Saturday, December 27, 2008

More about my dad's loss of power at home

Power went out at 07:27 Friday, 19 Dec 08 and returned at 15:42 Tuesday, 23 Dec 08 at my parent's house in Fort Wayne, IN. My mom was at my sister's apartment in SC after she had knee surgery. My dad stayed at home during the whole power outage (with the exception of short breaks to eat out and get supplies).

A gas-fired boiler heats water that an electric pump pushes through pipes in their baseboard heaters. If any water boils off or leaks somewhere in the system, more water is introduced from the main water line into the house. A valve on the inlet line automatically opens to keep the pressure up. The valve is called an auto-fill valve. That valve is in the outdoor utility closet where the water heater and boiler are. The flame under the boiler keeps the closet warm.

When the power went out a week ago Friday, the pump stopped. When the pump stopped, a safety system shut down the boiler. With no heat in the closet, the auto-fill valve froze early Tuesday morning. The pipes to the baseboard heaters go through the cement slab under the house. Water flowed over all the flooring (laminate and simulated wood) on the first floor of the house. Some water went onto carpets in the living and dining rooms. Some went under the door into the garage.

While the power was out, my dad kept the inside of the house above 50 degrees and had water flowing, but none of that helped the valve in the outside utility closet.

After he soaked up what water he could, he got a company called ProTech to come to his house in less than 3 hours. ProTech was glad to do the clean up work with power. My parents have to pay the deductible, but ProTech's bill was $3900 plus they have to pay the plumber and get replacement flooring. They ran 13 fans plus two large dehumidifiers from Tuesday evening until Saturday morning. The major reason was to dry any moisture that may have seeped into the walls.

We are glad that my dad was kept safe during all this and also glad for house insurance during something like this. Many in Fort Wayne have even worse problems than my parents do. We are keeping the people of Fort Wayne in our prayers as they have much clean up to do now.

My dad still has to contact the company to order new flooring and then he plans to finally go pick up my mom in SC. My mom is glad she wasn't there during the power outage nor during the clean up! They won't be back to "normal" until after the new flooring. That won't be until after the new year and it may take a long time with others having the same problem in Fort Wayne.

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