Plumber disaster?
Jeannie Nguyen
November 5, 2013 in Design Dilemma
You're probably not in a good mood when you have to call your plumber, but have you ever had a terrible experience with your plumber?

Share your stories and photos (if you have any)! I recently went through a bad experience, but I'll tell you a bit later. If you have an awesome plumber, tell us about one of your worst plumbing experiences. I'll probably regret asking this later... :P

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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
"Always with the negative waves, Moriarty, always with the negative waves." ;-P
1 Like   November 5, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Fred S
It's a shitty job, but someone has to do it.
4 Likes   November 5, 2013 at 7:39PM
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After a sewer back up my insurance co. hired a disaster clean up outfit to come do repairs. They got in a plumber who cut through all of the studs in a supporting wall to run a 3" PVC pipe. When I complained. They "fixed" it by screwing pieces of 3/4 " plywood to the wall and covering it with drywall. The opposite side of this wall held my kitchen cupboards. My husband had to completely rebuild the wall from the kitchen side when he returned from overseas. He couldn't believe they had cut more than 3/4 of the way through the studs.
2 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 5:53AM
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In the 80s the element died on the water heater while my then husband was out of town. I had one in diapers and one in primary school - I had to have that hot water back! So I called the 'premier' plumber-electrician in town.

$60 to walk in the door. $93 to replace a dry element. $50 labour. He laughed. HE LAUGHED!

I learned how to do my own plumbing. And electrical work. Now I laugh! And my new husband is over the moon that I learned Scottish plumbing and electrical work in less than 6 months - were I so inclined I could apprentice and test. Were I not 57yo, I'd do it in a heartbeat!

FYI, at the time the part (a dry element for a 30 gallon water heater) cost a whole $1.75 retail. No clue what it was wholesale to the trade.
2 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 6:58AM
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I do my own plumbing and this one story I will share with you . I had a wood subfloor in a rec-room that was with sleepers over concrete I had to run hot and cold water into a bath so I fished two copper lines under the floor. hooked them up to a manifold in the bath. All was going good until my wife came out of the bath and told me that steam was coming from the toilet . now I mark all piping on both ends before starting
10 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 7:06AM
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@ sunnie2day - I'd always heard that it's fine to be an amateur plumber (dry-waller, carpenter), but not so fine to be an amateur electrician, lol. Although I agree, it's WAY easier to change a British plug than a N American one, I think.

We have a great plumber now, fortunately, so no more diy, and he's also good if one needs to catch up on all the local gossip. ;)
2 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 8:11AM
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@bubblyjock, I was so angry about the way the American plumber-electrician laughed about the easiest money he'd made all day that I took a couple of courses at the local adult-ed campus, and bought just about every book Lowes (think Wickes) sold on DIY plumbing and electrics. Over the years after that terrible 80s afternoon I fixed all sorts of electricals, kept the plumbing running free and happy, and rewired three homes in the US, all I had to do was have the county inspector out to approve the work, same with the plumbing.

I remarried and moved countries in early 2011 and it was short work to learn British electrics. I think it was the brown for live, yellow-green for ground that threw me at first but LOL, Wickes sells great books:)
1 Like   November 6, 2013 at 8:21AM
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Vicki D
Years ago my husband built a master bedroom w/en-suite for an elderly couple. Shortly after completion the wife called about a toilet leak. After rushing over, the leak turned out to be a matter of aim. Fortunately, no plumber was sent out. Unfortunately, I was.
2 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Jeannie Nguyen
This past week I had a plumber come in to help fix my leaking shower. I had no issues with the actual job itself, but what I was concerned about was that the plumber had stolen my phone charger! I filed a complaint immediately, and turns out, he just thought it was his charger. But, isn't it strange for a plumber to come into your home (when you're not home) and just use your electronics/outlets/etc? That irked me quite a bit...
1 Like   November 6, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Remodeled a very large2nd floor bathroom , plumber came in and turned on main before checking to make sure all valves were off. Ended up flooding bathroom and damaging a lot of ceilings.
   November 6, 2013 at 9:53AM
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my plumbing story is horrible- I am sure many of you have lived through it. but it would make all of you feel not so bad when you read mine.
   November 6, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Jeannie Nguyen
@kc1313: Feel free to share! We're all in this together! :)
   November 6, 2013 at 10:49AM
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I've done my own drywall, electrical, and framing, so when the doohickey in the toilet broke, I figured I'd do it myself. $11 for the flush mechanism and the clerk at the big box store was impressed at my moxie. Everything went fine until time to connect the supply line. I could NOT get that thing connected without a leak. So, since I had to call the plumber anyway, I figured what the hell...and I gutted the bathroom, retiled and got new fixtures and faucets, too.
4 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 11:01AM
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I hired a plumber to plumb in my new laundry. I told him I wanted a drain in the floor to run under the floor and out the side of the foundation, just in case of emergencies with the washer. (I have suffered from a washing machine overflow in the past.) He plumbed it into the sewer line instead, and didn't put a trap in it! Needless to say, we had a horrible stench in there until I could get a reputable plumber in to fix that mess! I had to tape over the drain with duct tape, and keep the door closed with a towel stuffed under it to keep the stink out of the rest of the house. :-P
   November 6, 2013 at 11:21AM
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I had a plumber charge $100 for a part that cost about $1.50 and took 5 minutes of his time, he replaced the rubber flapper in the toilet tank so the toilet would stop running. As he waved it in the air at me he said "everyone must pay for their education." I felt pretty stupid after that.
2 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 11:21AM
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We bought this home brand new from a reputable builder when we had to be at a new job 2000 miles away in six weeks. Everything was fine.

When my husband developed major allergies we replaced the carpet in the bedroom with hardwood and in the bath (yeah it was the 90s) with tile. Within a year we woke up to both floors covered in water. First the plumber thought it was the shower. Then it had to be the drains. Then I noticed that when we turned off the commercial dehumidifier the standing water dried up. We ran the drain line to another sink and there was no more water problem. We tore out the vanity and opened the wall... The opening for the PVC vent pipe to the sink had been drilled slightly off perpendicular and the pipe had been forced into a bend. It split just above the drain and all the water was going out of the sink through the crack. In the process of rebuilding the shower the carpenter noticed that there was a leak in the siding at the cleanout drain. They had cut the hole in the siding too large and not sealed it sufficiently. That required new siding. So it was new flooring, a new shower and new siding to fix a plumbing errors that should have been caught by a building inspector at rough in.
2 Likes   November 6, 2013 at 11:50AM
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We had a burst hot water valve when we were on vacation. It was in the bathroom on the third floor. The water jetted up to the ceiling, getting into attic. It was found when the guy shoveling the compound noticed the ice build up around the door. There were a couple of inches of water on the ground floor and everything in between had been drenched on that side of the house. Ceilings, chandelier and curtain rods came down. Furniture was drenched. Shoes, purses and briefcases turned moldy from the steam, even in the dry closet. It was over Christmas and we were on another continent. We had to call someone to bring a key and they had to drive to get the house opened so the water, furnace and electricity could be turned off. And we returned home to a wreck.

The pictures are: the ground floor showing the view when the door was opened for the first time with our carpet and sofa and the steam; Our living room after the water was turned off; the state of the dry side of the house where everything that could be salvaged was put because after the water got turned off, the ceilings still dripped.
   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    November 6, 2013 at 9:53PM
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As a hardcore diyer we gutted our 59/60 pink bathroom and were doing great until we realized pipes were rotted and the water was leaking in the shower area and we had to turn off the main supply to the house. Fortunately a close friend is a plumber and he rescued us at a very reasonable price maybe because my football player sized husband was brought to tears cuz he really wanted to take a shower. It all turned out great for us in the end and we are thankful to have a great friend who is a plumber.
3 Likes   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    November 6, 2013 at 10:06PM
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We had a common every day septic tank issue---the thing needed to be pumped out after a few years. We TOLD the septic guy WHERE the tank was--but he insisted that it could NOT be there. So he flushed the "pill" down the pipe and of course it was never heard from again.

Then he insisted that the entire thing NEEDED to be replaced---altho he still had not located the tank! I called a neighbor who runs an excavation service and he very nicely came right over and after reviewing where the lowest bathroom is and the slope of the hill behind the house and the pipes we determined that--the tank was EXACTLY where I said it was! He got a small backhoe and dug and located the pipes going away from the house---the back hoe nicked one of the old PVC pipes---talk about SMELL---meanwhile the septic guy was dancing around telling us all that I NEEDED to install a complete NEW septic system. Right then and there.


I thought we had this alllll worked out--pump it out and cover it up!---until the backhoe guy had to leave for a few hours. Immed the septic guy was at it all over again---calling his boss to let him know we were going to NEED a new concrete tank etc! And claiming that if I EVER wanted to SELL the house I would not be able to do that because instead of just pumping the tank I FAILED in my duty to install a NEW SEPTIC SYSTEM!

Fortunately before this guy worked himself into a stroke the backhoe guy returned and in fact had to stand there menacingly with a large metal pick in his hand and his helper had something else large and metal and they kept watch over the septic guy as he finally--after TWO DAYS of this malarky--pumped the dang tank OUT and went HOME.

This is one of a total of TWO home repairs we have NOT done ourselves. The other was a warranty issue on a water heater. Do you wonder why we all DYI????
1 Like   Thanked by Jeannie Nguyen    November 7, 2013 at 8:52PM
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@sunnie2day one must think of the insurance a plumber has to carry and how about those 5 minute jobs that turn into 3 days!? Don't properly vent a fixture and whoops!, Your pumping sewer gas into your house. There is a reason plumbers (at least in MA) attend 5 years of schooling. Theres more to it than you think.
   November 10, 2013 at 11:39AM
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@lindlane - the insurance and training I definitely get. The laughter and gloating about 'the easiest money' he made that day? No. That I still don't 'get' nearly 30 years later.

I'm all for a professional being paid the money he/she has earned - keyword 'professional' and his laughter that day was not at all professional.
   November 10, 2013 at 12:59PM
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We were putting a new bathroom upstairs in a small room which had been part of attic storage. The plumber was putting in the drain for the toilet when all of a sudden his foot pushed through the ceiling of the room downstairs. Needless to say, he didn't make as much as he thought he would after having to pay for the drywall on the ceiling below.
   November 12, 2013 at 7:25PM
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Marilyn Wilkie
Our plumber is my husband. The poor guy has experienced hours of not being able to get pipes sealed despite trying all methods. But he always perceivers in the end! He has saved us thousands of dollars over the years. He learned so much from his father, who built their house, despite being an accountant for the state.
1 Like   November 12, 2013 at 7:33PM
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