In the plumbing industry, we get a lot of wild calls about plumbing issues. From finding surprising things lodged into the commode to having toilets blow up for no apparent reason, these stories are amazing and bizarre head shakers for many plumbers. Here at J.W. Freeman Plumbing, we’ve gathered together 3 wild plumbing stories and solutions so that you don’t have the same mishaps happen to your home or business.
Turkey in the Trap
This story happened around the Thanksgiving holiday. An elderly woman sent in a call to a plumbing company’s call center about a clogged toilet. Her bathroom was flooded, and she needed emergency service. When the plumbing technician arrived to diagnose the problem, he was shocked to find that the Thanksgiving turkey carcass was lodged in the toilet trap. The elderly woman had forced the entire carcass down the small pipe, effectively creating the block. When asked about why she would do this, the woman said that she didn’t have a garbage disposal to get rid of the turkey bones.
Solution: While plumbers seldom get called to a home to dislodge a turkey, we are often called in because foreign objects have become stuck somewhere along the pipe. The best advice is to never place objects into the toilet that don’t belong there. If something does go down the toilet by accident, such as a dropped toy or car keys, then contact a plumber immediately to inspect the drain system since the object may not entirely go down the pipe.
Flipping the Water Heater Switch
A downtown bank had a very interesting plumbing issue that had lasted for 20 years. Inside the building, employees complained about not having any hot water to use in the bathroom or kitchenette. While the owners had called in plumbers and electricians to diagnose the problem, nobody could figure out why this brand new water heater would not work. Eventually, the bank management had agreed to replace the water heater although they called in a plumber again just to try to figure out what the issue was one last time. After looking over the water heater, the plumber lifted his hand and flipped the switch to the ON position. So for the past twenty years, the reason that the bank had no hot water was because no one figured out how to turn it on.
Solution: It’s easy to overlook the small solutions when it comes to plumbing issues. Whenever a person, or in this case a bank, purchases new equipment, always read over the manufacturer’s instructions. These instructions will help you to understand how the equipment works, and how to troubleshoot certain problems.
Almost every plumber has a variation of the following story. We get called in because of a burst pipe located somewhere in the building. As we locate the pipe, the homeowner or business owner complains about how they just had new pipes installed. They can’t figure out why the pipes had burst again so soon. On further inspection, we discover that the issue is with the materials used to join the pipes. Someone had tried to join steel pipes to copper pipes. Certain metals cannot be joined together because of their properties. While both steel and copper have inherent corrosion resistance, making them excellent materials for pipes, copper can cause other metals to corrode faster when touching each other.
Solution: It is always advisable to use the same materials throughout the building for pipes. If you are using two dissimilar metal pipe pieces, place in a dielectric nipple fitting. This fitting contains a plastic liner that prevents the two dissimilar metals from touching each other while still making a strong connection.
Contact J.W. Freeman Plumbing
Plumbing problems happen to both residential and commercial buildings. To avoid becoming the next wild plumbing story, contact our experienced technicians who can diagnose your issues and offer the best solutions.