What would we do without our ovens, refrigerators, washers and dryers? Our forebears would have swooned at the thought of owning any one of them. They’re small miracles when they work, but when they don’t—well, things can get dicey. Read on for stories of modern day appliances failing in catastrophic ways.
Kitchen sink and dishwasher burst
In January 2019, just 3 months after closing escrow on our home and 2 months after being diagnosed with a rare ocular tumor, a water main line that fed our kitchen sink and dishwasher burst and flooded our kitchen and bathroom.
Not sure I can completely laugh about it now. The process took 6+ months to repair, and we had to move to a hotel while I was forced to recover from multiple surgeries, face down on a cot for 20 hours a day while taking care of my daughter who was 8 at the time along with our three dogs.
We moved back into the home without any floors, furniture, or hope and had to sleep on an air mattress and blow up the sofa while continuing to battle my tumor, which has taken my vision now. We were just beginning to get back on our feet when COVID-19 hit so it’s been incredibly hard for us. What I can say is what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we’re hoping that we can move past all of these challenges soon. 2019 blew… literally!
Water heater had burst
Fifteen years ago, I walked into my laundry room and really could have used a small boat. My water heater had burst. My appliances were covered by a home warranty company, so trying not to panic, I called them.
First, I needed to stop the water from flowing. Putting my husband on the line, customer service told him how to cut the water off to it. Then [the agent] scheduled an appointment for a technician to come out, which he did the next day. He removed the old water heater, installed a new one and carted the old one away. Luckily, my laundry room floors survived the bath with very little damage. Neither the washer nor dryer suffered any issues.
I was doubly lucky. First, there was little damage and secondly, I had just about decided not to renew my warranty as I had not used it since the former owners gave it to us for a year when we bought our home. I hadn’t used it in the four years since we had lived there so I saw the water heater bursting as a blessing in disguise. Replacing it would have been costly as it would have been to replace the AC when it went out and my oven when it died some months later.
Flood and housefire
In 1999, my family had what we like to call the “cursed” year. We moved to a new house big enough to fit all three of us kids with a pool in the backyard and a beautiful home office and garage. Things began looking bright, though as time went on, our appliances began to attack.
First, only a few weeks into living at our new place, we went to a family friend’s for dinner. Coming home late, I fell asleep in the back seat of our minivan. Upon arriving at home, I was carried in by my mom and awoken by dad screaming her name. Our water heater had sprung a leak, flooding the laundry room and spouting water on the floor, walls–everything. We all ran in and began bailing water out while my parents called an emergency plumber.
Luckily, we had flood insurance, and after several days of workers coming to recarpet and clean, things were getting back to normal. We hadn’t even finished unpacking, so no possessions got hit. It was just the beginning, though.
Months passed, and eventually, fall came. My brother was acting in a local theatre production of Macbeth, and we all went to see him perform. If you don’t know, this Shakespearean classic is notorious for its “curse.” Anyone who says “Macbeth” in the theatre when not reciting a line is supposedly bound for bad luck. There are many counter-curses and rituals (spitting over your left shoulder) that are supposed to get your good juju back.
During intermission of the performance, I was standing with my mom and dad discussing the first act. My mom mentioned that it was the best production of “Macbeth” she had ever seen. Being the incredibly superstitious child, I was, I begged my mom to spit over her shoulder. But intermission was ending, my mom told me not to worry, and we sat down and watched the rest of the show.
On the way home, about five minutes before we got back, we found ourselves driving behind a fire truck. They made a left; we made a left. They passed the Dunkin’ Donuts right before our corner; we passed the Dunkin Donuts. My mom joked about how funny it would be if we followed it home. Little did we know that earlier that night, around the time of intermission, our dryer duct had caught fire.
This is a shockingly common cause of housefires many people are unaware of. Every few months, it’s critical to check the duct connection for wear and vacuum around the area ensuring there’s no dust or lint accumulation. We had no idea at the time.
Our house lost an entire floor. Thousands of dollars worth of our possessions, including art, precious jewelry and mementos, were all gone in a matter of hours. Check your appliances. Make sure you have both flood and fire insurance–and stay safe, folks!
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