June 30, 2007

The $89 Lesson

Some lessons are free, some very expensive, and some you can put a distinct cost on.

One $89 lesson happened this week on a quick visit from the plumber.

We noticed a gurgling from our garden/jacuzzi tub and thought we had a problem. I googled ‘gurgling tub’ and thought I found out what was going on. Either the vent stack was clogged – or the line to the sewer was clogged. Since we have some big trees in our backyard I figured that the line to the sewer was clogged. I just needed to determine whether it was on our side of the city connection (less $) or on the city side (more $). I called the plumber hoping that it would be on the city side.

The plumber arrived and we recreated the gurgling. He suggested pouring some water down the tub drain. We did. The gurgling stopped. Since we hardly ever use the tub anymore, the drain trap was going dry. A dry trap lets sewer gas up the drain. The plumber smelled the sewer gas and knew that the gurgling was caused by the water in the trap evaporating.

Lesson learned: If you have a rarely used bathroom fixture, pour water down the drain every 3-6 months. This will keep your drain trap wet and stop sewer gas from going back up the drain.

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