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#195699 - 01/10/06 11:34 AM Water Damage...
Topher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Sicily
Hello,
We just experienced a flood in our neighborhood and received about three inches of water in the house. The bottom of our upright piano was submerged for about three days including the bottom of the sound board. Mold is starting to grow where the water reached. We have been unable to find someone to come look at it up till this point.

Does anyone know if this is a fixable problem or should we claim it as a total loss and buy a new one?

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#195700 - 01/10/06 11:47 AM Re: Water Damage...
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
The problem with water damage is not what you immediately see, but the aftermath to come in weeks or the months to come.
If this was a new or slightly older expensive upright, I would claim it. If it was an older middle of the road piano, you might get very little.
Do you have a separate rider on the piano with a previous appraisal?
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#195701 - 01/10/06 12:08 PM Re: Water Damage...
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
Before you do anything, pull the piano away from the wall. Remove the kick panel and open the fallbd, lid , and front. Be sure you get air circulating through it and find a gentle way to dry it (damp-chaser would be good, even a row of low wattage light bulbs). Pianos, (while extremely sensitive) are amazingly durable. Get it dried out, clean off the mold, and see what you've got. I wouldn't automatically write the piano off. I've even seen finishes lose the foggy patches that come from water damage. Finally, ck with your insurance company to weigh the pros and cons of turning in the 'loss'. Many companies penalise you for having claims. If you've got a Bosie, it might be worthwhile. If you've got a Kimble, any loss might not even exceed your deductible. Let us know how it works out. Walt

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#195702 - 01/10/06 02:56 PM Re: Water Damage...
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10338
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
I have dealt with similar situations many times in the past. This piano is "totaled". If the pianos has significant value your shouldn't have any trouble in getting it replace.

As Curry pointed out above, the aftermath is much worse.

If you have "replacement value" insurance you should seek a new piano from the insurance co.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#195703 - 01/10/06 03:28 PM Re: Water Damage...
Topher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Sicily
We do have replacement value insurance. The piano is a 1978 Kimball that my wife has had since it was new. Since Kimball no longer makes pianos, I am not sure how to figure out the replacement cost. Are there any brands now that are roughly equivalent?

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#195704 - 01/10/06 03:54 PM Re: Water Damage...
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Try for about £3000 or what that is in Euro's in Sicily. When I was in the piano store 12 months ago in Lincoln, England, they had one or two Kimballs. I should see what you fancy having and see what the insurance company will do. They will be the deciding factor on the money you get.

Please keep in touch and we will try to give you help.

There is a member of this website that is based in Italy so maybe he can help.

Alan

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#195705 - 01/10/06 04:45 PM Re: Water Damage...
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10338
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
I would press for a piano that sells for about $3000-$3500USA.

I don't know what brands are sold in Sicily, but a Korean- or Indoneian-made instrument would be fair compensation. Maybe even a low-end Yamaha or Kawai.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#195706 - 01/11/06 09:32 AM Re: Water Damage...
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
I was looking at piano rebuilders online today and thought this might be useful:

If you have a Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bechstein or other fine grand piano that has been damaged in a flood and is beyond minimal repairs, please call us at 1-000-000-0000 for a free appraisal. Some flood damaged pianos are of value to us, and there may still be...

My computer wouldn't let me copy the entire blurb, and your piano being more of a 'home spinet' rather than a fine grand would not have value to this rebuilder. But, it does indicate that even a total loss isn't always a total loss. If your piano has sentimental value, and your insurance company cannot make it worthwhile to replace it, it's might not hurt to keep your eye on it and see what's left. If the water was only 2 or 3 inches deep and you have any kind of rise from the castors, you might get lucky. I hope this works out to your satisfaction. Let us know how everything goes.
p.s. If you'd like the contact info for the rebuilder's site just let me know. I'm in no way affilliated w/this establishment but I didn't want the appearance of trying to drum up business for anyone. Walt

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#195707 - 01/12/06 05:28 PM Re: Water Damage...
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20746
Loc: Oakland
There is no way that you could establish that the full replacement value of a many-years-old Kimball upright is $3000-3500. Maybe a tenth that. Full replacement coverage does not mean that you get a new piano, unless the piano is reasonably close to being new itself.

An accident like this would not be covered by household insurance in the US. You would need flood insurance.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#195708 - 01/12/06 05:58 PM Re: Water Damage...
chancedaisy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/05/05
Posts: 15
Loc: seattle, wa
Sorry, but BDB is incorrect. Replacement value means that if you buy a new piano you will receive what the replaced piano would have cost before depreciation. So if today's cost for a like piano is $3,500, you will receive $3,500. If however you decide to keep the piano and not replace it you are given the depreciated value; in this case potentially much less. You pay a premium for this replacement value insurance coverage so it would not make sense to request an amount based on BDB's advice.

On another note I have found many members of this site to be quite snobish when it comes to any mention of a piano below a certain "tier".
At the same time I find it interesting to note the modest interiors housing many of these prized possesions.

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#195709 - 01/12/06 06:11 PM Re: Water Damage...
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2313
Loc: Lowell MA
I also have to agree with chancedaisy.

I do a fair amount of work representing Insurance Co's.
Full replacement is Full replacement and is generally at todays cost regardless of condition or when it is purchased. One pays well for that premium. You can always buy LESS insurance and you will get less in a loss.

Wouldn't it be interesting if Topher placed pictures on the web and we gave him/her an evaluation. Might be a fun exercise. Especially if it yealded results.
_________________________
Has Anyone Seen My Glasses ?

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
www.finepianodevelopment.com

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#195710 - 01/12/06 09:37 PM Re: Water Damage...
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20746
Loc: Oakland
It seems chancedaisy is correct. I apologize.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#195711 - 01/13/06 05:41 AM Re: Water Damage...
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3910
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by chancedaisy:
...At the same time I find it interesting to note the modest interiors housing many of these prized possesions. [/b]
That just shows what they put a value on.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#195712 - 01/13/06 09:30 AM Re: Water Damage...
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
We can't know how the insurance co. will deal w/the loss until after 'they have spoken'. There are too many variables - the fact that a foreig n country is involved, perhaps a misunderstanding of the specific terms of coverage (there could be exclusions for flood damage), and the terms of replacement in that specific case. We all know what the possibilities are; but this knowledge is based on our experience with insurance here. In Sicily there could be some elements that would surprise us.
Based on the uncertainty of the insurance settlement (perhaps there is uncertainty in my mind only), I suggested that everything possible be done so that damage would be minimal. If the insurance co comes through w/a new piano, that's great. If tha doesn't happen, why not see if the original piano is salvagable.

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#195713 - 01/13/06 10:17 AM Re: Water Damage...
Rich Galassini Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8974
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Because of the type of business we run, we have been asked to evaluate a very large number of water and fire damaged pianos. We are asked by insurance companies and piano owners alike and the only thing consistent about the outcome is its inconsistency. I am sure this has to do with the language of a given policy, but also with the integrity of the adjuster\company that writes a policy.

If I ever have fire or water damage in my home, I will hire a private adjuster. The insurance company's adjuster can do a fine job......or not. At best, the company will give a fair settlement. At worst, they will ask a customer to sign off for as little cost as possible, without any real regard to the customer's real loss.

I guess it is like a friend of mine has said for years - "That may be correct, but it ain't right."

Please forgive my obvious cynicism on this subject.

- end of rant
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#195714 - 01/13/06 04:44 PM Re: Water Damage...
Topher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Sicily
Thank you all for your help. I have been learning a lot on this forum. We are going to talk to the insurance company again tomorrow. I am attempting to post some photos with this .

The insurance here is pretty simple really. We actually carry U.S. renters insurance here and they have confirmed that we are covered for all flood-related losses. We are pretty close to tracking down a local piano expert to assist us with an assessment.

I love all the feedback and don't mind having a "cheap piano" since my wife brought it into the marriage. My treasured instrument is my hand-made Italian 12-string guitar.





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#195715 - 01/14/06 07:25 AM Re: Water Damage...
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2313
Loc: Lowell MA
Interesting pictures. The grain of the sound board is horizontal. What is the brand of the piano?

Kelly Plate. Etc, I should recognize the parts and know thew piano....sheeeeesh.

The "superficial" damage can be cleaned up. Take the bottom off the piano. Clean the rust off the plate. Use a rust converter, prime and touch up the gold. Replace the trapwork metal, the screws, refinish the bottom board etc.....basic and easy.

The question is, is the sound board lifting from the frame> And if not now, will it in the next couple of years. Is the sound board now distorted from the moisture? Are any of the other case, frame parts experiencing glue failure? Will they in the next couple of years?

Are the strings rusting anywhere?


Of course, you can repair the cosmetics easily. From experience though, I have seen serious problems develope over time. 2 years or so.


It is easy to make a case to play it safe and replace the piano. In the long haul, peace of mind, you are better off.
_________________________
Has Anyone Seen My Glasses ?

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
www.finepianodevelopment.com

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#195716 - 01/14/06 07:42 AM Re: Water Damage...
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Buck:
Interesting pictures. The grain of the sound board is horizontal. What is the brand of the piano?...[/b]
And besides the heretofore unseen horizontal, what about that grain distribution in the upper left of the second picture. Do you reckon this might be a laminated board?

Also, isn't that MDF in the case? If it is, it certainly stands less of a chance of surviving water damage.

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#195717 - 01/14/06 08:11 AM Re: Water Damage...
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2313
Loc: Lowell MA
I don't see MDF, I do see basic veneer core plywood. What looks like MDF on the inside surface of the side of the case, is stained veneer core.

A laminated sound board is definately possible.....funny, it would withstand the water much better....
_________________________
Has Anyone Seen My Glasses ?

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
www.finepianodevelopment.com

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#195718 - 01/15/06 11:07 PM Re: Water Damage...
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
The key is the amount that insurance will re-imburse. Once we know that, the options will be clearer. In any case, do what you can to make sure the piano is dry, follow Larry Buck's advice on cleaning up the superficial damage, and find out what an onsight technician thinks about the piano's prospects. To me, the most significant value of the piano is your sentimental attachment to it. An instrument's history w/it's family of owners is priceless and I wouldn't be quick to give up on that.
ps - Assuming it survives, it would ad an intersting story to your piano's history about how it went through a flood - and lived! lol

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#195719 - 01/18/06 05:45 AM Re: Water Damage...
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
I suppose it's logical not to clean it up until the insurance has been assessed. Maybe it has?

Alan

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#195720 - 01/25/06 02:42 PM Re: Water Damage...
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
It's certainly not advisable to make it look better for the adjuster, But I'd still remove any sludge (as it holds moisture), make sure the piano is dry, and make sure the humidity in the room is normal. This will preserve your (or the subsequent owner's) options if you decide to keep the piano.

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#195721 - 01/28/06 11:25 AM Re: Water Damage...
Topher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Sicily
Great news!
We were able to contact a local piano tuner/technician/repairman in the local area, who came highly recommended by our Italian musician friends. He came over and took a look. He performed most of the work that Larry Buck recommended. It is cleaned up and sounds better than ever!

He replaced several stings and he tuned it to 440. He was impressed that the "A" was still at 440 despite 8 years of no tuning and more than 6 moves since the last time it was tuned in the Atlanta area. He proclaimed it a "good piano" and left.

For all the work, he charged a total of 150 euro. That seems fair for the work involved and the drive from his home 30 minutes away.

Incidentally the sound board is laminated and seems to be in great condition. We found no evidence of water infiltration into it. I guess the morale is, if you have to move a lot and occasionally get floods, it can be good thing to have a cheaper piano.

Thank you all again for your kind and helpful assistance. I am looking forward to using the forum and learning more about this wonderful instrument.

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#195722 - 01/28/06 03:32 PM Re: Water Damage...
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
I'm glad everything worked out to your liking! Walt

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#195723 - 01/28/06 06:45 PM Re: Water Damage...
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Watch out for buzzing bass strings in the future. In the last photo, notice the strings going over two pins at the right hand side. Those pins may work loose in the future, assuming that they were submerged. They can be pulled and glued in place, as long as the bridge they go into doesn't split.

Good luck!

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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