LESLIE: Tony in Tennessee is on the line who came home to a mystery flood. Tell us about it. And hopefully, there wasn’t too much damage. You got a plumbing leak in vacant house?
TONY: I’d been gone for about a week. I turned the master water valve off, the water supply to my house. Been gone for about a week, came back, went – and it’s a split-foyer, pretty fair-size house. So came in through the garage, came into – straight through into my man’s den and I hear the sound of dripping water, which is obviously never a good sound. So I go back to the far end of the house, away from the garage, and the whole downstairs has a substantial amount of water in it. And I look up and it’s dripping down from the ceiling and really, directly onto my big-screen TV at that point.
LESLIE: That’s not good.
TONY: That’s no – not good. So I packed myself up the stairs, so it’s – on the very far end of the house is our washroom. The washing-machine tub is full of water and overflowing. And that was the source of the water.
TOM: When you say washing, you mean the slop sink? Was that taking the discharge of the washer or was the washer itself overfilling – overflowing?
TONY: The washer itself.
TOM: So you’re basically saying that you were away and when you came back, you found this water had collected into – in the laundry area because the washer was filled up with water and that was overflowing and leaking down through the house, right on your flat-screen TV. Is that correct? Have I got it right?
TONY: That’s correct.
TOM: But the main water valve was turned off?
TONY: Yes. And when I looked at all this, I thought, “I’m sure I turned the water valve off.” I went to the nearest faucet, turned it on, nothing. No water pressure, everything – there was no water pressure in the lines of my house.
TOM: Well, that is a mystery, is it not?
TONY: My only theory is that when you come in the garage to downstairs, there is a bathroom there and that’s where the washing – correction, that’s where the hot-water heater is. So it’s basically mid-range of the house, on the bottom level.
TONY: The washing machine is on the upper-level far end of the house. And this is about a 5,000-square-foot house. So, pretty good-size house. Only thing I can ever have come up with is it created, somehow, some type of a siphon and it had siphoned water from the hot-water heater.
TOM: Right. Yeah.
TONY: All the plumbers, everybody I’ve ever talked to said, “No way. No, it’s impossible.”
TONY: I said, “Well, give me your alternative,” and nobody ever has. So I thought Tom and Leslie could.
TOM: That is quite a mystery, my friend. Quite a mystery. There would be water in the pipes but it doesn’t seem like it’s enough to do what you’re saying it did.
The other thing I was thinking about is whether or not that was wastewater and it backed up from the street, because that’s not controlled by a valve.
TONY: There’s no odor to it.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean it depends on how the plumbing system is designed. If it’s only one waste pipe, yeah, it would be stinky. But if you had a gray-water pipe, it would not be stinky.
But I don’t have any other ideas from that than that. I was kind of thinking that siphon idea but it’s still an extraordinary set of circumstances. And it’s never happened again, is that right?
TONY: It has not. But again, I’ve always now, since then, turned the valves off so that no water could get to the washing machine.
TOM: Yeah. Right. And that’s smart. That’s the way you normally would do it, yeah.
Because I was going to say – is that I know that, sometimes, even when you turn faucets off, you can get – you can still get water that leaks through, because I’ve seen this happen. In fact, my mom lives in Florida half the year. And one year, she got a letter from the water company saying that she’d used 10,000 gallons of water. Problem was she wasn’t there for that month. And I’m like, “Where did that 10,000 gallons of water go?” And I knew that we had turned off valves.
Well, it turned out that one of the valves was not completely off and it was leaking through the toilet. So, thankfully, it went down the drain but even, sometimes, when you think the water is off, it’s not. And I do wonder if some – if that could have played part of this scenario that you’ve experienced.
But I thank you for sharing it with us. I don’t have an a-ha moment but I think I can speculate as good as the next guy. And that’s kind of what I’m thinking at this point.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.