Thursday, July 22, 2010

Damp patch on the ceiling.

On Sunday as we were sat happily chatting away, Gail noticed a damp patch on our living room ceiling. It appeared to run from the dining room wall a short way towards the window and there was also a smaller run parallel to this about 1 metre towards our kitchen. I stood up and felt the dampness with my hand. It was damp but not soaked, so the problem must be very recent. I went upstairs and checked the airing cupboard, no dampness and all the water pipes were dry. I went into our en-suite bathroom and everything looked okay. I went into our guest bedroom and everything looked okay with no sign or any leaks or dampness. I am good at spotting defects on coaches but I am not a builder. I had a chat with Gail and she wondered if it was the shower at fault. I went back upstairs again and checked the shower. Our shower looked like a sealed unit and it looked dry, with no obvious cracks or leaks. I went downstairs and looked at the ceiling again, thinking what has caused these 2 parallel runs of dampness. A nasty thought entered my head. Everything looked sealed upstairs, maybe there are 2 pipes under the floorboards, a forward and a return feed to the front bedroom radiator. Getting access to these pipes and repairing them would be beyond my experience and competence. Then I thought about the possible cost a repair might be and whether we may have some insurance against it.

We looked up our home insurance policy details which we took out with Sheilas' Wheels and as you can see from their website, they give you FREE Home emergency cover for the first year (online customers only). Gail rang the call centre of Sheilas' Wheels at around 12.30 and spoke to a very helpful guy with a Scottish accent. He said that we were covered and that he would arrange for a guy to come to our home that day between 13.00 and 15.00. This guy should ring us about 30 minutes before his visit and when he comes he would be able to assess the situation and start the ball rolling.

Around 13.15 we got a phone call from a guy with a local accent saying he was in Llandaff North and would be with us in around 30 minutes. True to his word he turned up outside our home in his liveried Homeserve service van before 13.45 and came to our door. I showed him the 2 parallel damp patch runs on our living room ceiling. "Ah!" he said, "have you got a shower upstairs? I can guess what this is!" We went upstairs and he looked at our en-suite. He said it was probably our shower trap and set to work. I thought everything was sealed but he found some hidden screws in our skirting board, removed the skirting board below our shower, pulled up the fitted carpet and removed the panel below the shower base. "There is your problem" he declared " these traps generally come loose over time and your trap is well-loose".

"How can a drain come loose as it is not a moving part?" I ask. "These plastic shower trays flex when you stand on them, just a little bit, but over the years the movement slowly loosens the trap and your water sprays out. Look, I will stand on your tray and move about whilst you watch. This is a common problem with these showers, I get it a lot." the service man replied. Sure enough his demonstration convinced me how our damp patch had been caused.

The service man cleaned the area, secured our waste drain to the shower base, refitted the panel, applied a silicon sealant to the edges, refitted the carpet and rescrewed the skirting board. Job done and looking at our en-suite you would not believe that anyone had disturbed anything since the builders finished our home in August 1999.

What a relief, job done and it was covered under our household insurance. I was very pleased at how things worked out, the swiftness of the call centre and getting a bloke out so quickly and on a Sunday. The service man was a nice guy too, he was quiet and professional rather than a big headed bullshitter, like some builders can be!
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