We asked a professional plumber to tell us some of the oddest things he's ever found in his clients' pipes. What's most surprising is that most of these things are fairly ordinary; we should know better!
DIYers see the darnedest things -- especially when they do their own plumbing. And if you don't do your own plumbing... well, after you read this story you just might start -- out of pure shame!
As any DIYer knows, If there's a clog jamming the flow going down a pipe, there's only one way for everything to go: back out the same way it went in. We talked to general contractor Paul Matthias, who's been dealing with clogged drains in New York City for years. Turns out, some of the worst plumbing disasters are caused by some of the most simple, careless mistakes.
Feel free to ask the question, "how could that
end up down the drain?" when you read these stories. We sure did.
This Situation Really Stinks
"There was a big rooftop party at an apartment building in Brooklyn. The building has vent pipes on the roof that are connected to the main sewer line. People got really drunk and threw beer cans and Gatorade bottles through the roof vent pipe. It got into the main sewer lines for the building and clogged everything up. One poor guy's apartment is at the bottom of the sewer line so everyone's sewage was coming out of his shower and bathroom sink. (We're talking poop here.) The building had to add caps to the vent pipes after that incident."
"We had a call for a building in Manhattan. A couple had just moved into together. The boyfriend called me and said the toilet is clogged. I tried plunging it; didn't work. Then I tried snaking it; didn't work at all. So I had to take the entire toilet off the base. There was a mesh of dirty tampons and applicators stuck in the base of the toilet. I called her in to see what the problem was and she was mortified. Her boyfriend was so grossed out, he almost threw up. You can't throw your tampons in the toilet."
A Hairy Dilemma
"A woman complained that her shower wasn't working. The water wouldn't drain so she would wind up standing in several inches of water when she took a shower. I went over and poured a few bottles of Drano first. That didn't help the problem very much. So I removed the drain cap and pulled out the largest hairball I'd ever seen. We're talking seriously two feet long!"
The Opposite of Clean
"Somebody once threw a mop head in the toilet. It was one of those string mops. The entire basement was flooded with sewage and water. It was a mess. That was a bad job: imagine a puddle of poop, and the (plumbing) snake kicks up dirty water as it works."
Practice Safe Toilet Use
"The toilet was clogged. Apparently, these guys were throwing their used condoms down the toilet. One condom had inflated like a balloon when they flushed the toilet. The toilet paper (and everything else) had gotten jammed against it. When I snaked the toilet, it popped the condom and I could clear the toilet out.
"I once found a thong (panties) in the toilet. The girl pretended they weren't hers."
Do you have any crazy clogged drain stories? Share them here! (Don't worry, you can blame it on someone else.)