Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Saga of the Sewer

Monday night it poured. Not a small, light rain, a three-and-a-half incher that flooded our yard and seeped into our downstairs bathroom. The next morning, I went into our basement to grab a few towels to mop up the water and discovered that water was seeping up from our sewer drain in the laundry room. Yes, in one night we had water coming in our house from everywhere.

Unfortunately, over the last three days we've had trouble getting water out of our house.

We quickly discovered that while our sewer line would drain, every time we flushed the toilet, ran a decent amount of water through a sink, or any other activity that involved water (showers, anyone?) our basement started to flood. With two adults, not having a sewer line is a handicap. With two small boys, not having a sewer line was a game changer.

Tuesday night I sent out a frantic plea for plumber recommendations from local friends and got a high recommendation for a small mom and pop operation friends from church had used for years. We gave them a call and Dave and David came out Wednesday afternoon with their auger. They pounded away in our basement for over three hours and finally came to the end of their rope. They had brought 100 feet as code states there has to be an entry every 100 feet. Our pre-code house doesn't have that luxury and after fighting for three hours, the Daves gave up and told me since they couldn't get though, they believed we had a sludge buildup and would need to have the line jetted with high-pressure water, equipment they didn't have. So yesterday evening and early this morning, I called around to the big companies that have jetters and asked for quotes which ranged for one hour's service from the 100s to the 400s of dollars (ever wonder why many plumbers don't publish their prices on their websites?). We had a company out this morning and they began jetting the line only to discover that we had something hard blocking the line and it needed an auger. Thankfully they didn't charge us for the service, so we called the first plumbers back to come out this evening.

This time, David and Dean arrived with 150 feet of cable and went to work. Two hours later, they finally burst through the blockage. The culprit? Sam's potty training. I knew potty training was hard on the parents, but the supposedly flushable wipes are even harder on sewer lines. Dean told me a similar thing happened to his neighbor who has two children the same age as ours. So an alert to all readers - flushable wipes of any kind are not flushable. Keep them away from your sewer lines.

Amazingly, our plumber only charged us for a few hours of work even though they fought with the blockage for many hours - they were kind and considerated and friendly to our kids and cleaned up after themselves. In otherwords, model plumbers who can work on our house any time. And now that we have sewer again, I need to sign off and go shower, and wash dishes, and wash clothes, and wash...


Andy Forbes said...

Holy cow! We just bought a bunch of flushable wipes! (Haven't used more than a couple though...) I'd better go tell Maria about this.

I'm SO glad this didn't turn into a really expensive endeavor for you. I think it easily could have!

Sandy said...

Yikes! I'm glad you were able to nip that in the bud.

Andrew said...

Yeah, we had great luck with plumbers who didn't charge or took mercy on us since it was such a tough clog. And we're glad to have clean everything today!