I didn't post much this past weekend because on Friday morning at 7am I got a call from one of my tenants telling me their kitchen was soaked, and water was still dripping down from the apartment above. The tenant called again 2 minutes later because she felt she didn't make it sound urgent enough the first time.
I drove back to Lowell from Cambridge and sure enough, her kitchen was SOAKED. I went into the vacant unit below on the first floor -- nothing. It was dry as could be. Puzzled, I went into the partially finished basement, where I stay during the weekends. I discovered about 3" of water on the basement floor. As I walked through the water with my sandals on, the water came up to my ankles. I stood in the huge pool of water and looked over towards where my server, external hard drives, and router was plugged in -- all the power cords were partially submerged in the water... and I was standing in that same water. I realized how easily I could be electrocuted and slowly walked over to the breaker panel to turn off the main switch.
I wondered how so much water could come from the air conditioning unit on the third floor without making the first floor wet at all. As I stood there assessing the damage, I heard a dripping sound coming from the other side of the basement, near the hot water tanks. Come to find out, one of the three hot water tanks had eroded and was leaking water! It must have started earlier in the week because mold was already starting to form on the carpet and desk where my computer equipment was!
After paying $95 to have the A/C system fixed, I looked in the phone book (well actually, yellowpages.com on my Blackberry) for plumbing companies. I called 5 numbers, only one person answered. He came over with his girlfriend (or wife?), who surprisingly helped him with most of the work and knew the names of all the tools and fittings (I'm not being sexist, she just didn't look like someone who would know anything about plumbing). Within an hour he had the hot water tank disconnected and the water was turned back on. Looking around at how much stuff had been ruined by the water, I knew how the rest of my weekend would be spent.
With Sitha's help, we managed to clean the entire basement over the weekend, the first real cleaning it's had in two years. The A/C issue that was supposed to have been fixed on Friday morning was not fixed at all and I had to have an on-call A/C tech come back Saturday morning. He explained how the installation techs who install the systems don't understand what kind of access is needed to service those systems. He said if anything major happens to the system, I'll have to tear apart the bathroom walls just to gain access to the A/C unit (the unit is inside an attic crawl space of the finished attic).
After 8 years, I'm finally getting tired of the nuisances that come with living in basements or attics. This weekend I'll be moving into a second floor apartment in Cambridge, inside the same building I'm currently in, but with 5 huge windows and plenty of light. I will be quite an experience and I'm looking forward to it.