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  • Perfect example

    Here is a perfect example why you need to diagnose a drain problem as thorough as possible...No matter how much a customer thinks they know their plumbing system...No matter how much a customer has had the OTHER drain cleaning companies out there...You need to be very thorough on your diagnosis of the drain clog...

    I was on a job today...blocked main sanitary line...customer was getting water in his basement toilet everytime he flushed upstairs...After doing my walk around outside, i noticed a curb trap (Fresh Air Inlet) At the curb on the property line of my customer and the next door neighbor...So the toilet in basement if full of sewage....I asked the customer "Is this the 1st time your drain backed up?" His reply was...oh no...we had a problem once before..the last guy was here for hours..but did a wonderfull job....I said ok....Well your main line is clogged...The customer said the last guy got it from outside...So again i look around outside and see a vent...The customer points to that vent and says...that is were the last guy got if from...I said..hmmmm that vent is awfull close to the property line, its possible that it could be your neighbors...but he assured me that the vent was his...SO i walked up and down the street abit just to get ideas from the other house of where their vents were , and sure enough all the other house vents were on the property lines of the houses...So i explained to the homeowner that i didnt want to go from the vent because i wasnt comfortable that it was my customers vent...Well he didnt like that idea..and started giving me attitude on how i do my job...saying i wasnt qualified enough...So instead of arguing with the customer i stood by what i said...i also told him that if i go from the toilet and cant clear then line..i wont charge him...( I knew i would clear it from the toilet sweep) So the toilet comes off, i snake the line...i go 50ft out and clear the blockage...after i pass the block i hit a hard spot in the line....I go out to check the vent that he had told me the last guy went in ...and NO SIGN OF CABLE....So i go past the spot i had a hard time with ..and just out of curiosity...i go outside again....Guess what is popping out of the ground on the other side of the house??? My cable..

    My cable had gone up the standpipe and came out the lid, exposing his BURRIED curb trap lid or round vent cover....I showed this to the customer and said....This is your access to your sewer line....There is no way the last guy cleared your clog from here....Then i get this story

    Oh yes...i remember...the last guy was here about 10yrs ago...went from the other vent back into the house, and broke thru my neighbors toilet in the basement...Then he had to come up here and pull my toilet off on the 1st floor and cable it from there...He was here for hours....he kept getting stuck...

    So i cleared the blockage..exposed his trap more..and sold a preventive maint of a yearly cleaning on the line due to tree roots being in the line...


    Moral of the story...Make sure you do a very thorough diagnosis before you go sticking snakes and jets in lines...Even if the customer THINKS they know their plumbing....your the professional they called to come out to fix THEIR problem...If i had listened to him...i might have broken the neighbors toilet as well and wouldve been paying for that......

    Glad i did my own diagnosis and went on what my gut had told me

    Greg
    Last edited by Drain Medic; 12-01-2007, 11:32 PM.
    The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

    www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

  • #2
    Re: Perfect example

    Outstanding!!!!!!

    Sometimes it can be pretty rough sticking to your guns.Excellent job Drain

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Perfect example

      Thanks...I just want people to know how important diagnosing problems are...even if it takes you a half hour to diagnose...It could save you so much time...and in that case 100s of dollars possibly even thousands if things went really bad
      The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

      www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Perfect example

        It really does make me proud to have so many true professionals on this board who care about doing it the right way and maintaining their integrity.

        Nice Job Greg!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Perfect example

          Well handled Greg
          sigpic

          Robert

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Perfect example

            Great Job Greg. I'm glad you stuck with your gut feeling.

            I just ran across another "Perfect Example" the other day that I have been meaning to post under a similar thread.

            I get a call from a Management Co. regarding a disposer problem and a lavatory clog at a 35 year old condo.
            Apparently the tenants just returned from a 4 month trip to Japan.

            I look in the Badger V disposer and see all the blades rusted together. I shoot some dishwashing liquid in there, rotate it with my tool, reset the button, and it's good to go.

            On to the lav, after pulling the pop-up plug, I removed a lot of dried up hair and ran the water to no avail, still clogged.
            I pull the trap and arm and look inside of the 1 1/2" galv. pipe leading into the wall towards the right, full of solid build up.
            I scrape everything out and try to run my snake with a 5/16" double drop head, I can't get it to go after 2 feet, even after trying bulbs, drop, and a cutter heads.

            I'm thinking the vertical drop at the tee or double fixture fitting is rusted shut.

            Looking in the bathroom, the toilet and tub are of the rear outlet type versus the floor outlet type.
            I also took a look outside from the walkway to check the window configurations. It appears the bathrooms are back to back judging by the 2 smaller short & wide windows adjacent to each other which are placed up higher & closer to the ceiling.

            My next move was calling the Resident Manager who lives in the building. He had the day off as this was Wed. so he worked only half a day in the morning. I figured he had experience as to what the pipe configuration was like. I just left a message on his machine.
            I also called the Management Co. to let them know I may have to cut into the plumbing wall and needed approval.
            After letting the tenants know the plan, I clean up and left.
            [/IMG]
            I get an urgent call the next day from the Management Co. stating that when the tenant drained their bath tub it overflowed into the sink. I was like WTF? (in my head). I told them there is no way that could have happened. I told them the possiblity of the neighbor using their sink and backing it up. So I told them I'll get over there later.

            Next, I get a return call from the Resident Manager of the bldg. He tells me the same thing. I was like, yeah right. I asked him to call the neighbors to see if they had any problems with their sink and I'll see him later on.

            When I get over there, the neighbors said nothing happened. He goes on to tell me, "Well you know, I've been here for 13 years and have experience with this bldg., the lavatories are not back to back fittings, the lavs drain into the tub vent".

            So I took him over to the parking garage and showed him this:
            [/IMG]
            I pointed out the 2 separate P-traps, Sani-tees, and 4x2 combos for the tubs. Next I pointed out the separate 2" riser next to the 4" riser for the toilet telling him that this was the lav riser. He said "naw, that is the toilet vent". I was like, this guy is nuts.
            He tells me "snake it thru the bath tub drain, I'm telling you that is the problem". I said "ya OK", and went upstairs.

            I get upstairs see a few inches of water in the lav and the tenant says the same thing about the bath water backing up into the lav. So I turn on the tub full blast and watch the lav (in my head I'm thinking, WTF am I doing? I should know better!), of course nothing happens. The tenant looks at me and says "oh yeah, I guess you are right".

            So I cut a small hole above the toilet to fit my new Micro SeeSnake thru.
            Voila, I see a 2" x 1 1/2" double fixture fitting for the lavs. Apparently 2 feet after leaving the sink, the 1 1/2" galv. pipe connects to an 1 1/2" Durham 90 fitting which is connected to a close nipple attached to the double fixture fitting.

            I proceeded to cut a 14" x 14" opening for my access panel.

            Next I disassembled the NH vent manifold and stuck my Micro down the lav vent, AHA, water was sitting at the same height as the lav, meaning, the neighbors were lying.

            I got my K-38 with a 3/8" cable and cutter head and chewed up the deposits and spit em out, it was a lot more solid than I thought, my cable wanted to twist up a few times.

            After clearing the line, I removed the short section of NH vent riser and replaced it with a short section of PVC with a tap tee for future clean outs.

            I called the Resident Manager to take a look and after seeing the double fixture fitting he said "Well, I'll be darned". In my head I'm thinkin' "you friggin moron, 13 years of doing a whole lotta' nuthin'."
            I went on to tell him that I think the neighbors were lying to him, and he said "well, they are Chinese". LOL.
            They probably didn't want to pay for half of the bill is what I'm thinking.
            I was pleasant with him though, as I'm not out to make enemies.

            Thanks Greg for starting this thread and keep up the Great Work!

            Tracy
            Last edited by yasudaplumbing; 12-02-2007, 02:00 AM.
            sigpic.................I Love My Toto Bidet :twofinger2: :twofinger:

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Perfect example

              very good examples greg and tracy.

              over the years of camering and drain cleaning, i've found it's better to come up with your own conclusions than to believe what others want to tell you.

              typically they are out to sell a sewer line. of course the video is never there and the customer gets a sales pitch from the first time guy coming out selling them a sewer.

              amazing thing is the customer has a 10-30 years track record in the house and the service guy has a 1 hour track record.

              i find that if i ask questions, the guy trying to sell them a sewer is just a salesman. not a plumber that can properly diagnoise the common stoppage.

              anyone selling a large scale repair on a first time visit with no track record and no video is out to take the customer. i see this on a weekly basis.
              amazing how many times i hear they couldn't clear the stoppage and they need to replace the pipe. a simple snaking will typically get the system up and running.

              stick with your gut and knowledge. the customer will be glad they called you. a quick buck is short lived.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Perfect example

                I love this! The knowledge keeps flowing, like a cleared drain!
                I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Perfect example

                  Nice going both of you!

                  It's always nice to get the history from customers when dealing with stoppages but take all the information with a grain of salt.

                  Over time, things get confused, details forgotten and bad intel from previous plumbers will lead you down the wrong path.

                  It's refreshing to see you guys are using your heads and not just some wanker shoving a cable down any ol' pipe you find.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Perfect example

                    Originally posted by yasudaplumbing View Post
                    Great Job Greg. I'm glad you stuck with your gut feeling.

                    I just ran across another "Perfect Example" the other day that I have been meaning to post under a similar thread.

                    I get a call from a Management Co. regarding a disposer problem and a lavatory clog at a 35 year old condo.
                    Apparently the tenants just returned from a 4 month trip to Japan.

                    I look in the Badger V disposer and see all the blades rusted together. I shoot some dishwashing liquid in there, rotate it with my tool, reset the button, and it's good to go.

                    On to the lav, after pulling the pop-up plug, I removed a lot of dried up hair and ran the water to no avail, still clogged.
                    I pull the trap and arm and look inside of the 1 1/2" galv. pipe leading into the wall towards the right, full of solid build up.
                    I scrape everything out and try to run my snake with a 5/16" double drop head, I can't get it to go after 2 feet, even after trying bulbs, drop, and a cutter heads.

                    I'm thinking the vertical drop at the tee or double fixture fitting is rusted shut.

                    Looking in the bathroom, the toilet and tub are of the rear outlet type versus the floor outlet type.
                    I also took a look outside from the walkway to check the window configurations. It appears the bathrooms are back to back judging by the 2 smaller short & wide windows adjacent to each other which are placed up higher & closer to the ceiling.

                    My next move was calling the Resident Manager who lives in the building. He had the day off as this was Wed. so he worked only half a day in the morning. I figured he had experience as to what the pipe configuration was like. I just left a message on his machine.
                    I also called the Management Co. to let them know I may have to cut into the plumbing wall and needed approval.
                    After letting the tenants know the plan, I clean up and left.
                    [/IMG]
                    I get an urgent call the next day from the Management Co. stating that when the tenant drained their bath tub it overflowed into the sink. I was like WTF? (in my head). I told them there is no way that could have happened. I told them the possiblity of the neighbor using their sink and backing it up. So I told them I'll get over there later.

                    Next, I get a return call from the Resident Manager of the bldg. He tells me the same thing. I was like, yeah right. I asked him to call the neighbors to see if they had any problems with their sink and I'll see him later on.

                    When I get over there, the neighbors said nothing happened. He goes on to tell me, "Well you know, I've been here for 13 years and have experience with this bldg., the lavatories are not back to back fittings, the lavs drain into the tub vent".

                    So I took him over to the parking garage and showed him this:
                    [/IMG]
                    I pointed out the 2 separate P-traps, Sani-tees, and 4x2 combos for the tubs. Next I pointed out the separate 2" riser next to the 4" riser for the toilet telling him that this was the lav riser. He said "naw, that is the toilet vent". I was like, this guy is nuts.
                    He tells me "snake it thru the bath tub drain, I'm telling you that is the problem". I said "ya OK", and went upstairs.

                    I get upstairs see a few inches of water in the lav and the tenant says the same thing about the bath water backing up into the lav. So I turn on the tub full blast and watch the lav (in my head I'm thinking, WTF am I doing? I should know better!), of course nothing happens. The tenant looks at me and says "oh yeah, I guess you are right".

                    So I cut a small hole above the toilet to fit my new Micro SeeSnake thru.
                    Voila, I see a 2" x 1 1/2" double fixture fitting for the lavs. Apparently 2 feet after leaving the sink, the 1 1/2" galv. pipe connects to an 1 1/2" Durham 90 fitting which is connected to a close nipple attached to the double fixture fitting.

                    I proceeded to cut a 14" x 14" opening for my access panel.

                    Next I disassembled the NH vent manifold and stuck my Micro down the lav vent, AHA, water was sitting at the same height as the lav, meaning, the neighbors were lying.

                    I got my K-38 with a 3/8" cable and cutter head and chewed up the deposits and spit em out, it was a lot more solid than I thought, my cable wanted to twist up a few times.

                    After clearing the line, I removed the short section of NH vent riser and replaced it with a short section of PVC with a tap tee for future clean outs.

                    I called the Resident Manager to take a look and after seeing the double fixture fitting he said "Well, I'll be darned". In my head I'm thinkin' "you friggin moron, 13 years of doing a whole lotta' nuthin'."
                    I went on to tell him that I think the neighbors were lying to him, and he said "well, they are Chinese". LOL.
                    They probably didn't want to pay for half of the bill is what I'm thinking.
                    I was pleasant with him though, as I'm not out to make enemies.

                    Thanks Greg for starting this thread and keep up the Great Work!

                    Tracy

                    To me thats one of the worst.....Maint men at apt complexes....that is exactly what they are...maint.. Countless times ive run into your same problem...I usually will tell them to just show me to the apt, and if i need them i will call them...I would rather be left alone doing my own diagnosis on apt problems...For me, everytime at an apt complex its always a new situation you find yourself running into...For example...Management companies have so many different companies they call for plumbing and drain cleaning, that there is almost a new company in there everytime there is a drain clog...I find pipes that are cut, rerouted, hacked up cause a company or person had no clue what they were doing and went in wrong spots...Or the maint men tried it themselves and went in totally opposite areas then were the problems happen....When it comes to those i just simply say....Ok, give me a few mins to find the problem...Its going to cost X amount of dollars...When im done, ill call you to sign my invoice...Otherwise, they are taking me all over the place...Telling me this line runs here, that line runs there...the last guy got it from here, you cant get it from there, and my personal favorite..Ive been here for years and i know that you cant do it from there......Anywho, We didnt go thru all our training and testing for nothing....Oh and another....wow, the last guy was alot cheaper ...Thats when i ask....Well how come you didnt call him again....or then why am i back here 1 month later lol...gotta love it
                    The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

                    www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Perfect example

                      whenever i go to a new site i ask lots of questions. sometimes the answers are, "i don't know", sometimes they are way off base, and sometimes they are spot on. but by asking i can get a feel for the customer and the situation.

                      the wednesday before thanksgiving i get a call to a condo with back to back kitchen sinks that are blocked. since the "competition" was there 3 weeks ago one of the unit owners knows everything. he admitted being very "helpful" to the cleaner.

                      there was a 1 1/2" CO in a closet, but the owner insisted that line was dry and i had to snake from the other unit.

                      long story short the CO was wet and the culprit was hair and some twist ties that made it down the line and caused a blockage at the "helpful" owners tub.

                      a 1 hour in and out job took almost 2 hours longer because of Mr. Helpful i explained to the property manager why the bill was so large. she said she understood as that was the way he was and he gladly paid his part of the bill.

                      a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing

                      steve
                      In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Perfect example

                        Good thread guys really enjoyed reading .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Perfect example

                          So beautiful, and so spot on. Open the doors, go away, keep your phone on. I love it when I have enough of a history with someone that I can tell them that, or even better that I don't have to say it.

                          I almost burned myself a few weeks ago by listening to the homeowner instead of following my process (I know better, but I was tired).

                          Another company had come on site, looked at it, quoted a price for a main line from house to septic tank, and left when the homeowner balked at the $. So I show up after much discussion of $ on phone, see the 2" of nastiness floating under the hot tub in the basement that came up out the floor drain, and go outside to find the tank. Pop the huge (like 4' diameter, 3" thick) concrete lid... hmmm.... tank level looks ok as close as I can tell (it's like 6' down a riser). Stick my camera down thru my trusty 1 1/2" pvc conduit with the 90 on the end and look around and there's the inlet. I think I can hit that with the jetter, so I go to sling hose... and then stop cos my brain unfroze for a sec. I go back inside to the bathroom in the basement.... nothing in the tub.... I poke around in a utility closet and lo! another floor drain and this one not backed up.... A light dawns as I remember where the kitchen was upstairs. I flush the toilet...fine...go back outside in time to hear the last of it trickling into the tank, close the tank up and go jet the kitchen sink line to pop the clog just below where the floor drain at the hot tub ties in. Nailed it, under my quote despite my wasted time at the tank, and who knows how much less than the other guy.

                          Never listen to them! Just smile and nod and let it wash over you but don't act on it. Cut them off and tell them what you need to see, then start doing.
                          This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Perfect example

                            Haha... embarrased to say but I think I would be that type of homeowner. I would tell you exactly what I thought the problem was when you would arrive. I did this with an HVAC guy earlier this year. Guess what I was wrong I like to act like I know everything but I am learning that I know less than I dont know

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Perfect example

                              I had one of these Sunday morning. All I could think of while the property manager and complex manager were going "BLAH blah blah" was this thread. It turns out, the only one with any useful info was Henry one of the 87 year old residents. It didn't help in this case but next I'm going to his door if I need any prior history.
                              INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                              Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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