Blog Posts November 13, 2018

Sewer problems…

Well that’s sh++!

Literally. Sh++.

Two weeks ago I was doing a load of laundry. Came back in to put said laundry in the dryer…wait… what’s that smell… is that…  omg… what’s in the bathtub… O.M.G.!!

Yep. Bad deal. Started making phone calls to plumbers, drain & sewer companies. Turns out that a Wednesday at 4pm is not the easiest time to get someone to respond. But never fear A-1 Drain & Sewer Cleaning answered their phone and said they were finishing up a job and would be right over. I had to share a pic of the truck below… great marketing!


As soon as they showed up (two guys) they listened to my story, assessed the situation and started to work. I heard some grumblings about tree roots and then they brought in a bunch of equipment. First up was pulling the toilet that was nearest the street, they laid down sheets to protect the floor & rolled the equipment into the bathroom. I managed to stay out of the way and tried not to ask too many questions but it was quite the sight.


After some time and quite a bit of racket from the big machine they rolled in (I know, I know, real professional terms here) they said they had “60′ out and couldn’t get thru” so they needed to get under the house and into the crawl space to try something different.

One of the guys crawled all the way in to our crawlspace while one stayed outside with and ran the equipment, then some more equipment, lots of flashlights, quite a bit of noise, another hour of work and… they got it!! Whew!!


Now that they were done, I felt more inclined to ask questions. What was the problem? He said we had a small amount of tree roots which they’d easily cleared from inside the house but the biggest problem appeared to be a combination of rock hard, undissolved toilet paper and grease. I loved this quote… “Dried up Charmin is harder than concrete.” Then I asked what should we do, what do we need to do? Pretty simple he said, don’t be afraid to use/run water. With all of the water saving faucets, toilets, shower heads we aren’t pushing as much water thru the pipes. And never, ever put grease down the sink.

In an effort to make this a learning lesson for you, I’ve done a little more research. This article does a little better job of explaining what they actually did to clear the sewer line and the equipment that they used at my house! And I copied this explanation from the San Francisco Chronicle’s website on how to avoid these problems in the first place…

Preventing Clogs

To prevent clogs, use as little paper as possible to get the job done. Choose a paper that is soft and absorbent enough to be comfortable but that dissolves quickly – the trend toward more absorbent and softer papers increases the strain in plumbing. Test the paper’s ability to dissolve by placing a few clean sheets in a sink full of water and gently swishing them around to see how easily they fall apart. Avoid packaged wet wipes as well if you know you have plumbing problems, even if they are labeled “flushable.”

And from Mr. Rooter’s website

Grease – If the grease is still hot, simply pour it into a dedicated grease jar or can. A mason jar or old coffee can with a lid works well, or you can make a disposable grease can by removing the lid of a soda can with a can opener. When the jar or can fills up, simply scoop out the solid grease into the trash bin or throw out the entire can. You may also leave the grease in the pan, wait till it solidifies, and then wipe it out with paper towels & throw them away.

Cooking Oils – Allow the cooking oil to cool off before you do anything with it. If there is less than a cup of oil, pour it into the trash can on top of a few paper towels. This may not be an option if you’re dealing with large amounts of oil. If you need to dispose of more than a cup, pour the oil into a container and reuse it next time you’re frying. Or you can save plastic milk or juice jugs with screw tops, coffee cans or mason jars to collect used cooking oil in and throw the entire container away when it’s full. (Make sure the lid is on tight.)