Plumbing Disasters Contest - Win a TOSCA Faucet for your Kitchen!
Welcome to the Plumbing Disasters Contest!
We thought it would be fun to have a contest with the community and hear about your Plumbing Disasters. Everyone has had something go wrong so post your story and be entered to win.
Before we get started I want to thank TOSCA 5-Minute Faucets for sponsoring this contest by donating the prizes :thumbsup:
Contest Ends: March 31, 2010 (Midnight CST)
How to Enter:
Post 1 or more disaster stories of plumbing projects gone wrong. Please feel free to post pictures along with the story if you have them. These can be installations, clogged drains, or anything else plumbing related. Each valid post that you make in the contest thread earns you a single entry in to the contest. This thread will serve as the contest thread and all posts must be made in it to be valid.
How are the winners picked?
We will use www.Random.org on April 1st, 2010 to pick 5 winners from the posts made and the winners will be posted in this thread on that day.
What can you win?
We are giving away one TOSCA 5-Minute Faucet to five different randomly picked entries :thumbsup:
Here's the companies description of the product:
The 5-Minute Faucet™ combines Italian-inspired design and engineering, resulting in a high-performance kitchen faucet that is easy and quick to install. The 5-Minute Faucet™ installs in just 4 easy steps and features a patented base that enables the faucet to be installed from above the sink. The flexible stainless steel supply lines are factory installed for easy hook-up, and the supplied Allen keys eliminate the need for tools.
You can see how it installs here:
Finally, here's a video of an install: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgRgTQkgXZ0
We hope you'll have fun with this contest. Let me know if you have any questions.
Please Note, we reserve the right to alter or edit this contest as we see fit.
Pic worth a 1000 words.
We got a call from an apartment building owner that the tenants on the second floor were having a problem with the toilet not flushing. It was a slow day so my partner and I both decided to go on the call. We were pretty familiar with the building, having done service there for many years in the past. The house was a one over duplex in the country with a septic tank and leach field. When we got there I went upstairs to talk with the tenant and give the toilet a look see and my partner headed for the basement. After talking to the tenant I took a look at the toilet. As I expected it was full to the rim with nasty stuff and all attempts to plunge it went unrewarded. I also noticed the tub was beginning to show a puddle in the bottom of it, indicating to me that there was probably a problem with the septic tank or the piping out to it. Anyhoo, I headed back downstairs to check in with my partner Scott who for some reason only known to himself had decided to remove the clean out cap on the the sewer main at the foundation wall. He had a 2' pipe wrench on the cap and was only about a half a thread away from removing it when I rounded the basement stairs. Just as I was about to yell no stop, the cap came loose. So did about 30 gallons of crap that was in the piping. And there was Scott. Standing right in front of a fountain of poo. Covered from head to toe. Soaked to the core, Poo everywhere. I made him ride back to the shop in the bed of the truck. That was better than 20 years ago and we still do not speak of it to this day.
To be valid you must tell us a story of what happened and not just post a photo since photos can be from any source.
Man, I can't beat the flying poo story, but here is my plumbing mishap.
Our first spring in our "new to us" home and I could hear this humming sound one morning. I traced it to the basement and discovered the sump pump was plugged (or something) and the pump was on but wasn't pumping. So I unplugged the sump pump and got out my tools. I even happened to have an old pipe wrench.
Coming right off the pump is a glavanized Y with a back flow valve in it. So the only fitting I could undo was the one above the back flow valve. So I am unscrewing the valve (pump still attached to the bottom of it) and things are going really good. I get near the bottom of the threads and a little water starts to leak out, no problem I can control it with a rag. Well I get it unscrewed and the pump and backflow valve (Y piece) drop a couple of inches to the bottom of the sump pit.
Well you can imagine what happened next. All the water that was sitting in the 10 feet of pipe above the back flow valve flows out. Of course it can't just flow into the sump pit. It has to flow directly into the top of the galvanized back flow Y piece. Did you ever notice the shape of those fittings? The shape caused the water to spray up and out of the pit like one of those fountains. It had a nice cone shape with a beautiful arc and soaked me completely. I had to send my wife upstairs for laughing at me. Thankfully it was just water and the basement wasn't finished.
After paying some pump place $75 to replace the little ball switch, it became obvious that the pump AND original switch were just fine. The little back flow valve was just rusted shut and a tap with the hammer freed it up.
Note the photo is just for illustration purposes.
That pipe is not straight. I'll straighten it.
I sent the wife and kids to Florida to visit her parents for two weeks while I gutted and remodeled our entire kitchen. I was a few planks shy of finishing the kitchen floor with 4" wide, pre-finished Bruce hardwood flooring and looked over to where the hot and cold water pipes came out of the floor where the sink base used to be. I notice the hot water pipe was a little crooked so I took this opportunity to straighten it. I sat on the floor in front of the pipe and put my boot against the pipe and pushed. At that instant the joint where the shutoff valve is "soldered" to the pipe came loose. The water pressure shot the shutoff valve to the ceiling where it came back down and caught me just above my right ear opening a nice half inch gash. Now the hot water is just gysering to the ceiling and coming down like rain all over my new floor and me. I immediately jump to my feet and fall back on my arse as my feet slip out from under me on the freshly wet, brand-new shiny floor. I smack the back of my head on the floor and I知 out like a light. I wake to a burning sensation as hot water is raining down on me and I知 like WTF? You know that feeling of complete disorientation when you wake from a deep sleep? I jump to my feet again but this time I keep my balance and take the basement stairs in two leaps. At the bottom of the stairs I smack my forehead on the first tread of the stairs leading to the second floor and open an inch wide gash above my left eye. At the same instant I came down wrong on my left foot and sprained my ankle. I知 starting to see stars and just by sheer will forced myself to remain conscious. I hobble and then finally crawl over to the main water shutoff for the house. It turns out to be one of those fricken 100-turn knobs and it seems like it takes forever to shut off the dang water. While this is going on I知 losing sight in my left eye as blood is just pouring out of my head and into my eye. Finally, with the water off, I知 able to assess the damage to me and the house. I look like I lost a fight with a cage fighter and the kitchen is just a mess. I go upstairs to get towels for my head and the kitchen floor. While up there I thought I壇 clean up the blood a little. Couldn稚. I shut the water off. So I wipe as much blood off of me as I can with the dry towel. The forehead gash just wouldn稚 stop bleeding so with one hand I hold a towel to my forehead and try to dry as much floor as I can with the other. It looks like I got most of it, so I get a couple of fans and direct them toward the floor. I go in the bathroom to look in the mirror and realize that I知 going to need to get this looked at. I head off to the emergency room and get about 15 total stitches in my head. About two hours later I知 back at the house where all of my new flooring is cupping, warping and shrinking. On top of that, right below the kitchen in the basement is the laundry room. I spent the next few hours wiping walls, floors and appliances. I had to rip out all of the flooring and start over. Set me back a few days and a few hundred $. The wife is afraid to leave me at home alone doing DIY projects.
2/19/10 I went through all the pics of this project and found two that show the bent pipe before I "straightened" it, and one of the floor about 10 minutes before 100% humidity:
My story was a near disaster involving plumbing an ice maker to my home and the gas line. I'll start by saying that all of the lines for water and gas in my home are the same dimension of copper piping. The furnace and water heater are in the same corner of the basement and the return air ducting hides the majority of the pipes going to and from their various fixtures. The stove is gas and is located about 4 feet from the sink in the kitchen, which means the water and gas lines run directly next to each other.
That said, we went to Lowe's and got a self-tapping water line for the ice maker on our fridge. We drilled through the ceramic tile fine, and through the floor correctly. We correctly attach the water line to the fridge and go down to the basement to trace out the cold water pipe and tap it. Well, beyond the duct work near the fridge there are two pipes, on the other side there is one pipe. We traced (what we then thought) was the cold water pipe back to the water heater and incorrectly transcribed the line on to the gas pipe (!). We proceed with the tap and go upstairs to test the fridge. We turn the ice maker on and nothing.. we hear a 'hissing' sound from the solenoid, but are convinced it is air working it's way out of the water line. We proceed to other jobs in the house, installing the new master bath vanity and the Bruce hard wood floors.
The we stopped. We started to smell gas. Ran over to the freezer and opened the door to get engulfed in gas. At this point, we feared the pilot light from the stove would catch the gas on fire and blow us up. We ran outside and turned off the gas at the meter and opened all the windows in the house. We went back to Lowes and grabbed a pipe connector and connected the water line for the freezer correctly to the cold water line. Two hours later, we were all done and no longer fearing the end of our home. Let this be a lesson to all, please triple check all your connections when you are dealing with more than water lines!
first story; short and sweet...
well, short anyway
related to me by an electrician I know.
Local sewage treatment plant was undergoing some work; adding capacity and repairing existing equipment and such.
I believe this was about an 8" line.
a couple of plumbers/fitters were going to add onto an existing line. The line happened to carry some really ooey gooey fecal matter slurry. Guys were told (first mistake, they did not check themselves) the valve feeding the line was closed.
So, since there was already a "T" in the line with a bolted on cap, the intention was to uncap the "T" and start adding on to the line at that point.
So, they take off most of the bolts and leave a couple in but loosen them. The cap is stuck in place (expected) so they take a sledge and whack it;
third time...the cap breaks loose. Right about this time, the guys realized there was a lot of residual pressure.
then they realized it was not residual. They just popped the cap on a charged poop line and boy was it spraying and apparently there just wasn't anywhere to get away from the spray.
My friend laughed, nearly hysterically, as he told me:
when they finally got the line shut down, the only white you could see on them was when they opened their eyes.
luckily nobody got hurt and even more lucky; they were driving a company work truck and not their own vehicles.
a plumber friend of mine and I were chatting and for some reason we got around to odd stories. They guy starts telling me a time when he and his dad (they worked as a team generally) went to this house along side the big river that passes through the area. It appeared the mainline running from the house was plugged somewhere so they decide to use a rotary auger (roto rooter).
To run the auger, the needed to pull a stool (best access to the outside line). (now, this next part is not the main focus of the story)
when they go to the stool, they realized somebody was not thinking and had dropped a deuce in the stool they needed to remove. I kind of laugh thinking my buddy had to perform a manual poopectomy. He says "are you kidding?" " I wasn't going to clean up somebody else's crap. I told the woman she needs to take care of that so they can get to work". The woman started to argue so the guy tells her that he does not clean up other peoples crap and if she wants the drain fixed, she needs to remove the stuff. She decided they were right so she takes care of the stuff and the guys get to work.
So, back to the story:
they start running the auger down the drain. They have nearly 100 feet in and it kind of jumps like they were hitting something. They pull it back and then feed it slowly back to the clog.
right about then, the dad says "listen, what is that noise?". They could hear a sound like the auger was hitting something hard. Kind of a rhythmic "chink" "chink" "chink" but the dad realized it was not coming back from inside the pipe. It sounded like it was outside so he sends his son to go look for it.
As dad runs the auger, son goes looking for the sound. A minute or two later he comes back in telling dad to stop and come look at what he found.
They both go out the back door and start walking towards the river. Son walks over to a hole in the ground where you can see a broken clay tile and the end of the auger and the remains of the plug that had gotten stuck in the broken clay tile.
It seems there was no septic tank, no leachfield, and not municipal sewer hook up. The womans septic line ran directly from the house, down the bank and emptied right into the river.
I said, " That is nasty. why would somebody do something like that"
the younger plumber calmly tells me, "just about all the houses along the river were like that at one time. They just dumped their sewage right into the river":(
how nasty is that???
Nap (Poster # 10) That's nasty, alright. But no dramatic ending to the story, (which we were all expecting. At least Me.:laughing:)!
This was a disaster that could have been MUCH worse had I not noticed.
I was doing laundry and one of the previous loads was new cheap walmart face cloths that produced TONS of lint after every wash. This load went in fine and I was on to the next load.
I came downstairs to the smell of sewage which I thought was odd, then when I went to the sink to my horror it smelled worse, and could see it was filled quite high, and there was water leaking out of the stack's cleanout. Basically, my main sewer line was plugged somewhere, and the pressure pushed some sewage into my sump pit, and the pressure was also trying to make the water seep through the cleanout.
I was actually surprised to find out the sump pit was even connected to the sewage line as I figured it was two separate systems. I think now they are not connected, but this is an older house. I was trying to plunge away at the sink to no avail. Ended up calling for help but this seemed to be beyond the ability of any of the plumbers I could get ahold of. A friend from church was on his way to come check it out as well meanwhile I was plunging away, and also adding javex in the sump as well as in the sink, to kill the smell, and also to try to break up whatever was in there.
After enough effort moving water around with the plunger (all it was really doing is making it go up and down in the stack) it slowly let go. Then I filled the sink and it drained ok. The guy that came over saw it but it was pretty much good from that point. I still don't know exactly what blocked and why it blocked that bad. I got the pipe inspected and it was 100% clear. That night I did fill the bath, the bathroom sink, the laundry tub, and even the kitchen sink, and let it all go at once. That may of contributed to clearing whatever may of been left in there.
I still get nervous when I think of what could of happened if I had not gone to do another load of laundry and decided to finish it the next day. I would have used the toilet a few times that night, and showered the next morning, and all that water would of been in my basement.
When I got it inspected they had trouble closing the cover back because of how the cement was half way on it, so it leaked quite a lot even with normal use. I ended up sealing it real good and it's been ok since.
Actually here's another near disaster. I was drilling a hole in a wall to run electrical, I can't remember why I would be drilling right in the wall and not have already made a cut for a switch or a plug, oh yes, it was for a range top that was to be installed. So I'm drilling, just in drywall, nothing big. I felt like there was something in the way.
Turns out, I was drilling into a water line! The bit had slipped so I was just grinding it on the side of the pipe. I had no idea where the main shut off was in that house, it was an older house and it was probably buried somewhere inaccessible,or in some really weird location.
It's scary to think what would of happened if I did in fact drill a hole in that pipe.
I seem to have the "opposite" Midas Touch when it comes to plumbing
My last house I went in the crawl space to look at the washing machine, bathroom & kitchen sink drain system
I barely touched them & they fell apart in my hands
I had to run & pick up supplies & put it all back together
Mostly just primer & glue needed as I recall
Now 7 years later & the new house
Again looking at the drain system, this time a full basement
Kitchen sink was getting bubbles from the washer in the basement
And once again everything falls apart :censored:
No sign of any purple primer used
Main 2" line runs all the way across the house to the 4" stack/drain on the other side of the house
That is too small/fills up & is replaced w/3" pipe
The 2" on this side continues around the corner to old CI & vent thru old roof
I decide to take the CI out
Turns out this is a good idea as the entire run of cast is full of junk, clogged solid for maybe 4'
So I put everything back together so its working for now as Temp fix
But I will have to have a plumber come in to redo everything
Kitchen sink will be moving, DW going in, bar sink...new vent going thru addition roof
Here is a pic of the CI...it was like this for about 4'+ best I can tell
What I was able to scoop out with a spoon on a paint mixer:
Cleaning up I forgot about this & left it near the basement sink
It did stink...the wife did find it...not happy with me
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