Hot water heater burst

Doc

Bottoms Up
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Burst is not the best description as there was no big bang. Just a constant leak.
It must've been leaking a few days before we discovered it.
We had put low end fake wood flooring on the basement floor. It had a foam layer between it and the floor.
The foam appears to have wicked water way up the floor. Bubbles in places 20 foot from the water heater. Serv Pros moisture detector showed water even further away from water heater.
Flooring ruined in 3 rooms. Main basement game room, bedroom and bathroom. About 1500 sq ft total. Over half has been torn up by Serv Pro. We have 20 or so Serv Pro dryers running 24x7 for the next 3 days.
Finally found someone who can replace the water heater tomorrow.

Now we have to decide what flooring to put back on the floors. Since we had never had water in the basement when we finished the basement 4 years ago we went with the fake hardwood flooring. Looking for suggestions as to what type of flooring would handle a situation like this without totally ruining the floors. I'm sure options exist. Just not sure I can afford them.
 

Doc

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There is no simple answer to this.
Here is some info I found online.

What is the Best Flooring to Put on a Concrete Basement Floor?​

Moisture–whether from potential flooding, leaks, or just condensation–can be a major concern in any basement, and should be near the top of your list of considerations when choosing basement flooring. Despite the fact that a newly-finished basement is ideally designed to match the rest of the home and not feel like a basement, the flooring has to be able to withstand the potential problems that could arise in damp basement conditions. That means steering clear of traditional options such as strip or plank hardwoods for below-grade floors.

Fortunately, there are many materials that are excellent options for basement floors. Take a look at some of the best.

Engineered Wood​

If your heart is set on wood floors, then engineered wood could be a solution. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered wood flooring has a cross-hatched plywood base below a wood veneer, making it more stable.

Pros: Engineered wood is attractive and also holds up well to mild amounts of moisture. In addition, it has excellent sound absorption qualities.

Cons: It is one of the pricier options for basement floors. It must be nailed or stapled to a subfloor and, because of that, can be difficult to remove in the event of water damage.

Ceramic Tile​

Ceramic tile is a finished surface that can be installed directly onto the concrete slab. Radiant heating can be installed between the concrete and the tile, keeping the floor and the room warm.

Pros: If there is a flood, tile dries out quickly with no damage and it will never rot. Laying tile in a small area can be a do-it-yourself project.

Cons: Tile is cold on its own, so radiant heating might be necessary to include. It has poor sound absorption qualities. Before tile can be installed the concrete slab needs to be completely level and free of damage, since there is no subfloor to compensate. A large area can be difficult to install yourself.

Vinyl​

Vinyl flooring comes in sheet, tile, or plank form. Sheet vinyl is nearly seamless and impervious to water. Tile flooring has seams that could allow water infiltration if standing water is allowed to remain too long. Vinyl comes in a wide range of colors and patterns and can be a beautiful flooring choice for any decor. Luxury wood-grain or stone-look vinyl planks are thicker and quite durable.

Pros: Vinyl is highly resistant to water damage, is relatively warm to the touch and fairly inexpensive to install.

Cons: Vinyl needs a clean surface for adhesion and sheet vinyl requires professional installation.

Decorative Concrete​

Concrete is a versatile option that can be painted or stained for a high-end look that is low-maintenance and economical.

Pros: Concrete is the most moisture-hardy floor. It requires little in the way of materials and no subfloor.

Cons: The hard work comes before it is painted, as concrete must be thoroughly scoured before it can be finished. Concrete is cold, with no options for heating it from below, and has poor sound quality.

Cork Flooring​

Cork naturally resists mold, mildew and rot, making it ideal for use in basements. Simply apply an acrylic finish at the time of installation and reapply every 10 years, depending on wear, to protect against scratches.

Pros: Cork is easy to clean, eco-friendly and sustainable, and is a good insulator, making it a great choice for environmentally-conscious homeowners. It is also a soft surface that is easy on feet and joints.

Cons: Because it is softer, cork is susceptible to damage from furniture and sharp objects.

Rubber Flooring​

For a less formal finished basement that is intended as a play space, rubber flooring is a smart choice. One option is roll rubber, the type found in gyms, and has the fewest seams. Interlocking rubber tiles fit like puzzle pieces and are easy for homeowners to install.

Pros: This cushioned surface provides a high degree of insulation; is soft for walking, standing and playing on; and holds up to moisture.

Cons: It is not aesthetically pleasing for many living spaces. Water can get into the seams.

Carpet​

Carpet my seem like a counter-intuitive choice when there are moisture concerns, but in basements that are consistently dry and with the installation of a good sub-floor, it can be a reasonable option.

Pros: Carpet is the warmest flooring material without radiant heat. It has good sound properties for home theaters. It’s comfortable to sit on and walk on.

Cons: It can be difficult to dry if it does get wet. Carpet can be pricey, especially if you opt for a thicker piles and padding.

Basement floors are notorious for becoming damp. Sadly, moisture will ruin a floor unless necessary precautions are taken. Before you begin adding a floor, make sure you’ve taken care of any moisture concerns. Contact a basement finishing company to help you make the right flooring choice for your basement.
 

chowderman

Super Moderator
Staff member
first . . . . . do plan for a high sided catchpan under the new water heater, with a drain.
if a drain is not possible, a float switched / condensate pump with an alarm.

the solid vinyl planking is "water proof" - or sheet vinyl - but in the event of a leak will simply seal the water under the vinyl and you get a very expensive mold problem . . . in the end replacing both the flooring and mitigating the mold.

I'd go for a solid catch pan solution and inexpensive carpeting. the carpet will be toast, but it breathes and should minimize the mold issue, unless it's not caught for months.
 

bczoom

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I agree about the catch pan and alarm.

Myself, I only go with vinyl plank anymore. Not sure what that article was talking about when it said "adhesion" as our vinyl floors float. You just lay it on the floor then snap (with a bit of effort) the planks together.

If our area of vinyl flooded, pull up the planks (easy), dry the floor then reinstall. Mrs. Zoom and I can easily do a large room in an afternoon.
 
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FrancSevin

Proudly Deplorable
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A well laid basement floor of concrete will drain naturally to the main floor drains. One or many.

After the major flood and ruination of everything in the lower lever, I put down concrete 3'X5' panels with 1.0" gaps between for the water to drain. Then covered that with 1/2" treated plywood. Allover a vapor barrier. Expensive and a lot of work yes. But I have a clean, solid, dry subfloor where I can install carpet or hardwood without fear. I actually laid, parquet wood tiles 30 year ago. No issues whatsoever.

Today I might use closed foam panels. But with glue instead of firing nails. We are adding indoor space this summer using a existing concrete patio deck. I plan to do the same system over 1/2" closed foam with gutters and 3/4" T&G fir plywood as the sub floor.

A 4' X 12' space all together

BTW, you can buy 24" X 24"interloking panels which will do this exact same effect. But they are unbelievably expensive. Not as insulative as my approach. but most certainly adequate in a basement application. I do note such is not mentioned in post # 2.
 
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Doc

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first . . . . . do plan for a high sided catchpan under the new water heater, with a drain.
if a drain is not possible, a float switched / condensate pump with an alarm.

the solid vinyl planking is "water proof" - or sheet vinyl - but in the event of a leak will simply seal the water under the vinyl and you get a very expensive mold problem . . . in the end replacing both the flooring and mitigating the mold.

I'd go for a solid catch pan solution and inexpensive carpeting. the carpet will be toast, but it breathes and should minimize the mold issue, unless it's not caught for months.
I thought of the same thing, a catch pan and left a message for the plumber coming tomorrow. If we can't route to a drain I will hunt for a float alarm.

I will look for some of the LVT offerings which are supposed to be easy to install and waterproof so that IF it happened again we could take it up and dry the area and reinstall. Sounds good.

But as Chowder and BC pointed out, a catch pan is a must before the water heater goes in.
 

Doc

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The round catch pan will not fit in the area where my water heater sits. :(

Plumber could not drain my tank due to sediment blocking the drain. So he recommends flushing the water heater twice a year, or at least once every year to get rid of sediment.
I have never ever done this.
Do any of you flush your water heater regularly?
 

FrancSevin

Proudly Deplorable
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The round catch pan will not fit in the area where my water heater sits. :(

Plumber could not drain my tank due to sediment blocking the drain. So he recommends flushing the water heater twice a year, or at least once every year to get rid of sediment.
I have never ever done this.
Do any of you flush your water heater regularly?
Yes. UI even have a PVC pipe routing it to the floor drain.

If your water has minerals, and most do, it will collect at the bottom reducing capacity and heat recovery.

BTW post #5 has an error. The new room is 24'X12'
 
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bczoom

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Plumber could not drain my tank due to sediment blocking the drain.
Did he take it out full or siphon from the top?
I "used" to drain it annually but quit. Reason being is most of the newer water heaters are disposable and only last for about 3 months past the warranty. I just replace the heater (normally every 6 years or so).

Did you buy a water alarm yet? In my experience, the cheap ones work well. Just check or replace the battery annually.
 

Doc

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The supply house that sold the water heater did not have the alarms.
Any suggestions on alarms?

They took it out full Ugg 50 gallons at 8 pounds each ...400 plus weight of tank and sediment. 500+ but they got it out.
 

Ironman

Well-known member
The round catch pan will not fit in the area where my water heater sits. :(

Plumber could not drain my tank due to sediment blocking the drain. So he recommends flushing the water heater twice a year, or at least once every year to get rid of sediment.
I have never ever done this.
Do any of you flush your water heater regularly?
Yes, when I remember, and I have a drain right there. I live on a limestone hill so it’s a must. I’m lucky to get 10 years out of one lol

They really put on the weight on when neglected.
 

Doc

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Yes, when I remember, and I have a drain right there. I live on a limestone hill so it’s a must. I’m lucky to get 10 years out of one lol

They really put on the weight on when neglected.
How do you flush yours? I equated flush with drain but they are two different things. Not sure how one would flush a water heater.
 

bczoom

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Drain is when you turn off the water supply, open the valve at the bottom then let it run empty.
Flush is when you leave the water on, open the valve at the bottom and let the water continuously run until the outfall from the hose runs clear. Flushing works better for cleaning crud as it's circulating everything which does a better cleaning job.
When draining, you MUST turn off the electric supply to the heater or you'll burn out the elements. You don't have to do the same on a flush but I'd recommend it.

If you go to replace your water heater but can't open the valve to drain it:
Disconnect your electric and both water lines.
Take a piece of scrap garden hose, cut off an end then slide it inside one of the water lines. Use that as a siphon.

For the alarms, I don't know what brand I have right now. I'd just go to Amazon and read the reviews. I don't care for the ones that have an alarm as one component then a wire that goes to the sensor. The wire gets twisted or whatever over time then your sensor may not be laying flat where you want it.
 
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Doc

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Thanks IM and BC.
Seems simple enough to flush really. Installer suggested doing the 'flush' when we change the time in the spring and the fall. That could work even if we get rid of the time shift.
 

chowderman

Super Moderator
Staff member
the 'need to flush' depends on how much hardness you have in your water.
it's the minerals that scale&flake off electric elements, or accumulate at the gas heated surfaces flake and fall to the bottom.

our public water has very low mineral/dissolved solids - replaced the water heater at 19 years when it started leaking at the top connections (ordinary age related corrosion . . . )

they hooked up a garden hose, opened the bottom valve, it drained with next to nothing solid coming out....

per the age old adage: "It depends"
 
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