Water Damage Dilemma

I received a call this morning(11:35am) from a guy dewinterizing a home I was set to inspect at 2:30pm today. He said that in the process of dewinterizing, he didn’t realize that the laundry valves were open(2nd floor). He then said that by the time he realized it, the water was dripping from the ceiling. He immediately shut them off. He just wanted me to know so I wouldn’t write it up as a leak.

I called my client’s agent when I arrived at the property(2:30pm), and left a message that the leak had not been attended to. I assumed that the guy would at least mop up the mess. It had been soaking through the ceiling for about 4 hours now and had dripped out of two areas. The agent called back(4:07pm) and I explained the above to the agent(who speaks poor english), he asked if I could explain it to the Selling Agent(he did not feel he understood enough to explain, and that I would say it more clearly). I explained the above to the Selling Agent(4:13pm), and that it has been now absorbing into the drywall for several hours and that if they fixed it now, it would probably cost less than to fix it later; he said he would send someone out.

I then receive a call from the dewinterizing guy(5:45pm), saying that the sellers agent said that the upstairs was flooded. I told him that I did not say that it was flooded, but that considerable damage was done. He asked if I thought he could just drill a couple holes and be done with it. I told him I thought it was past that point, and that it would probably need to be dried with an industrial fan at a minimum. He said thanks and that he was going to call around for quotes, I added “make sure you get a moisture remediation specialist”.

I am now getting ready to document the damage in the report, but I do not know where to begin.

Do I mention names? Do I leave it anonymous like I did here? Do I just say that there was fresh damage and leave out the details? Any ideas?

No need to mention names. Just explain the water damage, warn or the possibility of fuingi growth (CYA) if proper repairs are not conducted, and say “evidence suggests the damage was a one time occurrence caused by de-winterizing the property”. Refer it to a licensed contractor for repairs. No need to go into great detail. Plug in a few photos.

completely agree with Joe. No need to point fingers. Just write it exactly as you see it and be done with it. don’t get any more involved that you need to be.

Thanks! I was thinking the same thing, I wanted to be covered, but I didn’t want to be the “Bad” guy.

I agree there is no need to point fingers and name names. However, I would make a complete note for my files, outlining the event, who, when, where. CYA, just in case. In this legal crazy market, you never know what can come back to bite you in the future.

How does this sound:

**[size=2]There is water damage on the ceiling in the living room that appears to be caused by a one-time de-winterization of the property by others. We recommend that you have a licensed contractor repair the moisture damaged area to prevent further damage or fungi growth.

Water intrusion noticed on ceiling. Stain felt wet during period of inspection. Consider hiring qualified contractors as necessary for further evaluation.

Stay away from assuming what caused the problem.

Agreed, also just keep records of times, dates and people involved and all information exchanged as you did in your post. I would want to cover my 6 on this.
If air movers were not employed as per your advice, fungal contamination could occur in as little as 2 days.

Felt wet? Billy, you have to use a moisture meter bro.

Visible evidence of moisture and water stains was observed on the kitchen ceiling, an IR scan of the ceiling identified approximately 6 sq feet of moisture not visible with the naked eye directly above(… ) moisture meter readings confirmed moisture in excess of 70-80% in this area…see IR report.

Or something like that, but certainly not felt wet.

I agree if I’m reporting a stain beyond a visual inspection as someone would using IR technology. Water stains are either wet, damp or dry. Are you saying for all stains one sees they must pull out a moisture meter and report a reading on the report? I do use one however I don’t use it on every stain I see.


The IR mumbo Jumbo was added to get every Home Inspector excited about the technology!

If I observed water stains I would certainly pull out my moisture meter and verify if it’s active or not.

My point is if it’s wet to the touch its active. If it’s dry or damp almost dry pull out the moisture meter poke the area and see if it’s active within the drywall. Why do you need a moisture meter if the area is wet and produces water on your fingers? Is it mandatory that we check all stains regardless of state with a moisture meter?

I do

Me 2