Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's enough to ruin your Christmas Spirit - almost!

A miscellaneous blog post, having not much to do with Amateur Radio, other than the fact that my shack is located in our basement..

The weekend was going pretty well. I was looking forward to a nice quiet, Sunday.  I had come home from Mass that morning and was taking a bite out of my sandwich that I was having for lunch. All of a sudden, from the basement, my XYL, Marianne, uttered those seven dreaded words that no one ever wants to hear:

"There's water all over the basement floor!"

Like the fellow in the poem "T'was The Night Before Christmas", I ran down the stairs to see what was the matter!

Yes indeed, there WAS water all over the basement floor.  It appeared that the mud sink that we have down there had overflowed.  The water level in the sink itself had gone down; but was still pretty high.  I figured that maybe some lint from the washing machine exhaust had clogged the sink, so I tried plunging it.  No dice.  To make matters worse, one of the two kids upstairs had run one of the sinks and I saw the water level in the sink rise before my eyes. I'm no plumber, but to me that indicated one thing ....... the main sewer line was clogged. Ugh!

Let's see we've had the house for almost 20 years now and in 2020 the house will be 100 years old. The town switched over from septic systems to sewers somewhere around the 1940s or 1950s, I think - so about 70 years worth of buildup had accumulated on the inside walls of those pipes.

I called a "24/7 emergency plumber" and thankfully, he came to the house within an hour. And to my dismay, he confirmed my diagnosis.  As he went to remove the cap from the sewer line cleanout, I braced for more water to come gushing forth - after I had already wet-vac'ed up what had come out of the sink.


That meant the clog was between the sink and the cleanout. So I left him to do his thing and after a while he said he was finished.  We ran the sinks, the toilets and the tub and everything seemed to be in good shape.

Not so quick, grasshopper.

After he left, Marianne put in a load of wash and sure enough, when the clothes washer drained, it filled up the sink again. Only this time, it didn't overflow and was draining very, very slowly. This resulted in a call back and the plumber returned to re-snake the pipe.  Again, we ran all the water we could think of and nothing was backing up in the sink.  But this time, I made the mistake. It was getting late in the evening and I didn't want to keep the guy as he had other calls to go to before going home - so I didn't run the washing machine until he left.

Big mistake!  It was still backing up, almost as bad as the first time. The problem was that it wasn't evident under normal "trickles" of water. But when you dumped a massive amount of water in the sink, all at once, like the clothes washer does, it then became evident that there was still a nasty clog.

At that point, exasperated and frustrated, I decided to take a sick day on Monday and I called the plumbing company back in the morning.  This time, the plumber's manager  was very apologetic and promised  to speak with the technician regarding everything he had done to this point.  Between the two of them, they came up with a slightly different solution.  His manager instructed him to put an attachment on to the snake that allowed him to actually push out the offending built up sludge instead of just making a drainage hole through it. He snaked that bad boy all the way from the sink, past the cleanout, all the way to the street - some 200 feet.

This time, he stayed while we ran a short, but full load cycle from the clothes washer. Eureka! Success! It drained without backing up, whatsoever!

As bad as Sunday went, I thank God that this didn't happen Christmas weekend. I'm thankful the plumber was able to finally get the clog unclogged, and I'm VERY thankful for vacuum cleaners that will pick up water!

And finally, I am very grateful that no Amateur Radio equipment was harmed in the events described in this post.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

  1. Some days I wonder if my coax to the attic dipole hasn't gotten plugged up from 20 years of daily use. Merry Christmas Larry!