Monday, October 10, 2011


When it rains, it pours. The toilet in the downstairs bathroom decided to back up, again. Looking at the sewer cleanout in the backyard, my husband determined that was where the trouble was. Once or twice a year, roots grow in our sewer line, catching whatever goes down there. It becomes clogged and we have a big problem inside the house. In the old days my husband would rent equipment and try to fix this himself. (Now he physically can’t.) This is backbreaking work. Sometimes he was successful at unplugging the clog and other times he wasn’t so lucky. That is when we would have to call a plumber. We tried various local guys and most of them encountered the same problem my husband had. They couldn’t push the roots and sewage through. It stopped them dead in their tracks. Then, the job hung in limbo... sometimes for a day... or even a week or two, while they tried to figure out what to do next. This became a huge inconvenience. So while we waited for a solution, we resorted to some very clever bathroom alternatives because the toilet was not available. Use your imagination. I won't elaborate. (Eventually we bought a camping toilet for such emergencies.) The plumbers ultimately figured out that their plumbing snakes... were useless here. They were just not long enough, to push the gunk through to the main sewer... because of the way our sewer line is laid out. When they shut down the old septic tank here, and converted us to city sewage, the line to the street became much longer - approximately 150 –160 feet. That created a situation for us. Most snake reels are about 90 feet long. And most plumbers only carry one reel with them... because they are quite costly... but mainly because one reel usually does the job. But at our house... it always takes two reels of industrial "snake" to deal with the problem.  Otherwise there is an immovable object blocking the line. And sometimes even their snakes get stuck below ground, trying to have at it. Only one plumbing company locally has the right equipment to get the job done... Roto-Rooter. So, we don’t hesitate giving them a call, whenever we have an issue. This is the second time we've called them this year. Remember the onions and the garbage disposer? Unfortunately, Roto-Rooter is not cheap. This visit cost us a whopping $260.  OUCH... screamed our checkbook! It STINKS! That is including our senior discount, too. Yet, while the plumber was snaking, outside in our backyard… my dear husband was busy at work. He was running all over the inside of the house, HELPING the plumber… by turning on water, in this sink or that, and flushing toilets. I say his time is worth money too. Therefore, at that hourly rate of $260 ... I think my husband is entitled to a cut of the plumber’s proceeds, don’t you? He made a wonderful assistant.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I feel your pain or should I say the checkbook's....Every time I think I've finally managed to save a few dollars something happens here at my house. Well I figure it was a good thing I had the cash to begin with. We have Rotor Rooter here too and I have used their services before. One wonders how much the bill would have been if your hubby hadn't helped out.

That corgi :) said...

I do think that was kind of your husband to help them out like that, I would think they are really expecting too much to have the client help them, what if the client wasn't able to do so (like a real elderly peerson)?

What a nightmare though and such a necessary evil to have a proper running commode. Is there anything you can do, short of taking the tree/roots out, that can help eliminate this problem from occurring on such a frequent basis?

glad though that things are up and running again so to speak


jack69 said...

YES, YES he does deserve a cut. But us boys feel like we are cutting down on his 'time' he willcharge. hahaha.

I was just doing the same thihg with my 'Awning Guy'. (Up and down, could you hold this, etc).

Yeah, I thought I was cutting his time down. At least we are hoping so, probably in reality, as you see it, we were just working for nothing on his payroll.

It does stink though, physically, mentally and financially.
Hope all is well and the ----- again flows down hill.
From the North end of the Turnpike
Sherry & Jack

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

As we get older, we can do less than we used to. I get reminded of that as time ticks away. Sucks that you had to switch to city sewer...

Bobbi said...

That very same thing happens at our house, only it's the neighbors tree roots that are involved. It hasn't happened in a few years now, so I'm sure we're about due.. knock on wood.
Yep. I think you're hubby should get a discount for his time.. Yea, like you'll see that happen.. lol.
Hope you're having a great week!

ain't for city gals said...

I hope this comment goes through...I have been trying and trying and might be able might want to switch over to the pop up window form...don't ask me that is what I had to do finally because of blogger. Glad you got the sewer pipe could be worse. My parents finally had to dig up all the old pipe and replace it.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

$260 an hour! Boy, I'm in the wrong profession. I know your pain! A couple of times a year, the upstairs toilet will refuse to take the waste away when you flush; you have to leave it there overnight as it ever so slowly descends. THEN I flush and plunge and it's back to normal! I've had several plumbers in and no one seems to be able to figure out quite what's wrong. Plumbing!

~mel said...

Ouch ~ that does stink! I think you should approach the city and ask them what can be done to rectify this recurring situation. After all ~ it wasn't your fault that they put in a line that was too long for a normal snake reel.

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Lori said...

Oh you have my sympathy!! Two months ago we had a similar problem and had to rent a big machine to get through those roots. Hopefully we won't have to do that again for a while.