Monday, December 30, 2013

Out, damn air pocket! Out!

Since we arrived late on the 27th, the toilet on the lower level has not been flushing properly.  This particular toilet has always required the user to hold the handle down for a few extra seconds to evacuate the effluence.  However, the past few days, the toilet bowl would fill up with water as usual, but never drain.  Ugh!  Needless to say, I plunged the heck out of it, with little luck. 

This year, I made a vow, when possible, to fix household items myself, instead of calling in the professionals. Yes, it's sad, but true, I've never had much faith in my ability to fix things.   So, to honor my vow, I did a little research online to see if I could determine what the problem could be.
Side bar:  Boy!  There is nothing more entertaining than reading through forums where a simple question by someone else about their stopped toilet, elicited comments about poverty in America, political slams, and readers feeling the need to explain how they could afford their humble second homes.  Alas, I gathered lots of information from various websites, YouTube, and forums, and began to conclude it was either blocked somewhere along the drain line, which was hard to believe, since we hadn't used it since arriving, or there was some sort of obstruction in the vent stack preventing this particular toilet from getting enough air to flush fully.  Our A-frame's vent stack is on top of the shed roof above the loft, meaning, there was no possible way to get up there to inspect it for a possible blockage.  Sigh...

So, yesterday, I dropped by the Boone Lowe's store, and picked up a hand-crank auger, and some liquid solution that claimed to be non-toxic and easy on the environment; which if I could manage to get down the drain --- might clear up the problem.  I was hoping I didn't have to resort to the liquid product, placing my bet that the auger would solve the problem...I lost the bet!  So, last night before bed, I reluctantly tried the liquid solution. This morning, I was once more disappointed to learn the toilet was still unable to flush.

I will say, in desperation, I phoned our plumber.  While waiting for a return call, I decided to revisit Lowe's and speak to one of their knowledgeable sales people.  I found Anthony on his way to deliver something, asked if he could help me, he agreed and promised to find me once he did so...He did.  He was fairly certain the problem was a blockage further down the drain line, and pointed us toward some seriously toxic looking product, he said was sure to do the trick.  Since he mentioned he thought the blockage was an air pocket (based on the symptoms I described), I asked how the product would eliminate an air pocket.  He provided an answer, but that is when the light bulb went off in my head, and his words missed my ears.  I asked him what he thought about my closing off the supply line, as if we were about to winterize the house, opening all the taps, draining all the water out of the house, then reopening the supply line.  Is it possible this would push out an air pocket??  He was very encouraging of the idea, and added we might want to fill each sink and tub with a little water, and as we opened the drain line, proceed to flush the toilets, and release the water in the sinks and tubs simultaneously.

I couldn't wait to try this, and VERY pleased to say this solution worked!  It's true what they say, two heads are better than one, and Anthony's was just the head this little problem needed. Shout out to Anthony at the Boone Lowe's! The upside is I didn't have to pay a plumber, I am now the proud owner of a $10 hand-crank auger, and some non-toxic liquid designed to unstop drains that cost me $14 ( I could have done without the liquid).  And the best part is, with a little tenacity, and a promise to myself, I am enjoying a strong sense of satisfaction this evening. (Insert beaming face here.)

Ah, yes!  And one residual benefit of all of this is that by forcing myself to problem solve, I honestly believe the exercise has generated some creative sparks and nifty ideas that may address some other issues in my life with which I've been wrestling.  A doubly cool outcome, if you ask me...

All better now.

1 comment:

  1. thats really awesome. i love that feeling of accomplishment!