The Plumbing Fiasco 2007
The fam arrived in town safely Friday night. This brought the population in the household up to 6 adults, one toddler, two cats, and an odd looking dog. We ate pizza. We laughed. We slept. We showered. We went on adventures. Rinse and repeat. On Sunday morning, my father noticed that the toilet in the half bath downstairs was clogged. He spent quite a bit of time and energy trying to unclog it with the plunger, to no avail. As he was plunging, I noticed an odd gurgling in the kitchen sink, suggesting the problem may not be at the toilet itself. As I ran water in the kitchen sink, the toilet began overflowing. We now knew that a trip to Lowe's was in order. We got some draino and a snake and my dad got to work. After a trip to the park to let the draino take effect, it became quite obvious that we had a bigger problem on our hands. My dad checked out my pictures from when the house was built and was able to figure out where all of the plumbing ran. We have a sewer access point in the yard, but when we went to take off the "hand tighten only" cap, we found that it had been tightened way too much with some sort of fabricated tool. My dad tried everything he could think of to try to get that cap off, but just couldn't budge it. He even took another trip to Lowe's and bought some special tools, but it was on there for keeps. While at Lowe's he found the exact cap and piping he was trying to loosen. He bought it, knowing he was going to have to break the cap open to get to the root of our problem. He did just that and found that when the plumbers had put that cap on, they hadn't put it on correctly and the back flow valve which should be positioned just so was laying all haphazardly in the middle of the pipe--causing a major obstruction and back up of all the downstairs drainage. It appears it had been that way since they did the plumbing on the house, so everything that had been flushed or put down the drains downstairs since we moved in was backed up along the pipe. I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that my father rocks and we have some hilarious pictures and inside jokes from the incident. Once he removed the obstruction, everything was working fine again. Of course, I was an emotional wreck the entire time thinking that our plumbing in this brand new house was shot. I called the builders first thing Monday morning and they sent the plumbers our right away. He spent most of his time trying to get that cap off, and ended up having to use a hacksaw. It turns out that they do have a fabricated tool they use to unscrew these caps, but must be using it to tighten them too, and someone got crazy with it. Since the toilet downstairs had been overflowing he had to move that and make sure the floors were okay beneath it. Then he put a new wax seal on and re-caulked it for us. Everything has been working fine since then and I guess the good news is that Ted and I now understand our plumbing system better than we ever thought we would! Anyway, a special thanks to my father for working his butt off on Sunday, and for the rest of the family for cheering him on! I'm hoping that's the only plumbing disaster we'll run into...this year.