Friday, September 08, 2006

Sewers, etc.


This is so not the post I wanted to be writing today. Wednesday I went downstairs and smelled something musty. I did a little investigating and discovered a pool of water surrounding my main plumbing stack. I opened the door to my little toilet stall and noticed water standing in the area too. The main sewer line runs under this area too. Damn.

So, Thursday I called my plumber (it is never a good sign when you can say "my" plumber). He arrived at the house promptly (also not a good sign when you are considered a VIP customer due to all the business you have generated). After surveying the situation, his guess was the sewer line was blocked and putting pressure on the toilet causing the seal to leak.

It has been two years since I had the sewer cleaned out. It is old and ocassionally gets slowed down by roots. At this point I was also forced to admit a little fact that I have been in complete denial about. There is a small sink hole out in my front yard. I rationalized that it was a wasps nest. and certainly not a clue of a bad sewer line. Let's just ignore that is it suspiciously in line with the sewer.

The plumber agreed that this did not look good. This could mean that I would need a new sewer line. A $4,000 to $6,000 job. I felt sick to my stomach. He must have noticed that I was turning a little green (omg, where am I gonna get that money on short notice?!!!) and told me we shouldn't jump to conclusions.

We decided to get the sewer cleaning guy out to look at it. The Sewer Guy arrived shortly. He went down to my basemenet and dug up my sewer access pipe (yes, I said dug up). It is very old. He turned on water, he flushed toilets, he ran and looked in the pipe, he flushed more toilets, he turned on more faucets. Much to my relief, he then told me my sewer was not blocked in the least. It was fine. Hallelujah!

He did offer to replace the deteriorated sewer pipe cap for me.

Turns out sometimes a sink hole is just a wasps nest and water on the basement floor is just a leaky toilet.

So, in the end I have a new sewer pipe cover. A moment of silence, please, while we admire it.


Paul said...

Boy, talk about good news. Congratulations.

Greg said...

I was holding my breath.

Still, where did the water come from?

ben said...

When we moved in, the sewer backed up every two weeks! They thought it was everything from roots to a collapsed tile pipe too. In the end it was a branch line the city had "forgotten" about and paved over the manhole. The city cleaned out their line and we haven't had any problems since.

At least you got a new cap and cleanout access out of it.

Ralph's House said...

Phew, I am so glad for you. We would have just pretended the water wasn't there...what smell? Our plumber recommended flushing root killer down the toilet. The ingredients list reads so toxic I can't bring myself to do it.

StuccoHouse said...

Thanks, guys! I don't think I'm out of the woods on the main line, but at least I have some time to figure out what to do with that. I'm pretty sure its the 1924 original (although my water line is "copper to the street," as they say - so that was replaced at some time). It sucks to have to spend that kind of money on something buried 10 feet under ground.

The water this time is coming from the bottom seal on the toilet. I turned off the water to the toilet and it dried up. I probably should have tried this before calling the plumber, but I got fearful of the weekend coming up and something really bad happening. It loooked like it was coming from below the stack and running to the toilet, which is what confused me originally, but it was actually coming from the toilet seal and collecting near the stack. So, now I just have a non-functioning toilet down there.

Oh, if only this was the city's problem.

I think it might have been before I started by blog, but a couple of years ago I put the strong drain clenaer down my bathub drain - it turned my vintage tub black and it blew out the entire bathtub drain in the basement...acid everywhere ;-) That was fun (that's also why I'm a VIP with "my" plumber).

allison said...

Boy, what a relief. That easily could have been one of those home improvement nightmares where you know you have to fix it and you can’t put it off, but what a bite to the budget. Glad it ended well. And, be glad you have such good workers to call when you need them. Hopefully you won’t have to call them again anytime soon!

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