Not Draining Oh

WashmeToday’s lesson in home ownership, brought to you by KommonSense™

Alright so maybe there isn’t a brand known as KommonSense™, but perhaps there should be so I can buy some.  Roughly three weeks ago when our house project began in the basement, I explained to our contractor as much as I could about the bathroom situation and how we wanted things to look when complete.  Two and half weeks later, we had a new basement bathroom which looks damn spiffy (see left margin for photos because I’m in too foul of a mood for linkonics). 

A couple days before the project was complete, I noticed the shower draining very slowly.  I left a message for the contractor expressing my concern about this.  The following day he poured some commercial grade declogger down the drain, hoping to clear the blockage.  A couple days later we pay the contractor for his work and I attempt to deflower the shower on Sunday.  Within minutes of taking my shower, water was above my ankles.  I promptly finished my shower and stared at the pooling water in disbelief.

I alerted Mrs. Lessinges to our problem.  Water was hardly even disappearing down our drain.  No clockwise swirl was present.  No bubbles in the water either.  I had to look carefully at the water line to see any progress.  It was like staring at a minute hand on a clock for signs of movement.

Our contractor suggested we get a plumber out to assess the problem.  A friendly plumber came and he wasn’t able to plow his powerful snake through the clog.  The gentleman said this was a first for him… this was a first I didn’t want any part of though.  I paid the man and then contacted our contractor.

Diagnosis: the pipe connecting from the shower drain to the main sewer line has either rotted away, is in really bad shape, or never existed in the first place.  I guess oftentimes basement drains just drained into the soil and were aimed to prevent water runoff.  Mo bathrooms, mo problems!

Potential Solutions: pour even stronger chemicals down the drain to try and eat away at the clog.  If this doesn’t work, (which I don’t think it will) then we have to really think about our options.  The most likely scenario involves tearing up the tile in the shower floor to access the drain pipe.  This is not what I want to see happen, but the shower drain has to be fixed permanently. 

Finger Pointing: 50/50.  When I called the contractor today to explain the lack of progress the plumber made, he admitted it’s a 50/50 thing.  I was so scared of the shower before the project began I never turned on the water in there for more than 15 seconds.  It always came out brown in my two attempts so I didn’t pay attention to the drain issue.  I wish I had so I could have alerted the contractor before he began.  I suppose the contractor should have checked the drain before he started the project too.  However, I’m going to cut him some slack because he did a really good job and was attentive to our needs. 

Lesson Learned: owning a home can be a real bitch sometimes.  However it’s a worthwhile bitch if you ask me, especially in Seattle where house values appreciate so well.  Even though this plumbing snafu totally sucks ass, we still have a roof over our heads and a working shower on the main floor. Oh yeah, when buying a house –> make sure you have great home inspector.  Your home inspector shouldn’t be ogling your realtor.


Mood Improvement


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
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42 Responses to Not Draining Oh

  1. Amanda says:

    That sucks, dude. Sorry about that! House stuff is no fun when it causes grief and extra time wasted and grrr! But, yes, at least you have a roof over your head.
    Sorry you were in a foul mood while you typed this. I will leave your blog alone now.

  2. egan says:

    Amanda – no need to leave my blog. This post made me feel much better. Excuse me for a moment as I go outside and blow dandelion seeds all over the place.

  3. meno says:

    Oh the joys of owning a used home, or any home.
    If this makes you feel any better, when our contractor took down the walls in our bathroom, there were dead rats entombed there. The Cask of Amontillado. Ewww.

  4. justrun says:

    Yuck! Dang homeownership. I am having some shower drainage problems myself but I don’t think I could find a way to write about them that didn’t include expletives.

  5. egan says:

    Meno – rats? I don’t like rats and dead ones might even be worse than live ones. I was actually afraid they might find some in our house during this project. Thankfully that didn’t occur.
    Justrun – ha, I used a few tame expletives. What kind of drainage issue are you talking about? Dripping faucets drive me batty and I haven’t had a chance to fix ours.

  6. tori says:

    House issues stink because you have to spend money on something that isn’t fun. We had our basement finished about a year ago and had a bathroom put in down there. The shower is fine, but the toilet takes about 7 flushes to get anything down. I’m not talking about anything big, just a square of toilet paper. No one uses the bathroom (obviously) and so it is useless. We need to get it fixed, but the guy who installed the toilet has no idea what to do. He is somewhat shady, and we paid him cash, so we have nothing to hold him to. We now need to hire a plumber to do who knows what to fix it. If I had a bunch of extra money lying around, I still wouldn’t want to spend it on a toilet.
    Good luck with your shower issues, and know that I will now think of you whenever I try to use our basement toilet…that sounds wierd though, so nevermind. I meant I would think of you because we both have basement bathroom issues, but not while actually trying to use the toilet. Know what I mean? Done. No way I can fix this to mean what I meant it to mean. Sorry.

  7. Amanda says:

    I’m glad that you were able to get your frustrations out, then, by using this medium. It’s what it’s for! And why we love it!
    Did blowing dandelion seeds (am I a bad person for giggling as I wrote “blowing dandelion seeds”?) help you feel better?

  8. Amanda says:

    Tori is cracking me up!! I always think of Egan when I use the toilet. Who doesn’t?!?

  9. patches says:

    Dandelion seeds, that is sooo Opus. I feel you on the home owner thing. We’ve tackled a few DIY projects major and minor. It’s amazing the shoddy work that people will do when the don’t think anyone will notice…Saying drywall repair is like yelling profanity at the Missus. Good luck getting your drainage issues resolved.

  10. egan says:

    Tori – your toilet problem sounds very interesting. I have been able to fix some toilet issues if they are minor. So the water just doesn’t go down? I love your comment about thinking about me while visiting your basement bathroom. Since you fumbled around with your comment does this now mean whenever you take a number two, you will think of me? If this is the case, I’m honored.
    Amanda – Robot Egan reported back to me. The robot does a good job when needed. Yes, I’m feeling better about things. It’s not like our house is leaking water, so it’s all good. I didn’t blow dandelion seeds. I did sit in our living room and read some blogs as the gentle spring breeze blew through our house. The smell of pizza helps matters too.
    Amanda – Tori got herself in a pickle there. So you also think of me while taking a dump? Wonderful. I knew I never should have done that post about shitting at work.

  11. Lynn says:

    Darn your plumbing problems…now I have the commercial song ‘Rotorooter, that’s the name and away goes trouble, down the drain’, stuck in my head. Of course I’d rather have this song in my head than a shower drain problem, or any drain or plumbing problem for that matter. Hope the fix turns out to be not too bad.

  12. Airam says:

    Stupid fucking shower drain!! How dare it put you in a foul mood! I say you bust open the tile to find the pipe and then beat the shit out of the shower with said pipe. (Please laugh at that … I swear I’m not a violent person).

  13. Amy says:

    I understand why you are in “too foul of a mood for linkonics“.
    In my unprofessional opinion, I would say that there is no real drain and/or your plumbing isn’t vented.
    If you had a drain but it wasn’t vented properly, it would be slow, but you would probably hear gurgling in the pipes elsewhere in your house (and you would have some other minor plumbing problems elsewhere).
    Is the shower before the toilet or after the toilet on route to the out doors? How does the toilet work? If you had a drain blockage your toilet wouldn’t flush at all. (Actually flushing would be impaired as well if you don’t have proper venting.)

  14. Kerry says:

    WELL. At my last house the bath/shower drained right under the house, so the shower water sat under the house and it never dried under there. That is NOT good on your flooring… heck its not good on the house at all. I’m shocked that anyone would design that way!

  15. Leezer says:

    I hope you get the shower up and running soon.
    Our house in West Seattle sold at our full asking price two days ago then the buyers backed out at the inspection because the owners prior to us didn’t permit some attic work. My point is that we’re back to considering staying in the house we love and remodeling. I’m a little scared, though.
    You’re a man’s man, Egan.

  16. Diane Mandy says:

    EEEEK! Plumbing problems are one of my biggest fears. A month after I closed on my last house, part of the dining room ceiling caved in. The culprit? A slow leak from the upstairs washing machine drain. Apparently the contractor put a hole in it when he was adding molding.
    I’m sorry for your house woes. What a drag.

  17. Amanda says:

    Packing: Done! Kind of. There is still a few little things that have to be saved for the last minute (toothbrush, etc.). I don’t know why I told you all of this.
    You know…I was re-reading this now that I’ve moved my procrastination to my paper. And KommonSense™ should be a brand. I would probably buy stock in it. Pass it around to people I work with and deal with in life. Hell…sometimes I’d probably be able to do with a shot of it myself at times.

  18. egan says:

    Lynn – yes, a song would be preferable. I will make sure not to fret too much. It’s not a life or death decision. Just sucks it was discovered too late.
    Airam – I totally laughed so thanks for that. I’m picturing you ripping out the pipe sans tools and using it for a beatdown. I’m not scared, but strangely intrigued. Yes, in a good way.
    Amy – you sound like a pro even though you claim otherwise. From what I can gather, the shower drains to the toilet and then the toilet meets the sewer line. I’m thinking there isn’t a pipe there either.
    Based on when the house was built, 1926, and the purpose of the drain back then. Mainly they were designed to keep water out of the house. It might explain why I see water marks on the sidewalk days after our last rain. ( you know, water leaching out of soil) None of the other drains have any problems. The toilet, the sink, the utility sink, and the washer. All work just fine. No gurgles were found by the plumber. Thank you so much for your input. How do you know this stuff?
    Kerry – hey, I think you’re right about this. I don’t get why anyone would design such a stupid drain. I hope it won’t impact the flooring, but it could explain why our retaining walls are starting to lean inward. I think I need to make sure our gutters drain into the yard. I appreciate your feedback.
    Leezer – huh, that’s a mixed bag. Those inspectors have interesting jobs with those inspections. Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise then. It was so hard for us to leave our house in West Seattle as it was really low maintenance. It sucks for you because now you have to disclose that shit on your Form 17. We had something happen with our detached garage when selling. It was a fucking headache. How am I a man’s man? Good luck Leezer.
    Diane Mandy – these little leaks and drips add up over time. The ceiling collapsing had to freak you out. Ours were sagging when we bought this house and they were those dreaded popcorn ceilings. We had them removed and replaced before moving anything in.
    Amanda – I’m going to reserve the domain right now and then draft up a business plan. We can have Leezer approve the legalities of it all and then open shop. We could dispense generic tips about blogging. You game?

  19. The Grunt says:

    “A friendly plumber came and he wasn’t able to plow his powerful snake through the clog. The gentleman said this was a first for him”
    LOL! Sounds like an Enzyte commercial.

  20. col says:

    Damn. So the water and all of these chemicals could possibly be pouring down into the soil? But your toilet is connected?

  21. Amanda says:

    That is probably one of the best blogging business ideas EVER! See…I knew one of us would be able to figure out an idea for our business! It just takes time for the genius to work.

  22. Rachel says:

    I have a slow drain in my shower but it is completely my own fault.
    I have to periodically open the drain and use a modified wire hanger and pull out all of the hair that accumulates in the bend of the pipe.
    Did you know that hair that sits in water for months turns black and REALLY smelly?
    It is great fun every 4-5 months.
    Maybe I should get some kind of mesh cover for it. Can you believe that after 6 years I JUST thought of that?

  23. Rachel says:

    Sorry, I posted twice under different names. My bad!

  24. Candace says:

    Oh blargh! I do hate stuff like that.
    He had a powerfiul snake, you say?

  25. furiousball says:

    Oh that blows. Our home inspector was pretty decent, but I own an older home and stuff just happens. Just gotta swallow it and deal, it’s your home and when it’s all done, you’ll have more shit to fix.

  26. sprizee says:

    That laugh is deranged. Someone hand me a chocolate chip cookie stat.

  27. egan says:

    The Grunt – I’m so glad someone called me on that. I kind of did that on purpose knowing some of my readers have dirty minds.
    Col – I really don’t know what’s going on. Let’s hope the pipe is just blocked and that there’s nothing more to it. I really hope it’s connected to the sewer line.
    Amanda – so you’re game then? Let’s virtually meet and figure this out after your trip to Texas.
    Rachel – oh do I ever know about this. I’m the one who snakes our bathtub upstairs. It’s not a pretty site. In fact, it’s probably one of the more disgusting things you can do around the house. Last time I did this, two shampoo bottle caps were removed. That’s what I was sort of hoping would happen with the downstairs drain. The covers kind of suck though since the water flow is reduced and then it pools at your feet while showering.
    Rachel – I got your back.
    Candace – yes, he had a very powerful snake. It’s boring abilities were weak though.
    Furiousball – yeah, we have an older home too. I love older homes though so this is part of the tradeoff. New homes aren’t without their headaches either.
    Sprizee – deranged is one way to put it. Chips Ahoy work for you?

  28. jeci says:

    If there is any advantage to renting, it would be that you don’t have to deal with things when they don’t work.
    I wish I could offer advice, but I’m neither a home owner nor a plumber. Good luck with it all. And happy thrid trimester! Can’t wait to hear what Baby LesSinges’ name will be.

  29. egan says:

    Jeci – I couldn’t agree more. There are definite advantages to renting and this is a huge one. Now whether they do something about it or not quickly is another thing, but it’s not your responsibility. Yes, the baby name will be revealed soon enough because we’re not good about keeping it a secret.

  30. Candace says:

    Boring abilities sounds a little like an oxymoron.
    Not that I’m calling anyone a moron.
    Happy third trimester!!! 🙂

  31. brookem says:

    Damnit to hell! I’m sorry to hear about the stress this whole issue is causing you both.
    I mean, at least Lost is on tonight. That’s a light at the end of this wet tunnel, right?

  32. not to rub it in, but I am SO glad I live in a newly renovated place with no house projects. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

  33. sandra says:

    Oh, yuck-yuck-yuck! I was worried when I read this that it was going to be even worse (i.e., flooding or something awful).

  34. naynayfazz says:

    Man, that is shitty. Sorry to hear that. Or should I say read that. Part of me wants to own a house but then I read things like this and realize, maybe renting isn’t so bad in some ways.
    Oh, and you must come and visit me over at my blog. Today’s topic— dressed up roadkill! 🙂

  35. Amanda says:

    Hells yeah I’m game! Next week we’ll plan. KommonSense™ is going to kick ass.

  36. Amanda says:

    Oooh! And I forgot Lost was on tonight! Yippee! (I know…how could I forget something like that? For shame…for shame).

  37. StevieR says:

    Hey Egan,
    Here’s my 2 sense: get the easy solutions out of the way first. As non-invasively as you can, map out and confirm the plumbing connections:
    – What is the order in which appliances are connected to both the drain pipe and the corresponding vent stack?
    – Are all the appliances even connected to _both_ the drain stack and the vent stack?
    – Don’t forget that not only can the drain stack get clogged, but the vent stack can also get clogged. A warning light should especially go off if there’s a tree branch or three hovering over where your vent stack projects from your roof. If there’s nothing to keep leaves and crap from falling into your vent stack, you may have fortunately found the very cheap solution to your problem.
    Before you start tearing up walls and floors, get up on the roof and snake the vent stack if it looks things may have fallen into it. The rental of the snake is $50 or less and you can do it yourself if you’ve got a fairly flat roof. Then at least you can rule out the simple, cheap solution.
    I’m curious how far the plumber got with his snake before he couldn’t go further – was it past the toilet connection? If the toilet works fine, then something doesn’t jive. Perhaps the shower isn’t connected to the same drain pipe as the toilet and other appliances at all? This would explain why it’s different.
    In regards to your retaining wall, water definitely makes soil a lot heavier. That’s why people put small ‘weeping holes’ through, and drain tile on the base-soil-side, of retaining walls these days. It could also be that you have an old crumbling retaining wall. Cheers man, welcome to problem solving 301!

  38. egan says:

    Candace – everything is a sexual innuendo with you which is why I love you. Happy third trimester moron!
    Brookem – yeah for Lost. I’m doing my best not to think about the bathroom issue. The thought of them tearing up the tile makes me sick.
    steppingoverthejunk – that’s what our first house was like. We went for a bit of a fixer-upper this time. The house was on the market for a year when we bought it, which is unheard of in Seattle. Enjoy your hassle free house and make sure you knock on wood. How’s the coffee?
    Sandra – thankfully flooding isn’t a concern, although it could be should something happen where we rely on that drain.
    Naynayfazz – renting really does have its advantages in a time like this. Roadkill is fun for all.
    Amanda – I will do some investigation on the availability of the domain and our toll free number.
    Amanda – Desmond, Desmond, Desmond.
    Steve R – thanks for all the tips sir. This is very handy. We have a steep roof, but there aren’t any tree near it so I think that option is out of the question. My thinking is this drain leaches out under the house and isn’t connected to the actual sewer system.
    Ha, how far did the plumber get his snake? Allow me to phrase it this way, virgin like exploration. He didn’t get it in there far at all, maybe four inches tops. You know, no g-spot was found. He didn’t get any further than I did with my manual snake, which is actually quite alarming. No connection of any sort was reached.

  39. Leezer says:

    A man’s man is a guy who does manly things. Like fix shit. That’s why you’re a man’s man. I’m a girl’s girl because I love shoes and talking.

  40. egan says:

    Leezer – can I be a man’s man and a woman’s man? I enjoy shoes too, but not the same kinds you probably do. I also love talking sports, staring at women with huge racks, and whistling at them as they pass.

  41. StevieR says:

    4 inches?! Ouch. Just thinking of tearing up newly-done work hurts. But there’s not much point in having a shower if it doesn’t drain…

  42. Lynda says:

    The joys of homeownership. We are the original occupants of our house, and we have had some issues too. In the end, at least your money isn’t going to someone else.

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