make sure the estimating software your insurance company uses are current and localy based for material costs and labor during a pandemic. They use software that they input paint so many square feet at this cost. But if you have a switch plate or light or vent that is an extra cost to remove before painting and replace after painting. The cost to do this is not in the estimate painting per square foot, so if it is not entered in the estimating software will not be high enough to do the job. If you hire an public adjuster that may be a simple lawsuit to have the roofers insurance cover that cost also. Sorry I know I am rambling but read and take what is useful, good luck .
    BesidemyselfZman
  • aperson
    aperson Member Posts: 66
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    Well... yes your Honor, ahh...we did forget to put the chimney back on the roof. But your Honor there are so many other reasons why their house could have filled up with smoke. If you have obvious and incriminating photos of that disconnected flue it does not matter about other possible sources of minor water damage. They set your house on fire! Make sure that your pictures of the flue show in the best possible way how it was left disconnected BY THE ROOFING COMPANY. Is there construction around it, over it. No hole in the roof? Then take them to court. I don't know enough about how insurance works. Why should your insurance pay, and your premium go up. This was no act of nature. This is negligence by a company you payed. The problem with lawyers, same as roofing companys, some are good some are bad. All want to make money. So lawyers, any professional has the potential to complicate things. If you have those incriminating photos of no chimney and water damage that accumulated since the new roof that grab that power and head to the court house. Don't allow over payed bureaucrates to put you off a second longer.
    mattmia2Besidemyself
  • aperson
    aperson Member Posts: 66
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    2 more thoughts: look over your original contract with the roofing co., is there a warranty, is there an arbitration clause that requires you to settle a dispute out of court. My goal would be to get out from under the rotton roofing co. and hire a better company. The insurance man that was with the roofing company works for them and he is gathering evidence against you. 
    Besidemyself
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
    edited April 2021
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    It is in the insurance companies best interest to limit or deny a claim until a lawyer shows up, hoping you will go away. Insurance companies love it when you pay and hate it when they have to pay. They advertise their quick payments on TV giving the customers a false sense of reality. Don't misunderstand there are some good insurance companies.

    One thing I learned from a person who was an expert at squeezing every last monetary droplet from the insurance company was that it is the little things that add up rather than the big things. So document the little things which are not always obvious and are missed by an insurance adjuster or ignored by the insurance company and push it hard.

    The best time to document is before a claim is made. Most everyone tries to document after a claim is made, no videos before hand or anything. Then, it's your word against theirs.

    Assigning responsibility can be difficult task.
  • heathead
    heathead Member Posts: 234
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    After reading this again some thoughts. The roofing Company is the company the insurance company is working with you on this claim to make you whole correct? To me this sounds like the insurance company should reclassify this as something else and not an ice dam. Big question is is this an insurable loss, probably so but don't want to miss represent anything to insurance company. Is the roofing company a EPA Lead Safe contractor to remove drywall? Is this required for a 13 year old house probably not, but are the licensed to truly do the remediation nessary for your house. Do they have the experts in mold remediation. My questions are finding out are they certified in doing the restoration work needed or just a roofing company that chases hail damage insurance claims. In some contracts with hail damage and roofers, sometimes the contract you signs assigns the loss to the roofing company to get paid from the insurance company, ie this takes you out of the equation. Is this right of course not, but it is just coming to light more in roofers that chase hail damage. For your initial claim for your roof you may have assigned the right to them. But this is a separate claim now. You need to make sure that the roofers are not just roofers but have all the proper licenses in your state to do what is needed to fix your house from water damage caused by a disconnected furnace, or hot water heater flue pipe. You are trying to have a roofing company fix your house from a flood of water that was manufactured in your attic to then be soaked up by your whole house. Call your local building department depends on the state and locality and see if they can legally do the work that is needed. I would not trust anyone to do what it would take to get everything that needs to be done by something they might have caused, or don't do on a regular basis. If they are a roofer and not a remdeation company use the proper type of company. If you need a new knee and have a brain surgeon do the work he will not be a good as an orthopedic surgeon to preform the knee replacement surgery. I think it is easy to see this is not just a ice dam. In looking at the pipe lower on the roof again as someone said before I am not sure one could place the blame fully on the roofing company, not what you want to hear but you have insurance for a reason let them figure that out. You need to get your house dried out and fixed properly .
    mattmia2Besidemyself
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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    You guys have no idea how much I appreciate you. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing but I’m trying my hardest. Not looking for pity but I’m just a hairstylist. This is totally out of my wheelhouse! My husband is 100%disabled vet and can’t help me much. I tried to get a public adjuster. He came recommended as being  the best one in the game. He spent an entire Wednesday here going over pics and looking at things etc. I felt so relieved I had him on my team. We got along great! Later that night he even texted me asking me to send documents etc snd set up a time to come over and look in the walls on Friday. Then... he ghosted me. He didn’t show up Friday. I texted him an hour after he was supposed to be here and he said he was sorry but he had a fire early that morning and it was taking him longer than he thought it would. He said let’s shoot for sometime next week.  I haven’t heard a word since. I’ve texted him a couple times since with new information that would help and Ive not heard one word back.  I have no idea why. He seemed super excited about working together. It honestly makes me want to just curl up in a ball. 
    I do happen to have pics of them installing the roof. I was just excited about the color so I snapped some during install and still had them in my phone. 
     I had a different roofer come by yesterday and do an inspection to see what his thoughts on the roof are. I showed him the claim and what insurance paid for. He said they didn’t comply with
    “The pan area the pipe flashings the heat stake top”  What does that even mean? I don’t speak roof. There’s also a place he discovered they gauged the siding and half **** attempted to caulk it up but failed.
    Want to hear a possibly detrimental plot twist? The roofers never collected the second half of their money from USAA. Their saleswoman/ paperwork lady took off to another state and left them with a bunch of missing records. Including ours I guess. 
    How does this affect things??? 
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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    Also, I should add we are no longer working with the roofers. We let them go after they dried things out and  I found out from our mold tester they didn’t follow proper protocol. The roofer contractor told our adjuster he is IICRC certified. He brought a bucket of something he picked up from the store to scrub the attic down. I told him no offense but I wanted a mold removal specialist doing that job. Especially considering I have allergies. (Which is why we purchased the extra mold insurance years ago) We let them go that same day. That was a little over a month ago. Since then, Ive hired a water restoration company who found an environmental hygienist to come test again and provide protocol. We have 10k in mold coverage. Our adjuster has had the information for a while now. He has still not given the green light for the water remediation company to get started on the mold. The new water remediation contractor says the adjuster has gone silent on the matter since mid week last week. 
    The mold needs to be taken care of before we start repairs but here we are, 9 weeks later still with a huge portion of our ceiling missing In our spare bedroom, no insulation in our attic and the mold spores  just circulating around the house through the duct work I’d imagine. I’m allergic to mold and have been on 2 rounds of antibiotics for sinus infections. Thankfully the mold discovered isn’t the toxic black mold. I am grateful for that. But having a big section of our ceiling missing that exposes the attic can’t be a good thing. We just keep that door closed. My son has begun having allergy issues but it could just be its spring. He has an appointment with an allergist tomorrow. 
    Insurance says the water is gone which is a food source needed for mold to grow so we are fine.  After this weekends rain, my unaddressed leaking window begs to differ. 
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,607
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    Is this a USAA claim? I have had nothing but good experiences with them. You may just need to go a bit higher up the ladder.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Besidemyself
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
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    Yes! That’s what makes this so unbelievable. We’ve only ever heard wonderful things. 
    He’s a field adjuster. I’ve been told they are higher up on the adjuster ladder. 
    Interesting fact, I looked him up on LinkedIn. He’s only been with USAA for less than a year and looks to have job hopped his entire career. 
    I wondered about requesting a different adjuster but the PA said he thinks it’s best we didn’t. He thinks it wouldn’t do much good since they would just tell the new adjuster our history. 
    I don’t even know... :(
  • heathead
    heathead Member Posts: 234
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    Zman I agree what I have heard is USAA is one of the best. If your windows are getting wet when it rains that may - is be a different problem. First I would like to not only thank your husband for his service, but you and the rest of your family. Your whole family gives to this country for his time in the service. Thank you!! What does the environmental hygienist say about your family staying in the house, bring pictures to your sons Dr. appointment. If the Dr. thinks it ok for your son in the house will he write for an hepa air filter your your sons room because of the state of your house. Save receipts and submit to your insurance company. Talk to enviromental hygienist about it. Change your furnace filter if you haven't yet, save the receipt they need to pay to mitigate the loss ie you catching some of the mold spores floating around the house. Tape off any return vent in the room to the attic without a ceiling if it has one. Painters tape the door and towel under door. The adjuster that has ghosted give him a little more time and try and reach out again. I know it's a balancing act, you don't want to seam like high maintenance client, but he could be swamped with a family issue or something else in this pandemic. It is not how I would run my business but if you liked him and it seamed great give he a little time and reach out and say hey thanks for meeting with me can you help on this or do you have someone you would recommend, or who do you recommend I avoid. I think you should try and reach out to the insurance commission in the state if there is one, and then get the contact for the USAA who they work with them at USAA. Or go up one level talking to a supervisor of your claim with USAA. You don't want to bad talk your current adjuster, but this is not a typical ice dam problem like the claim started as. This is something way more complex, but a furnace or water heater that pumped lots of humid exhaust gases into air in your attic. This humid air then condensed in the attic and rained down into your house. Water and excess humidity through out your house from the attic down. That soaked the 2x4 and then they dry out and the you get. all you nail pops, which are the least of the problems, but shows how the whole house was affected by this. Keep you head up it is a rough time, but always look at the bright side your house is still standing everyone is safe and you have all your family pictures, it could be worst. Good luck.
    Besidemyself
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
    edited April 2021
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    Thank you. And you are absolutely correct! It could be soooo much worse and I know there are people who’d trade places with me in a heartbeat. My husband retired after 23 years and 3 tours. If you asked him if he would do it all again, he’d say yes in a heartbeat. 
    Im practicing restraint with the PA. I don’t want to scare him off! I just wish I had a crystal ball telling me that he’s going to work with me. If so, I could relax a bit and feel confident it will all be ok. 
    I was daydreaming of how I could possibly bribe him into taking us on. Lol -cash? Extra %? My first born? 
    The window is weird. Several windows suffered leakage but one keeps leaking with the rain. I can see the paint bubbling up and the grout under it turns dark. The ceiling below had one smallish water spot after “the event” but now there are 3 that have merged into one big one. 
  • Besidemyself
    Besidemyself Member Posts: 12
    edited April 2021
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    The hygienist wrote a protocol addressing opening some walls and using certain things to clean the attic and HVAC while using air scrubbers etc. There were some potentially harmful type molds found in small numbers but the higher numbers were found to be allergens but not deadly per say. I told the adjuster about my allergies and sinus infections asking if Maybe I could stay somewhere else in the meantime. (This was back when I thought it would be a relatively quick process) He told me I could but it would eat through the 10k limit pretty quick considering the cleaning that needs to be done is expensive. I’m willing to suffer through it. I just hope my son is suffering from spring allergies and not mold. 
    The protocol mentioned we needed to take out the drywall and throw out any porous items from our finished part of the basement and have it cleaned. We have a living room down there.  Adjuster said the basement will not be covered because the event had nothing to do with the basement. I’m wondering if maybe the hygienist guy was a bit dramatic in suggesting all of that be done. Yes there were some yucky type spores gathered in the air sample down there but not in big bothersome numbers. We can’t afford to do that. 
    I think it absolutely stinks the opening and repairing of the walls and repainting will come from our 10k “mold bucket”.  Since there’s obvious damage and they need addressed anyway, why can’t that come out of our regular bucket? Ugh. I politely explained I didn’t understand why that was the case and he became irritated so I backed off. 
    From what I understand the mold remediation contractor to say, we will need to be put up somewhere for a few days while they address the mold. I told the family to become ok with the fact we will be eating ramen and be very cozy for a few days. Three adults, one child and a dog in one hotel room. Lol We are allowed two but I’d rather that money go toward the mold cleaning. 
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    A study was done on 100 homes to determine the presence of mold. How many homes do you think had mold? Ya, 100.