>So today we had an interesting development; after I had taken a shower and we had washed some sheets, I went down to the laundry room to do . . . something, I don’t remember. I walk in, and there’s all this water on the floor over the drain! We had gotten a leak on one wall that had meandered to the drain, and so I thought of this, but there was just too much water there. I got an allen wrench and used it to pop off the drain cover, hoping all the water would just disappear like that. No luck.
So, Karisa and I went to the store to get a plunger to see if I could just plunge it. The fact that we didn’t even have a plunger was enough to send me to the store for one, but my rationale was that the spring meltdown had filled the storm drains to the point where water was coming up through our drain, which would mean it was just melt water, which I was okay with. Sewage . . . not so much.
When we got back, there was even more water, accompanied by a light odor of sewage. I know we weren’t running any water, so while Karisa got on her houndstooth rubber boots and started a-plungin’, I got on the horn with Roto-Rooter. I am not a plumber. The guy came over, and we chatted about how very little I actually know about our new home. I knew that there was supposed to be a valve to prevent this from happening, but why it wasn’t working? I don’t know.
About four hours later, it was taken care of, and I’m a little poorer but quite satisfied. The city had to come and clean a clog out of their sewer, which was backed up about 3/4 up the manhole (which should normally be clear to the bottom.) The Rooter guy said, “considering how backed up that thing was, I am shocked that you are the only one that called me.” I had to pay him for running the camera line, which cost twice as much as I was hoping. But I think the money I spent taught me a few valuable things about my new home:
1. My home’s output is coupled to the neighbor’s before hitting the sewer, because that’s how they roll around here. Fine.
2. When the water is that backed up in the sewer, I now know that my backflow valve is not going to be sufficient to stop all of the water. But had that valve not been in place, it would have backed up a couple of feet of sewage, ruining half a dozen guitars, two amplifiers, my exercise bike, furniture, laundry machines, walls, catbox, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
3. I could have gotten this taken care of for free had I called the city, but instead I got on the Internet and read all these stories about how people called the city, the city came and said they were all clear. This was usually followed by a charming anecdote about how they have to snake their drains for tree roots every year. I should have known better, since the pipe leading to the street is practically brand new, and I knew that. Lesson learned, go for the free thing first, because it’s not going to stop the neighbor from flushing their toilet!
4. A quick way to keep sewage from coming out of the drain when it starts backing up is to shove a wadded rag down it with the plunger handle (be sure to leave a bit you can grab when it’s all done.) This won’t stop water from coming up, but if the pressure isn’t too high, the real filth will stay trapped under the rag.
5. The clean-out for the sewer is outside, in the neighbor’s yard (because they’re on the high side, I think.)
To top it all off, our five month-old puppy who never goes #2 in the house has done so twice today, both times not very long after having been outside. Karisa was kind enough to wash down and bleach the laundry room floor after the plumber left, but maybe Lex is getting the olfactory impression that the neighborhood has left their mark upon his territory.