Plumbing Repair Skills Can Come In Handy

If you need a reason to learn to do your own basic plumbing repairs listen to this story.

First a little background.  My wife and I had always wanted a house with lots of trees around so about 6 years ago we found 5 acres covered in hardwoods and built a new home.   We sold our old house (with almost no trees) and moved into our new place, surrounded by oaks, dogwoods, poplars and hickory trees.

Now fast forward to 2008.  I’m looking at about 12 dead or dying oak trees, big oak trees, all within striking distance of the house.   Maybe it’s the last few years of drought or maybe I killed the roots while building the house and it’s just taken them this long to finally die.  Whatever the cause, several of the biggest trees, which also happen to be the closest to the house, are dead as dead can be.

So my wife and I decided that the trees had to go.  First, I tried to demonstrate my manly lumberjack skills by cutting down a dead oak tree myself.  I picked one that was several hundred feet from the house.  I fired up my handy Craftsman chain saw, called the kids and wife to watch and started cutting.  It was a beautiful thing to see.  The tree fell just where I wanted and the kids even got to yell “Timber” when it started going down.  It was so cool, you could feel the ground shake when it hit.

In spite of my flawless execution of treecutting skills, we both decided that it would be best to call a professional tree service to take the ones close to the house down.  So we called around, got several quotes and picked a company.  They agreed to start first thing Monday morning.

Early Monday the Tree Service guys showed up with a bucket truck, a log truck and a chipper that I later found out can chip up a 15″ log, that’s right- a 15″ log.  They started cutting and sawing and chipping and it was soon obvious that we had made a good decision in calling the pros for this job.

The next day I got a call from home around lunch.  It was my wife, telling me that the tree guys were in the yard doing something with a shovel.  Then she said that they had either struck oil or hit a water line.  Apparently a limb from the section of tree they had dropped had stuck into the ground right on top of a water line.

The tree guys managed to turn the water off but they didn’t know how to fix the line.  Luckily I know a pretty good plumber.  By the time I got home from work it was almost dark, but I was able to finish digging the lines up enough to figure out that it was a sprinkler line.  I went to our local Home Depot and got the stuff to fix the line.  I just capped the line temporarily because by this time it was dark and we needed the water back on, and the next morning I fixed it right.

After everything was repaired my wife said “It’s a good thing you are a plumber.  What would someone who isn’t a plumber have done?”  Of course the first thing I thought was that’s why everyone needs to check out this blog and my mini course.  I mean, you just never know when a tree is going to poke a hole in your water line, right?

Seriously, if you are reading this and haven’t signed up for the mini course, why not go ahead and do it now.  After all, it’s free.  And if you know someone who has plumbing, or trees in their yard, please tell them about this website and the mini course.

Oh, by the way, the tree guys did a great job.   They even did some extra work to make up for hitting the water line.

You just never know when a little plumbing know how will come in handy.  If you have a plumbing story I’d like to hear it.   Just leave it in your comment.


Bryan Stevens

©Bryan Stevens 2008

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2 comments to Plumbing Repair Skills Can Come In Handy

  • Cindy Hiebert

    Help! I am so embarrassed, I had a plugged up bathroom sink, and something happened that I just can’t explain. I dropped the plug back in the sick before getting the bar hooked back to it. NOW the plug is just stuck there and I can’t pull it back out! Can’t visualize where the end of it would be to push it back up. Even tried using a plunger, and a strong vacuum to pull it out from the top. No dice! Now what?!



    • Bryan

      Hi Cindy,
      Two things to try:
      1- Take the rod/bar that goes into the hole in the back of the drain, Angle it down as far as you can (so the part sticking out the back is pointing upward) and then use it to lever the plug up. You may need to kind of reach one hand in the cabinet and one in the bowl, or get some help.

      2- Use a very sharp knife to pry it up.

      3- I just thought of this. Maybe try a little kids dart, you know, the suction cup kind.

      I hope this helps.


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