The last few weeks have been rather crazy for my husband and me. End of the year activities for both work and Christmas typically makes everyone’s life a little busier, but this year everything came to a screeching halt for us in mid-December. Water damage at home can do that to you.
Ugh, We Had Water Damage at Home
After being out of town for a weekend, I headed to our laundry room to begin the task of washing clothes from our trip. When I walked into the laundry room, I noticed a lot of water on the floor along one of our walls. That’s something you never want to see as a homeowner.
As I followed the water, it led me to our furnace room. There was water all over the floor in that room too. As I looked at our water heater, there were no lights on. I tried a faucet and noticed there wasn’t any hot water coming out.
Our water heater had died on us and leaked water all over. We had a pan under the heater with a drain pipe coming out of it, but apparently, that didn’t work.
After noticing water along another wall in our furnace room that was adjacent to one of our guest rooms, my husband and I quickly went in there to see if there was water in that room too. The carpet felt wet along that wall, so we lifted up the carpet in that area and needless to say, the carpet and the padding were soaked.
So 3 rooms with water damage at home all from the result of a broken water heater. Fun times!
Take Precautions Before You Go Out Of Town So You Don’t Have Water Damage at Home
As a kid, my dad was always concerned about our pipes freezing when we went out of town. I grew up in Michigan, so that was definitely a possibility in the middle of winter. However, in the back of my mind, I always thought the things he did before we left on a trip were a little overkill. But in actuality, he was onto something.
Fast forward to today. When we leave out of town, I plan to turn off our water heater. Current water heaters make it easy to do that. It’s just a flip of a switch. I don’t have to worry about relighting the pilot light. In addition, if we plan to be out of town for more than a weekend, I will also plan to turn off the water in our house at the main water line.
Mold Growth Isn’t Something to Take Lightly
Unfortunately, I know all too well the damage water can do to one’s health if it’s not quickly dealt with. Mold can start growing on porous surfaces, such as wood and drywall within 24-48 hours. When you see water damage at home, you need to act quickly to begin drying the surfaces. Fans and dehumidifiers should also be used.
During this process, we met with 5 different water remediation companies. They each provided estimates of their recommendations to remedy our situation. Ultimately, we had to have baseboards and drywall removed along with carpet and some tile ripped up. They also checked for mold. All of this is rather costly, but it is a necessity so mold doesn’t begin to form. Fortunately, after the water remediation process was complete, tests showed that we didn’t have mold growth.
Do You Have a Healthy Home?
While we were in the midst of all of this, we moved into a friend’s house. I was so grateful to them because I didn’t know what I was going to do. As someone who has a hard time with methylation and detoxing from chemicals, I always feel that my home has to be a safe, non-toxic environment. I’m able to manage being out at stores, restaurants and other places as long as I can go back to my non-toxic environment and try to get rid of the chemicals I encountered while out.
I needed to be out of our house with everything going on, but with chemical sensitivities, it’s hard to stay at a hotel. These particular friends don’t use nasty chemicals in their home. Their natural home environment was just what I needed during this stressful time.
Typically during a stressful time, my autoimmune symptoms kick in and can take me down. However, while being at their home, I actually seemed to get stronger. Mind you, right before all of this happened, I was in the process of starting a new health protocol. I was on one of the new supplements during this time, so it could have been a combination of that and a better environment. Thankfully, I wasn’t taken down by everything.
Are You Being Harmed By Your Toxic Home Environment?
I am someone who believes that many people are unknowingly being harmed by their toxic home environment. It’s a fact that indoor air can be more damaging than outdoor air. So many harmful chemicals are released in our homes from the products that we bring into them – everything from new furniture to personal care products and cleaning chemicals. Most all contain untested chemicals that we are inhaling and absorbing into our skin on a constant basis.
I am someone who lives a pretty natural lifestyle. I have had to make many changes over the years to make our home a healthy, non-toxic environment. Actually, when we were looking for a new place to live a couple of years ago, I had a list of things we looked for in the potential home. We settled on our current home because it “passed” many of the tests that I required. However, even before we moved in, there has been a slight powdery smell that my husband and I notice when you walk into our home. The smell is more noticeable when the air conditioner is running and when we’ve been out of town for a few days.
Strange Smell in Our Home
I have tried a few different things to try to figure out what the smell is. I’ve asked our home inspector, and our HVAC technician. I even had our ducts cleaned. Nothing had remedied it. Fast forward to our water damage and wet carpet. After they removed the carpet, a strong odor came from the room. You would have thought the odor would have come from the carpet, but it was under the carpet. It almost smelled as if a very strong carpet deodorizer had been used in the room and had soaked into the concrete floor under the carpet.
I believe this strong odor from under the carpet is what we had always been faintly smelling. I also believe whatever chemicals created the odor has impacted my health. I have done so much over the years to try to regain my health back to 100% – changed diet, taken numerous supplements, moved from a house with mold damage, changed out all of my home products, removed mercury fillings, etc. If anyone should have gotten better, it would have been me.
Doctor after doctor was stumped. They recommended various things, and I would see a little improvement, but then not complete health. They always said that what they did for me would help the majority of their patients with my symptoms, but it wouldn’t help me.
Home Environment is Key
I always thought back to home environment. Did we have mold again? What was causing my toxic bucket to stay full? Now I wonder if it’s all been tied to this powder smell coming from our home. I’ve tried to clean the concrete to no avail. I have sealed the concrete with a non-toxic sealer. Nothing has worked.
Soon we are going to put new flooring in that room – probably ceramic tile that will be cemented to the concrete floor. Hopefully, that will remedy the situation.
At my friend’s house, I was encouraged to see my body try to heal, so I know it’s possible. I have always believed that God created our bodies to be able to heal if we give it what it needs.
I also believe that God can bring good out of bad. I am hopeful that something good will come out of our water damage at home. Maybe the good is making me aware of a chemical that has been constantly filling my toxic bucket. We’ll see.