June, I dub thee “Plumbing Issues Month”.
Just when I was getting over the trauma of the water heater gasping its last breath, I had to cope with one of the joys of living in the country…having a septic tank instead of connecting to a sewer system.
The reality of my home is that there isn’t a whole lot of water pressure to begin with and the pipes tend to clog up frequently. By frequently, I mean anything over once.
This used to happen on a monthly basis the first couple years we moved in. When I finally diverted what little brain-power I had after dealing with a toddler all day, every day, I figured out the underlying cause was the high-efficiency, water-conserving toilets we had installed in both bathrooms. Low pressure combined with reduced water flow just wasn’t enough to get the things that go into a toilet all the way to the other end of the house where the septic tanks are located.
The replaced thrones solved the problem and we haven’t really had that type of problem in the past six years or so. They even kept up the good work through my development of IBD and increase of usage. Until last week.
Another joy of septic systems is the controversial issue of whether garbage disposals are safe to use. Debate rages on both sides and my husband came down on the side of not having one. Teaching my son the importance of cleaning off his plates and bowls into the garbage can instead of trying to rinse it down the sink has been an uphill battle. So when my kitchen sink completely stopped draining, I blamed a food clog. If caught early enough, a few good plunges will usually take care of the problem. Not this time.
As it was late and already dark, I told the husband not to worry about it and I’d pick up some Liquid Plumbr the next morning. By noon the next day, I had fired that Liquid Plumbr for not doing his job. It was still taking three hours for two inches of water to drain, even after using almost a gallon of the stuff and then the hall toilet started to back up. I gave up and called the husband at work to let him know what kind of fun, family activity we’d be participating in when he got off work.
So, with my husband under the house, my son hanging through the hatch in the porch to watch the water flow through an opened pipe and me in the house running from one end to the other, flushing various toilets and turning the taps on and off in tubs and sinks…he finally located the problem. Within moments of using some magical “trick plumbers use” (which probably means, shoving something in the pipe to clear a clog), we had flowing, flushing water again.
The next issue to deal with is my shower. The husband doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be replacing the shower head so it doesn’t take me thirty minutes to rinse the shampoo out of my hair.