OLATHE, Kan. - Homeowners with wet basements have been flooding carpet cleaning companies with calls this Labor Day weekend.
After 97 days of drought, the sudden deluge of rain was too much for sump pumps in hundreds of Kansas City-area homes.
It did not just ruin carpet in one Olathe family's home, it ruined a vacation.
Jeffery Needham and his family were just two hours away from leaving on a 10-day trip to New Mexico.
"We came downstairs to check some odds and ends before we were going to leave and voilà! We've got a flooded basement,” Needham said.
It turns out that a sump pump failed, spewing gallons of water into the family's finished basement.
"It was a mess,” Needham said. “The only way to describe it.”
Needham said he called a dozen contractors, but they were all too busy with other flooded basements in the Metro to help.
Crews from Pittman's Flood Restoration spent the entire weekend ripping up the family's basement.
"Eighty to 90 percent of it is a total loss,” owner Brad Pittman said. “The rain water was nasty and dirty. So it's all gone.”
The crew discovered a crack between the Needham's home and the soil outside.
After such a long period of drought, the ground shrank like a sponge causing the home's foundation to pull away from the soil. The result was a gap big enough for rain to trickle in.
After 97 days of drought, then a downpour, sump pumps at hundreds of homes in the Kansas City area simply couldn't keep up.
"After that much of a drought, they overwork themselves and they'll automatically go out on you,” Pittman said.
It's a $10,000 problem that Pittman said a backup sump pump could have solved.
The Needhams were disappointed to have to cancel their vacation, but admit they’re glad they didn’t leave town earlier and discover the issue 10 days later.
"It's upsetting, but you take it with a grain of salt and move on,” Needham said. “It caused a lot of damage and ruined a lot of treasures. I keep thinking it could have been worse.”
Most insurance companies are closed for Labor Day. Yet, carpet restoration experts say it is extremely important that homeowners take photos of the damage and keep a square of the damaged carpet as evidence.
In some, but not all cases, insurance policies will cover sump pump failures.
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