Lingering Odor After Flood Cleanup
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to New York where Rita is on the line with a mysterious odor. What is going on over there?
RITA: Well, I purchased a new refrigerator and I had it installed. And overnight, the water line broke and it flooded through the second floor where my kitchen is – through the cabinets, the floor – went downstairs through the ceiling and then into the first floor, in through the garage.
TOM: Gravity stinks, huh?
RITA: Yeah. I definitely think – we just bought the house.
TOM: Oh, boy.
RITA: So as first-time homeowners – and then we’ve been in the house only for a couple of weeks. When we got the refrigerator, we were excited and then that happened. We had a company that came out and dried everything out, because it went all night, and they told us there was no mold.
And then two weeks later, our garage, when we were getting the work done to repair everything, one of the workers left (inaudible at 0:12:45) the water hose in the garage and that exploded. And then everything that we had in the garage got completely drenched, wet. And we were able to dry that out without getting another company in.
But the first time after the first flood happened, we smelled – it was like a sweet, sickly smell when you open the door to come in. The garage is right next door to the entrance. And that smell was wafting up towards the upstairs where the kitchen cabinet is, where that flooding happened. And now, after the second one, that smell got really strong.
And there’s no mold; there is no sign of any mold anywhere. But the smell isn’t going away. And we’ve been running a dehumidifier but we just don’t know how else to resolve it.
TOM: You should know that mold is not going to form instantly, so the fact that you had a leak and then you’re saying you’re smelling this right away is not likely the result of mold. It’s more likely just the humidity mixed in with ever – with whatever got into that water that caused that.
By the way, when this refrigerator line broke and you did all this work, did you contact your homeowners insurance company?
RITA: We had to because the company who we purchased the refrigerator from, they were all pointing fingers at each other as to the cause of this water-line break. And so, they really didn’t want to take anything. So we had to wait – because it happened on a weekend, of course. We had to wait a few days. And once my homeowners insurance got involved, we didn’t know anything about getting a company to come in and look at the water. There was a lot of water still in between that area.
So they ran their fans and the dehumidifiers and they pulled all the water out and they dried everything out. But it destroyed our floors on both levels, because they’re wood floors.
TOM: Right. And that should have been covered by your homeowners insurance.
RITA: Right. Yeah, we did go through them and they’re going to go after, now, these companies that are involved in the installation but …
TOM: And that’s what you should do because the homeowners insurance company is there to cover sudden water dispersals like that. And you don’t need to get involved with the finger-pointing. Let them pay for the claim and then if they want to collect it against the contractors, then so be it.
Well, look, it seems like the correction here is not 100-percent complete. So, as part of that mitigation, was there a flood-cleanup company involved?
RITA: Yeah, they came over and they did everything and they said it was fine. And it was only a week after they had left that I started noticing that odor. And it wasn’t very strong but after this second time that we had the flooding, which was only now a week ago, the smell got really strong.
TOM: I would go back to that same company as an extension of the original repair and just tell them it’s not been 100-percent resolved. Because I think you should keep this as part of that same claim.
Now, the complication is going to be that now you may – because you had a second flood, who’s responsible for that? But I still think it’s the same issue. You should go back to that company and they have ways of treating those surfaces with disinfectants that will kill any materials that are left behind that could be contributing to that odor. And that plus the good dehumidification that you’re doing should stop it. It’s just going to have to dry out. But I do believe you should go back to the company that did the original cleanup work.
Was it like a SERVPRO or somebody like that?
RITA: Yeah, that’s who we used: SERVPRO.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. So this is what these guys do and they know how to get paid through the insurance companies and it shouldn’t be a lot of stress for you. So I would go back to them and have them continue to treat the issue, because it’s not been resolved.
RITA: Alright, great. Well, thank you for your help.
TOM: Well, good luck with that project.
RITA: Thank you very much. Have a good one.