Homeowner Issue

#1
Hello,
I'm new to this forum, but have been in the residential power washing business for several years now. This is the first time an issue like this has arisen. I had a client who had a leaky outside spigot, which I brought to his attention before hooking my machine up to. I told him it looked like the leak was behind the siding on his house. He was on a concrete slab foundation and the kitchen was on the other side of the spigot. He told me it was fine, it had been that way for awhile. I went ahead and did the job with no other issues, packed my equipment up and left. He and his wife were both home during and after the job. Now two days later he calls me to tell me his kitchen flooded, the floors have buckled and he wants my insurance info as his homeowner's insurance agent informed him that it must have been the pressure washer that 'caused' the leak. Have any of you dealt with an issue like this? Can you please give me any advice on how to handle this? In all my years I've never had anyone unhappy with my work or had anything like this happen. Thank you for all the help! -Brian
 

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Registerd User
#2
Hello,
I'm new to this forum, but have been in the residential power washing business for several years now. This is the first time an issue like this has arisen. I had a client who had a leaky outside spigot, which I brought to his attention before hooking my machine up to. I told him it looked like the leak was behind the siding on his house. He was on a concrete slab foundation and the kitchen was on the other side of the spigot. He told me it was fine, it had been that way for awhile. I went ahead and did the job with no other issues, packed my equipment up and left. He and his wife were both home during and after the job. Now two days later he calls me to tell me his kitchen flooded, the floors have buckled and he wants my insurance info as his homeowner's insurance agent informed him that it must have been the pressure washer that 'caused' the leak. Have any of you dealt with an issue like this? Can you please give me any advice on how to handle this? In all my years I've never had anyone unhappy with my work or had anything like this happen. Thank you for all the help! -Brian
Brian,

If it were me...I would ask for an independent inspection of the home and I would assume your insurance company would request this as well. Your customer's insurance broker sounds like a real piece of cake for him to arbitrarily just say "ohh it must have been the pressure washer".

Stick to you guns and let the insurance company/process run it's course.
 

Mark

Moderator / Sponsor
#3
Back in my wash days, we received a call after washing a customers house,
the call was from his neighbor, who told us his plumbing started leaking when
we washed the neighbors house.

He wanted me to pay for a plumber to replace the water line from street to his
house, I think you can guess what I told him, no not what I wanted to tell him
I explained we were fully insured, but do not know how we could have damaged your
water line, he demanded I bring our power washerover so he could inspect it, as he
was sure that there was no backflow preventor on our machine, and that machine
malfunctioned sending high pressure to his house.

Shortly after my customer called me and said to ignore this guy, that he always wanted
to sue someone. (I never heard back from this guy.)

If you connect your power washer to a customers water faucet, be sure to use a backflow
device, if you hook up from faucet to a water tank, use backflow device or air gap.

Backflow prevention device - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BackFlow.jpg BackFlow2.jpg

Above are pictures of an inexpensive backflow device, most newer homes in California,
are equipped with this, the problem however is they also restrict flow.
 

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Registerd User
#4
Back in my wash days, we received a call after washing a customers house,
the call was from his neighbor, who told us his plumbing started leaking when
we washed the neighbors house.

He wanted me to pay for a plumber to replace the water line from street to his
house, I think you can guess what I told him, no not what I wanted to tell him
I explained we were fully insured, but do not know how we could have damaged your
water line, he demanded I bring our power washerover so he could inspect it, as he
was sure that there was no backflow preventor on our machine, and that machine
malfunctioned sending high pressure to his house.

Shortly after my customer called me and said to ignore this guy, that he always wanted
to sue someone. (I never heard back from this guy.)

If you connect your power washer to a customers water faucet, be sure to use a backflow
device, if you hook up from faucet to a water tank, use backflow device or air gap.

Backflow prevention device - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

View attachment 4154 View attachment 4155

Above are pictures of an inexpensive backflow device, most newer homes in California,
are equipped with this, the problem however is they also restrict flow.
Good info Mark. I am assuming one can pick these up at Home Depot?
 

Mark

Moderator / Sponsor
#5
You should be able to find one of those backflow preventors at Home Depot, Lowes, OSH, or
any plumbing or hardware stores.
 
#6
Thank you all for the advice. I do use a backflow protector and explained this to the customer, so there is truly no way that my pressure washer caused the flooding. However, because he acknowledged a leak in the pipe that 'had been there for awhile' I can see how when the spigot was turned on for a few hours, it would have caused the pipe to leak for a longer period of time. It's between the insurance companies now, I just hope this doesn't cause my premiums to skyrocket!
 
#7
Tough call. Do you have your customers sign a contract before the work? My contract includes a bit about the owner must make me aware of any known concerns about plumbing leaks and/or window and door seals that leak. If this guy told you he was aware of the leak, and told you not to worry about it, then I'd fight it tooth and nail. Even your insurance rep doesn't require it, I'd still get a third party inspector to take a look at it, as he should be able to identify that the leak was pre-exisitng.

...One more reason to spend a few hundred bucks and have a lawyer specializing in contract law write your customer agreement... (Spoken from my soapbox:D
 

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