Plumbing Problems

Words no home owner wants to hear: “I’ve never seen a sewer problem like this one!”


It was 17 degrees yesterday when the workmen arrived to continue their work. The previous day they removed our House Trap. (Know how your sinks and toilets have a “P” Trap? That U-shaped bend is designed to contain sewer gasses. In addition to a Trap on all our fixtures, we had one located just outside the cellar wall – a Whole House Trap. I’m sure they were quite common in the 19 teens or 20s, when we believe our plumbing was installed. Now, notsomuch.)

I should add, though, we have had only two sewer issues since moving into our house – one last year about this time, and one last month, both related to the Trap. So when I heard a quiet gurgling sound coming from the kitchen sink the other day, I figured it was time to follow through on our plans to replace the House Trap.

We didn’t know that our ancient clay pipe (which apparently was only made to last 40 years and has likely been around at least double that) would make a 90 degree turn toward a different street than the one we thought it went to (therefore running under all the trees in our side yard) and would have a collapse at 43 ft. to the point that the workmen couldn’t run their equipment through it to replace the pipe.

It’s snowing/icing/raining today, so the two giant holes in our yard remain unfilled, and the new pipe sits on the easement, ready to install.

Plumbing issues suck. And spending so much money on things that get buried in the ground is never fun. It’s necessary though, and we have many reasons to be thankful about this project and its timing:

1) Our crew from Bob Hamilton Plumbing has been incredibly kind and hard working. I have been very impressed by each of them as they explained things clearly and answered all our questions. They worked outside all day in frigid temperatures without complaint, and they’ll likely be back again tomorrow, a Saturday, to finish the job.

2) The city is replacing our sewer main line as part of the road refurbishment project that’s just getting underway. Their part of the project won’t start until summer, but since they will be replacing the main and all the connections to the main underneath the sidewalk, our crew doesn’t have to dig up any concrete. Two of the guys who are in charge of the project even came out to talk with our workmen and mark where the city’s part of the replacement will end. By the time the street refurbishment project is complete, our entire sewer line (and water line, since we replaced that a few years ago) will be brand new, as will all the plumbing inside the house, since Tony did that when we remodeled all the bathrooms. If the city wasn’t already planning to replace our connection to the main, this project could have run us $30,000+.

3) We have savings, and thank the Lord, we don’t have to use all of it on this project.

I’m hesitant to publish this post, since the work isn’t yet complete, but maybe you can help us out. If you’re the praying type, send up a good word for us that the workmen can get things finished tomorrow without any more trouble!!

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1 Response to Plumbing Problems

  1. Dad says:

    Ah……. the American dream!

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