As a general contractor, I see and hear many horror stories about home repair, new construction, home remodeling, and home maintenance. We all know and hear about people who are out there for quick money in any business. On the other side of the story, I will say that there are still many people who love and try very hard to do a good job.
Let me tell you one of my latest stories. They called me to a place where water had collected in the basement of a house. This house had a finished basement and this is where the owners had their bedroom. So when the woman of the house got up in the morning she stood in a couple inches of water, she even told me that she saw small waves as she walked down the hall to the bathroom. They called me for a couple of reasons, one: I had worked for them in the past and they had already called a rotor-router company and they still had a clogged drain. When I got there, there was a company that had already started drying the carpet, removing the flooring. I had picked up a small hand snake thinking that I might find the clogged tile, after informing me about what happened I tried to unplug the clog but found that it was not going to work with the small hand snake I had brought.
Knowing this, they called a different plumbing contractor and within an hour he showed up, gave him all the information we could, and he decided to run his snake in the same spot that I had tested. He had a really nice power snake with a 4 “cutting blade on the end, after a couple of tries he found he couldn’t go any further on the tile than I had gotten, around 5 ‘then he decided to get A smaller cutting blade, after testing the smaller cutting blade, found the same obstruction about 5 ‘below the tile where we had removed the downspout to access the tile. After a couple of tries with the smaller cutting blade, seemed to grab something and started to lower the tiles, on the next foot, all of a sudden bubbles came out of the water and the ground. The plumber looked at me and said that I had hit and cut the gas line coming to the house. I thought how is this possible, but we still had a gas leak. So the owner contacted the gas company and within 30 minutes the gas company was there. By then the gas had been returned to the sewer line side and was filling the house with natural gas. smell gas outside and throughout the house. The gas company checked the home with a tester and found that the home had been filled with approximately 60% gas. Not long after this, 3 different fire trucks were at the scene and they asked us to stop on the other side of the street. Woof !! Going from cleaning a clogged drain to watching a house explode wasn’t really what he had in mind. I could never understand why they just didn’t shut off the gas on the street, I guess it was because they didn’t want the dirty water to run down the gas pipe. So the gas company dug up the broken gas pipe, made the repair, and they left. Ok, going back to the clogged drain, we did a little more digging and found where the tile had broken when the gas company installed the gas line to this house a couple of years earlier. And they also found where they hit it a second time and it didn’t fix, this is where it had broken down over time. The place where the gas company hit the tile the second time was what caused the water to flow back into the basement because it had been raining heavily. I fixed the broken tiles and this fixed the water problem that had occurred in the basement.
That is the shortest way I can tell this story. I have omitted many small details that saved the home of the owners. There were times when we didn’t know if we should leave the lights on or turn them off. Everyone stayed calm and did what needed to be done when the time came to do it. The point of this story is that we had a big problem (gas in the air, water in the basement) and we tried to fix it as quickly as possible. Some people get lost when there is some danger “floating in the air.” That is why it is very important to have a suitable general contractor to help you and handle the situation.