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plumbing woes

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Monday I woke up and as usual made a trip to the bathroom. It was not a happy moment when I found that the toilet wouldn't drain. Still groggy, I attempted to plunger the thing. No luck. I had never seen a toilet so stuck that plunging didn't bring the water level down. After quite some time, I had to stop since it was trash day and I need to get the trash out.

As I went about the task of collecting all the trash, it occurred to me to check the other toilet. I remembered that once before both toilets had stopped and I became fast friends with a sewer auger. Sure enough the other toilet was stopped up too. So after finishing trash duties, I washed up and headed off to rent the sewer auger again. It unclogged the sewer and the toilets.  There were other problems though that left me a little unsure that the problem was solved. But the machine had done all that it can do, and I had to head off to class that afternoon so I returned the machine and just waved it off as "done."

Wednesday evening, sewage backed up into our tubs and shower. Ugh. We called for a plumber and he determined that we have root growth into our sewer line under the house. The plumber had tools to locate the point of root growth. The solution is to excavate and tunnel under the house to replace that point where the roots are growing into the pipe then backfill the tunnel (an almost $6,000 job). Until we get that done, the recommendation was to not flush toilet paper. We took the job quote and sent him on his way with $150 payment for his services. We will get the repair done as soon as possible, but certainly not this month.

Gumby made a multitude of phone calls later that night and also the next day. One advice was to get a root kill solution from the hardware store and flush that down the toilet when we retire for the night, leaving it to work in the sewer lines overnight. The other piece of extremely helpful advice was to use RV/marine toilet paper. They dissolve quickly (wipe fast!) and won't clog. I don't know my prices well, but I think they cost more than regular toilet paper. They were easily procured from a local Wal-Mart in the sporting goods department, $2.97 per 4-roll pack in one brand, $4.42 in another brand. The more expensive one is 2-ply, so I guess the cheaper one is single ply. I'm not sure what the plans are with regards to how long we'll be using this specialty toilet paper. We're just really happy that we can use toilet paper and we won't have to ask guests to not flush paper.


Darryl Iorio said...

Dealing with clog toilets is always not a good way to start your day. Good thing you were able to contact a plumber immediately to investigate and found out what's the cause of the problem. I just hope it's all been fixed by now.

- Darryl Iorio @

seeking_something said...

Actually, it has not been fixed. We've been using RV toilet paper since. Every so many months, I put some sort of root kill solution down the toilet. We're undecided as to what to do about it. We have so many other expenses we're chasing.