In December we mortgaged this house. And in December J got the kitchen fitted that she wanted. New units, fridge, freezer, range, solid wood counters, blinds, different lighting. It looked fantastic. It had been completed just before Xmas and while youngest was at home so it had been in a state of messy since. We had said that this weekend I would clean the whole of downstairs and get it tidy and perfect for us.
On Saturday a guy came round to quote us for the final bit of decorating that needed doing. He and J were downstairs, I was upstairs. I hear a yell to get out of the shower and then the guy comes to the bottom of the stairs and he too shouts for me to get out of the shower. I wasn’t in the shower.
I run downstairs and see water dripping through the kitchen ceiling. Several months ago we had had a similar event and the plumber that was called had found and fixed the broken water pipe joint. The bloke who replaced the kitchen ceiling that time had left an area of just plasterboard where this had happened so if we needed access again all it needed was a hammer putting through.
First I go for the stopcock. The kitchen fitters had left a very small hole through to that in the back of the unit. Far too small. I could see one side of the tap handle but not the other. I could not turn it at all.
Then I grab the hammer and smack it into the ceiling. I get drenched as all the built up water drops onto me and all over the place. When the pipe was mended an isolator valve was placed on and I can see 2 pipes, 2 isolators and mains water gushing out. As much as I tried though I just could not reach the isolators with a screwdriver to turn them off. And I tried really hard. So we had mains water coming in and no way at all to stop it. So we rang 999 and the Fire Brigade. For at leat 30 minutes we had mains water coming through that hole and splashing over the kitchen.
In the end we had the Fire Brigade, an emergency plumber, an emergency electrician (because the house power blew) and a guy from the kitchen fitters around. The water was stopped, power checked, pipes isolated.
The kitchen looked a complete mess. The carpet through was wet through in parts, there were many wet footprints as I had run upstairs to get the hammer, to kill the power.
I rang the insurance company. Over 45 minutes on hold and they deign to answer. I tell them what happened. The interrogator on the other end asks what was in the kitchen. I start listing items – a new range oven, 2 coffee machines, a machine that makes chips using hot air not fat (I still don’t know what it’s called), the extractor hood (the water came down right into/onto that), the new wood counters we had been told to not get wet, a printer/copier/scanner and before I can say more he says “Do you always keep a printer in the kitchen?”
“Why was the printer in the kitchen?”
Because my wife needed to use it and that’s where the plug was
“So the printer is normally somewhere else and you put it in the kitchen?”
Yes, because where it was there isn’t yet a plug because of the kitchen refit
“So you keep a printer where there isn’t a plug?”
Yes but if we need to use it we move it
“When did you move it”?
and the questions continued. His tone and the words he wasn’t saying but so obviously was “So you saw some water, reckoned you wanted a new machine so you put it into the water eh?”. He was saying that I was trying to defraud the insurance company. He was accusatory and hostile. He was vile.
So as soon as we are able we will ditch that company. Regardless of what happens – because there are potentially 3 insurance claims that could be made (the original pipe fitter, the kitchen fitter, the house insurance) – this insurance company will not be getting a penny more of our money.
I hate spammers. But I have a special loathing for insurance companies.
The Insurance Assessor has been round. We need several new cupboard carcasses, kick boards, top moulding, new range oven, extractor, printer thing and hot air food thing (It’s actually a Tefal Actifry). Also need new ceiling, plastering of the whole thing, carpet clean. I did explain about the printer and the interrogation. The insurance should cover that (apart from the £350 excess).
What we need to pay for is the repair to the actual pipe. Given the joint has failed twice in that location I want this fix to be perfect.
On the evening of December 22nd the kitchen looked great. So good I took photos. I have no idea how long it’s going to take to be there again.