Restoration contractors say cleanup is just beginning

Melting snow and ice is causing problems in homes.
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As the warmer weather and rain comes, thawing snow and ice could lead to some pricey problems for homeowners.

"It's been a crazy week," said Bet Leemhuis from her home on Dean Road.

It's been crazy because of what you couldn't see underneath the hardwood floors in Leemhuis's home.

"All the water started pouring out of here," said Leemhuis, pointing to her dishwasher.

Thousands of gallons of water poured out from a bursting dishwasher valve after Leemhuis's pipes froze when the power went out during this week's winter storm.

Leemhuis and her family weren't home because of the power outage. They were staying with friends.

The came home Tuesday to an exhausting and expensive mess.

"The kitchen's right above us. The water came through the hardwood floors, poured through the ceiling," said Leemhuis, standing in her son's room in the basement. "The whole rug was totally soaked. They had to pull up the rug and take out the pad."

The damage didn't stop there.

"It went into the bathroom. This whole ceiling had to be pulled down," she said, showing the bathroom just off her son's room.

The entire downstairs was filled with the sound of industrial fans and dehumidifiers brought in by Michaelis, an Indianapolis restoration company.

"We always say any type of water loss, you start at $5,000," said David Gorsage with Michaelis

Looking at the damage in Leemhuis's basement and upstairs, Gorsage, said, "this is probably, all told, about a $15,000 loss."

"This is probably all told about a 15-thousand dollars loss," said Gorsage, looking at the damage in the basement and upstairs.

He explained much of the cost came from the equipment used to clean up the water: industrial-sized fans and an intricate system of hoses and rubber mats that can suck water up out of hardwood floors.

"The system will be literally sucking the water through these mats," said Gorsage.

Even though the storm's passed and the ice and snow have been melting, with the coming rain, Gorsage said this could just be the beginning of their work.

"It's not over," he said.

That's because of ice damming in gutters and blocked downspouts.

"This is what we call the beginning of some ice damming," said Gorsage, pointing to ice building up in gutters.

That ice can get underneath your shingles and, when it melts, leak through the ceiling.

And with ground saturated with snow and rain and temperatures set to warm up and then get cold again, that could lead to shifting ground around foundations.

"As that freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw happens, we're probably going to see some basement collapses," explained Gorsage.

That's a scenario Bet Leehmuis said she didn't even want to think about.

"It's been an exhausting week," said Leemhuis.

She's still trying to deal with the mess made by freezing pipes first.