Log in

No account? Create an account
03 September 2003 @ 02:37 am
When modern plumbing breaks down (or: An update on the status of the house)  
The short version: Pipes going bad is very very bad.

There's been a problem with the shower for a number of months. Drains very very slowly. We've poured draino and other such products down there, to no avail. Six months or so, Jen's dad came down from San Jose and snaked the pipes. This helped a bit for a few weeks, but not much beyond that.

Last week, things got bad. The toilets started draining very slowly, and plunging didn't help. Then they got worse. Running the dishwasher made the toilets bubble. Running the washing machine backed up the water into the shower, flooding that bathroom. The toilet in the other bathroom overflowed, flooding it.

Time to do something about this. Logical step: Snake it. Seemed to work last time, right? We go to Lowe's last night to look at snakes (Eugene took his back up North). They don't have anything sufficient (even their $375 model, which we wouldn't have even considered, wasn't gonna cut it), but a plumber happens to overhear our plight. I get his card, and we make an appointment with him to come snake the system. His cost: $88 and equipment to tear out a toilet. See, one of the problems is that the access to the main pipe is from the roof, and that pipe is too small for what he wants to use. So a toilet has to be pulled.

OK, so he comes out this morning and tries to snake. Gets about two feet in and hits solid. Dirt. Can't go any further. From this, he comes up with what I shall call ESTIMATE #1:

Main line is cracked. To get to it, he has to break through the concrete. Needs repiping, replacing much stuff in both bathrooms and along the piping until the main city line. $5000, at least.

Time to freak out. OK, no, not time to freak out. Time to call the big guns and see if we can get some help. I call my mom and get uncle Rick's number. Rick has been working for Levko Plumbing in Van Nuys for a number of years (until it sold), so I figure he'll know what to do. He does. He tells me to get a second opinion. (why didn't I think of that?) He gives me some numbers. Mom calls back and suggests that I call uncle Danny. Danny's still working as a plumber in Hawaii. Good plan - I call. He jokes that he can't get here right away, then gives me another number. I call, but get an answering machine. We can't wait. We need a rooter of some kind now. (Keep in mind, it's about 8:15pm now)

We look in the Yellow Pages. Found Rescue Rooter. I don't mind putting their name in advertisement form - these guys are great, and they're a big chain, so if you ever have plumbing problems, give them a call. Anyway, he arrives in 45 minutes, gives us a complete rundown of what he wants to do in advance and a price quote of $250. We agree, and he gets to work. First order of business - take down the second toilet -- apparently the two are attached to the same pipes in a Y arrangement, and you have to come at it in a certain way or you'll be blocked. He snakes the system relatively quickly and tells us that he'll be back tomorrow to send a camera through the system to see if there are spots where the pipes need to be replaced - he suspects three such spots, but it's best to check it out. He describes that if he does need to go down to take care of that, he'll also install a better Cleanout (access to the main pipes from a better location than the roof, with safeguards built in so if the pipes back up they'll do so outside the house instead of all over the bathrooms) as a service included in the install. Also, we need to contact Emergency Services Restoration, Inc (again with the free advertising) to help clean up the waste in the bathrooms.

By this point, you see, the carpets outside the bathrooms have gotten quite squishy. OK, we figure, we'll get these guys in.

It's now after 10, and they're on their way. By 10:30, they've arrived and explained that as innocent as the water that was backed up may seem (it sure seemed like it came from the dishwasher, shower, and washing machine), it's actually just what you'd expect sewage water to be - icky and full of all kinds of bacteria you really don't want any part of.

We put on shoes.

So they've been working since then - disinfecting what they could, tearing out tile, linolium (I don't think I'll ever be able to spell that word), floorboards, whatever is necessary to get the job done. They've installed big machines to dry out the walls, the floors, etc. Areas that have been soaked should be thrown away - the ick from the sewer is just that bad. Yes, that includes the carpets and linoleum (yeah, just as bad). The good news is that the homeowner's insurance will take care of much of this, as long as we take care of the deductable. That's either gonna be $250, $500, or $1000. Depends on the insurance.

Which is a saga in and of itself. But not important for right now. Right now, ESR is setting up dehumidifiers and fans and such, and they're afraid that we may end up blowing a circuit, so I'm finishing this entry up and shutting down the computer.

Anyway, the bottom line is that it's big and ugly and a much bigger deal than we anticipated, and it's likely to occupy our lives for a bit while it all gets resolved. Once again, *sigh*
DragonPookiedragonpookie on September 3rd, 2003 03:15 am (UTC)
Fuckin' A, dude...
That is pretty wicked insane on the house problems. Plumbing is always such a bitch. And as far down as the cost seems to have come, that's still a bit steep for people between jobs. I was reading this thinking, damn... i wish there was some way i could help.
That's when I remembered! I CAN!!
I got your back, my brother!
Never fear, Help is here!
Just swipe below and all will be revealed!


Glad to be of service.
(awaiting acceptance from the JLA any second now)
Idtechnomonkey on September 3rd, 2003 12:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That provided a much-needed laugh. :-)
Master Thomastommyomega on September 4th, 2003 01:42 am (UTC)
i feel your pain man, but...
thank goodness i live on a raised foundation.