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In the early morning hours of Wednesday, February 18, freezing in the sprinkler header along the north wall of the Chapter/Living Room caused the pipe to split in several locations. Because of the early hour, flooding was extensive before the residents could determine the cause and shut the sprinkler system supply valves. The sprinkler piping on the first floor is hidden in drywall encasements and the wood framing covering the upper floor support beams. This construction allowed the water to travel through these encasements and “rain” throughout the first floor. The water seeped through the floor to the basement.

Our immediate response, in addition to shutting off the source of water, included contacting the Borough police, our maintenance contractor, our sprinkler system contractor and a water remediation service (Service Master). All responded promptly. Brother Ed Sidwell went to the house to provide on-site support and Brother Bob Nelson manned the phone and e-mail to coordinate contractor actions and insurance company notifications. Resident brothers assisted Service Master in water removal which took most of the day. Industrial blowers and dehumidifiers were installed and remained in continuous operation until the weekend. The wall-to-wall carpeting and padding in the Chapter/Living Room were disposed of rather than attempting to dry these waterlogged articles.

The sprinkler piping was repaired that day and the system was fully restored. The wet basement ceilings caused spurious fire alarms for several days until the detectors were dried and repaired. The electrical circuit for the dining room tripped and could not be reset. This circuit was repaired.

Brothers Sidwell and Nelson met with the insurance adjuster on Friday morning, February 20. Based on discussions with the adjuster, the wood flooring on the entire first floor is a loss and should be replaced. Ceiling heat panels on the first floor and basement were examined with an infrared heat detector with room thermostats set to the highest setting. About 60 to 80 percent of the panels were not functioning. Fortunately, enough of the heating system was working to keep the temperature at a comfortable level. The vinyl tile flooring in the basement was not damaged.

Brothers Sidwell and Nelson met with a flooring contractor on Monday, February 23, to begin the estimating process for the wood flooring replacement.  Brother Nelson met with a general contractor and HVAC contractor on Thursday, February 26, to begin the estimating process for repair/replacement of the heating system for the first floor and basement.

After bids were received and reviewed by the Board of Directors, an insurance claim was submitted on April 7. That claim has been approved and the initial payment of that claim has been received. The wood flooring on the entire first floor will be removed and replaced with vinyl plank flooring (with a simulated wood grain finish). This product has much higher water resistance than either solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. In addition, two 12x18 bound carpets will be installed in the Chapter/Living Room.

Ceiling heat in the foyer, library and dining room will be disconnected and a combination of baseboard heat and wall-mounted heating electric resistance heating units will be installed. Heat in the basement party rooms and bathrooms will be provided by wall mounted units. Other heating options (included ducted and ductless heat pumps) were examined but determined to be infeasible because of installation difficulties and significantly higher costs.

Heating system repairs began on May 19. Flooring repairs began on June 9.

Totals costs of this incident are expected to be approximately $60,000, with all of that covered by insurance, less our deductible of $2,500.

For more information or to find out how you can help, contact Bob Nelson at nelsonnittany@aol.com.