Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Plumbing

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas to one and all.  When the weather outside is frightful, plumbing is so delightful. Yeah, in the words of my so insightful 13-year-old grandson, “Grandpa, you’re being sarcastic again aren’t you.” Yes, yes I am. The sewer gremlins left me a little Christmas present and put it in the bathtub drain. Hmmmm, I’m so blessed that I can hardly stand it. Well, there’s more to the story than just this little messy wad. There’s a wonderful tool called a Zip It that can be found most anywhere miscellaneous TV pitch add items are sold. It’s a skinny piece of plastic with barbs down the strip.  The idea is to poke the strip with barbs down the drain and pull out the hairball that’s accumulated in the drain. It looks like it worked really well don’t you think? 

Unfortunately the little gremlins had more up their sleeve. Unknown to me, a bigger wad of hair broke off and was forced down the drain, got stuck in the pipes and totally stopped the water flow.  Murphy’s law about if things can get worse, they will always follows me around. Not to be daunted, I pulled out the Big Box store cheapo drain snake and began to poke it down the drain. My drain snake has a cordless drill option so being the handy tech guy that I am, that’s the option I used. The snake lodged on something and before my finger came off the cordless drill, snap went the cable. Yes, the cable broke off in the drain. What started out as a simple drain cleanout was now a homeowner’s worst nightmare. There comes a time, no matter how handy a home owner is, professional help has to be called. This was one of those times. Within the hour, Bob (not real name) the plumber came and looked at the plumbing from under the tub. His words were “Hmmmm, I’ve never seen a tub plumbed quite like this before.”  Why does that not surprise me. I did learn some thing from the experience with Bob who was very willing to explain how to attack such a task.  When snaking a tub drain, the snake goes down the overflow tube, which should go straight into the P-Trap. Yeah, mine didn’t. It had two 90-degree turns before going into the P-trap because of (big sigh) water pipes. Really?  Who designed that? Anyway, we caught a break and found the snake cable that had broken off and become confused with all the twisting and turning and went up the overflow tube instead of down the sewer pipe. It was a simple task to grab a hold of it and pull it out through the overflow tube. Now down the drain with a professional snake for about 25 feet seemed to clear the clog.  When the professional snake came out of the drain a big huge wad of hair was on the end of the cable. So one winter project off the list and I can’t wait to get to the next one.  (Big sigh) Another plumbing job. It seems to be my destiny in life.

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas. Faucet replacement came next. This faucet had a drip problem on the hot water side. During the summer months, I didn’t have the time to work on it so I just shut off the water to the hot side under the sink. Weeks went by and turned into months without sink hot water in the main bathroom. Finally it came time to pay attention to the little faucet. Now in days past, faucet kits could be purchased and it was a simple task to just replace a washer or two and life was restored to the faucet. When I removed the hot water handle and cap to the shut off valve, parts fell out in pieces and a spring jumped out at me. Yeah, it’s another one of those homeowner “Oh, crap” moments. I have in the past been stubborn to the point of I’m going to fix this no matter what. In my old age I’ve come to understand that trying to put Pandora back in the box so to speak won’t bring joy to a job well done and usually resulted in frustration, words that should never be spoken, and a nasty disposition. So in my gray-haired wisdom (well what hair I have left), I trotted on down to the DIY store and bought a new faucet. I still had to roll around under the sink to get it installed, but it went much better than the previous plumbing issue. The faucet gods smiled on me. I’m just getting too old for this house maintenance stuff.

Well, that’s my life this last week.  How have you been celebrating the Christmas season? Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. May all your plumbing issues be small and easy to fix.

Nebraska Dave

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