Saturday Wrapup

Sunday, 22 June 2008 12:15 am
[personal profile] da
For the curious:

Today I learned that if your house has an access-panel in the basement, with a grungy pipe head behind it, that is probably your house's main drain to the city sewer. And if that pipe starts gurgling, that means water is backing up from the street. And if the panel fills with water, that's another sign water is backing up. And if you're lucky, the plumber will get to it before things become really messy.

We were lucky- I called Hammond Plumbing at 11 last night, their rep (who sounded knowledgeable) booked someone for 8:45 this morning, who showed up with a power auger, and two hours later the problem was (temporarily) resolved.

I say temporarily because the problem is likely to recur, though it hadn't happened in the last seven years; his clearing the pipe brought up a lot of tree-root material, and his educated guess is that the pipe has a bad crack in it (we think from the big tree that the city replaced, three summers ago). And foreign material in the pipe will clog it eventually.

This extravaganza cost us $230, though at one point there were also two city sewer employees in our basement, being paid overtime by the city, because it seemed that the blockage might be beyond our property-line and therefore the city's problem. The two city guys took measurements, converted them to metric, reported them back to their supervisor, and eventually the city will probably turn that into a bill for $295 plus tax because in fact the blockages were under the old tree, which is on our property. However, they might not charge us, possibly due to the detail (also reported to headquarters) that the tree causing the blockage had been a city tree.

Whatever.

This wasn't the ickiest thing to happen in our house, but it was icky, at least until I bleach-mopped the basement floor, and it was all over by noon, thankfully.

...meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball was off talking to a sales rep for a condo, which seems a bit funny in the juxtaposition, especially considering d's been saying he wants to move to a loft every time there's a maintenance problem in our house, though this time it was an appointment I had set up yesterday afternoon. The "eco-loft" condos going in on Bridgeport had some new openings we wanted to check out. In the end, they aren't right for us; probably the condos going in at the Barrelyards will be, in a few years.

And then d. made strawberry jam and I ran errands:

- picked up a hold at the library
- bought coffee beans
- bought shoes, shorts, pillows, and pillow-cases at the outlet mall
- got back and crashed.

...and the rest of the afternoon has been lazing about, eating leftovers, giving the dog a long walk, and watching more of Angels in America from HBO. How was your Saturday? :)

Date: Sunday, 22 June 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bats22.livejournal.com
Today I learned that if your house has an access-panel in the basement, with a grungy pipe head behind it, that is probably your house's main drain to the city sewer. And if that pipe starts gurgling, that means water is backing up from the street. And if the panel fills with water, that's another sign water is backing up.

>Look
There is an access panel in the basement wall. Gurgling noises are emanating from the far side
>Open panel
There is a sewer pipe concealed behind the panel; there is a constant surge of sewer water coming out of it.
>Smell
The air is foul with sewer gas and the stench of human waste
>Run
There is no escape from the sewer explosion. You fall unconscious, and the basement fills with raw human waste.
*** You have died ***

Date: Sunday, 22 June 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mynatt.livejournal.com
The only time this happened to me, it was caused by roadwork immediately in front of our house collapsing our connection to the sewer. After we convinced the no-good landlord to hire someone to come over with a power auger, and said power auger found nothing at all, he left us a copy of the auger rental bill and told us to call the city because the problem was past the property line (which we proved by showing the length of the auger on the bill). The funny part was that at the time I was living on King St. two doors away from the border between Kitchener and Waterloo, so crews from both cities came and had a debate about whose roadwork had caused the problem. It took two days to fix, because they had to make a big hole in the middle of King St. to repair our pipe. I'm glad we didn't have to pay that bill.

Fortunately, we had friends living just a few doors down who were happy to leave us a key to their house, so we could use their facilities. I'm not sure how we would have handled that otherwise.

Date: Sunday, 22 June 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhythmaning.livejournal.com
I think when we met up with you and D at New Year, one of you expressed an interest in the Magic Roundabout in Swindon.

If I remember correctly - and so sorry if I don't! - you may be interested to know that the man who designed it - Frank Blackmore - died recently.

Date: Thursday, 26 June 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] da-lj.livejournal.com
Yes, you remember correctly. He sure sounds like a character. I'm glad he lived to see Google using parabolic mirrors to photograph streetscapes, similarly to his crane/intersection/mirror idea.

...Hey, I was right: just checked, and youtube has Magic Roundabout videos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrfdQIg4ap0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCK5-8nyWxw

And Hemel Hempsteads has one too!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dICyE9xtJZA

I think maybe I need a new hobby. :)

Date: Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oldgrover.livejournal.com
Did he talk about installing a backflow preventer? (basically, a box in a pit with a one way valve - doesn't prevent clogs, but does prevent the resulting backflow from ending up in your basement)

Date: Thursday, 26 June 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] da-lj.livejournal.com
Er, no, he didn't.

We've got the box in a pit, at least.

Is the valve quite pricey?

How come all houses don't have these? Also, at our local Quaker Meetinghouse there were worse sewer problems that required renovations to fix; I'm curious why that wasn't suggested there too. Hm.

Date: Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metalana.livejournal.com
Ya know, if I was having icky basement plumbing problems, I'd be compromising on my condo requirements... ugh.

Date: Sunday, 22 June 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/merle_/
The two city guys took measurements, converted them to metric

Uhm. They could not take measurements in metric? It is so much more difficult, after all...

Date: Thursday, 26 June 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] da-lj.livejournal.com
I think the coil they sent down the pipe has markings in feet instead of meters.

Not that that's a good reason for not re-marking all the coils with meters instead.

Though, then you'd have a mis-match between other measurements inside the house, since rooms are measured in feet.

No, I don't know why that wasn't switched either.

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