How To Avoid A Flooded Crawlspace In San Diego. Local Plumber Tells All
Luckily for most homeowners in San Diego, plumbing in these houses are built on concrete slab. This means that your house does not have a crawlspace that the plumbing can be in. Rather, all of the plumbing pipes are underground underneath the concrete slab. This is good/bad. If there is a leaking pipe, there is no crawlspace to flood. However, to fix the problem pipe you either have to jackhammer up the concrete to access the pipe, or re-route the pipe overhead.
With a crawlspace, all of the pipes are exposed, which means if you have a pipe leak, the water will go into the crawlspace. If it is just a small leak, the ground will absorb the water. If it is a big leak, or even a small leak that has gone unnoticed for a month or two, your crawlspace will quickly fill up with a foot or two of water. Most of the older homes in the San Diego area have crawlspaces.
In the above picture, at a older home in Point Loma, part of the copper water line had come apart and was leaking badly. The homeowner was elderly and could not hear the pipe leaking. She also does not get outside very much and did not notice the water poring out of the crawlspace door.
The owner figures that the leak had been going on for a month or two. She noticed that her water bill was around $1,000 per month but could not figure why so she called us out.
Usually in these cases, we work with a restoration company that will first extract the water and dry out the crawl space before we enter to make the repair. Due to complications with the customer’s insurance company, this was not going to be possible. Luckily our top plumber and San Diego Plumbing Specialist, Mitch Kenney, entered the crawl space and was able to make the repair while submerged in 1′ of water.
The elderly customer got her back water on and the restoration company came the next day to dry out the crawlspace.
Now, how could this have been prevented?
The customer at some point 20-30 years ago had the house re-piped with copper water lines. Her old galvanized water lines which were original to the house were corroding from the inside out, and she had poor water pressure. She had several quotes at the time and decided to go with the cheapest plumbing company.
The San Diego plumbing company did a terrible job of re-piping the house.
The problems I found:
- The pipes were undersized, so there was inadequate flow thorough the faucets
- The pipes were not supported as per code. The pipes were hanging and sagging everywhere
- Where the pipes were strapped, they used a metal nail to wrap around the copper pipe. Since this is a dissimilar metal from copper, this created electrolysis which eventually ate a hole through the pipe which caused the leak
- There was no permit pulled
The lesson to be learned here is, don’t go with the cheapest company. When something is cheap, quality is usually lacking. If you wan’t quality, you usually have to pay for it.
Often times the San Diego Water Department will refund your money if your high water bill is a first time occurrence. They will usually request a receipt showing that the leaking item has been fixed, then they will give you a full or partial refund of the excessive water bill.