Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
9/15/23 10:53 a.m.

We have five gallon bottles of water delivered to the house every month and have a water cooler in the kitchen that is owned by the company that we buy the water from.

Yesterday while we were out, it started leaking, in slow steady drips. When we got home, we heard it before we noticed the mess. It was pretty much coming out at a drop per second for about four gallons. We had it on a waterproof mat, but that filled up and spilled over.

We have hardwood floors in the kitchen, that were refinished in 2019. That area is now buckled and stained, as water got in between the joints, under the cabinet, probably onto the subfloor and down to the basement ceiling insulation, under the baseboard trim and probably up into the bottom edge of the sheetrock. Ugh...

I put a call in to the company, and was assured that a customer care rep would contact me within 72 business hours, which, because today is Friday, means some time next week.

The customer service girl, who was nice but sounded like she was reading off of a script, wasn't even phased when I explained what happened, so I image that this is a pretty common occurrence. 

Anybody dealt with this before?

lnlogauge Dork
9/15/23 11:18 a.m.

Same thing for me 3 years ago. Although mine was probably more like a week of dripping. Step one, remediation. Get someone in ASAP. 

For me, all the hardwood floors had to be ripped up. The cabinets were glued together sawdust, so those had to be replaced too. Dealing with the insurance sucked, and I probably did it wrong because I did most of the work myself. I ended up with a new kitchen for not much out of pocket, so it worked out in the end. 



Sonic UberDork
9/15/23 11:38 a.m.

Yup, on a regular basis.  Mitigate the damages ASAP to get things drying, and probably call a remediation company like ServPro or whatnot.   Time is of the essence.   Take pictures or video or both of the fault and lean on the bottle or cooler and save them items themselves   


With only 4 gallons it shouldn't be too bad, we have a water company as an insured so get hundreds or thousands of gallons usually.  

The easy button is to report it to your own homeowners coverage, they will take care of you and then chase the water cooler company for repayment.  It might be a little messy figuring out who is contractually responsible so better to let them deal with it.  

mtn MegaDork
9/15/23 11:42 a.m.

I suspect you've got an insurance claim coming up. 

z31maniac MegaDork
9/15/23 1:00 p.m.

Call your agent. Make a claim, let them deal with subrogation against the water delivery company.

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
9/15/23 1:11 p.m.

We have HW in our kitchen.  We had a small issue and the boards dried out and came back together.  Maybe ours wasn't this bad?

z31maniac MegaDork
9/15/23 3:22 p.m.

Oh, and document EVERYTHING.

Greg Voth
Greg Voth Dork
9/15/23 10:46 p.m.

I work in property insurance claims so have dealt with similar stuff hundreds of times.   Time is of the essence in water claims. 

In your situation with possible subfloor damage it may be different than my experience below but the basics are the same, get the water out, pop the baseboards and toe kicks and introduce airflow and dehumidification.  A remediation company is likely a good idea. You can pay them directly typically for a lower cost than they'd charge insurance and if you need to file a claim you would still have that documentation of the cost incurred.  Or if the water cooler company accepts responsibility they could reimburse you. 

Personally I have had a water loss shortly after renovating, but before moving into my current house.  A friend of mine stopped by to grab some of his tools and water was running out the front door.  I hadn't been to the house in 3-4 days and had accidentally cracked the water heater drain with my foot when crawling around the under stair closet where it's located.  Probably a couple hundred gallons. Recently refinished hardwood floors on a concrete slab with pretty severe buckling / cupping.  

I didn't file a claim since I wanted to see how bad the damage was first.  Called a water remediation company and stated getting the water out and popping the baseboards and getting fans on it.  I told them I wasn't planning on filing a claim and wanted to save the floors so I made sure they brought drying mats (suction type mats that get taped to the floor to extract water from the boards) in addition to the normal fans and dehumidifiers. They dried it for 3-4 days and it cost me about $2500 as a paid upon completion job.  A lot of times their bills are higher when they know a claim is involved.  The floors were still cupped when they left but I knew it would likely settle over time. I also called the guy who had just refinished my floors and he recommended waiting for six months before he would refinish again otherwise they would be crowned as they continued to normalize.  In the end I didn't have them refinished because aside from one or two boards you'd never know there was damage.  They were pretty much back to normal withing a couple months.  

Just beware that if the flooring and cabinets need replacement and you decide to pursue the water cooler company (assuming they accept responsibility) they are going to pay the depreciated value of your damages not replacement cost like most homeowners carriers do. 

The easy button is certainly to call your homeowners insurance.  They can likely send out a remediation company and an adjuster to take a look and prepare and estimate then possibly pursue the water cooler company.  The downside is if the damage is minor or you have a high deductible it's a claim on your record.  What you don't want to do is ignore it all and end up with ruined floors, cabinets, possible mold and coverage issues because you failed to mitigate the damages.  

Also I agree with what was stated above, document everything.  Pictures, videos, receipts etc.  You can purchase moisture meters cheap at the big box stores to check what's wet versus known dry areas and snake cameras help see areas that are hard to access.  


914Driver MegaDork
9/16/23 8:58 a.m.

Has the water bottle company responded, or even alerted?

karplus2 Reader
9/16/23 9:33 a.m.

My parents had a sink supply hose break while they were on vacation in Europe. I got called by the neighbors when they noticed water pouring out of the doors. We arent exactly sure how long it had been running but we're guessing at least 24 hours. I was able to get it stopped and immediately started getting the valuable furniture and rugs out. I was able to save the good stuff. We were also able to get servpro in to start drying in about 12 hours. It was a very long process to repair everything but it is all back to normal. Not a hint of smell or anything like that. I attribute that to how fast servpro got in there and got their industrial dryers going. Definitely get a claim started with your insurance company.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/16/23 9:36 a.m.

Fans, dehumidifiers and a shop vac ASAP! Leave the dehumidifier run 24/7 close by and blow fans on the area.


OHSCrifle UberDork
9/16/23 9:55 a.m.

Not a fun situation regardless but this is a great testimonial for "bottles" rather than a "water line connected" system. Once the bottle is empty it's done...

914Driver MegaDork
9/16/23 10:01 a.m.

A friend had that happen at home while he went off for a 5 day trip, what a mess!  I saw something on "This Old House" that could prevent the leak.

Do some research, some look easier to use and make more sense than others.   Woody, I wigh I could help with the water cooler.

lnlogauge Dork
9/16/23 10:51 a.m.

I HIGHLY recommend buying some water alarms. I've had 2 water issues caught by these, that has saved me thousands. You get an obnoxious alert on your phone, an email, and a loud alarm on the sensor. They are phenomenal for the price. 

Limited-time deal: Govee Water Leak Detectors 5 Pack, 100dB Adjustable Audio Alarm Sensor, Sensitive Leak and Drip Alert, for Kitchen Bathroom Basement (Battery Included) https://a.co/d/f012C0D

1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/21/24 10:01 a.m.

Wow.  How long have you been getting water delivered?  First leaker?

I'm on year 21 of home water delivery in 5-gallon bottles.  I probably go through five 5-gallon bottles every two weeks.  Before the delivery company got a bunch of new bottles, I'd say at least one in ten delivered bottles had a small crack that would leak water.  It was worse back when I used a gravity feed cooler with the bottle inverted, since more air could get through the crack than could water.  If I saw a wet spot on my porch when I brought the bottles in, I would lay it on its side and push on the side to raise a little pressure, then look for the telltale drop being forced out of the crack.  A piece of duct tape over the crack would fix it. 

Fortunately I have ceramic tile on the floor in the kitchen where the water cooler lives, so the times a leaker got past me, the "damage" consisted of wet grout and perhaps damp oak shoe-mould.  If I had to file an insurance claim every time that happened, I'd be un-insurable.

I would take for granted that a percentage of delivered bottles was going to leak and take steps to remediate the damage.


Edit:  Ah, shoot zombie canoe.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
5/21/24 10:02 a.m.


dculberson MegaDork
5/21/24 1:08 p.m.

In reply to Woody (Forum Supportum) :

And I was invested in it, too. What happened with your leak incident last year? Was it no big deal or are you neck deep in a kitchen remodel now?

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