13 Crazy Things Plumbers Have Discovered On the Job
Every plumber has their horror stories. Here's a collection of some of the more unique, nasty, and weird things plumbers have found on the job
A customer called a plumber with a toilet stoppage. When the technician looked into the pipes to find the source, he pulled out upper and lower dentures from the toilet. The customer wondered where his dentures went. Apparently, he had a little too much to drink the night before and unknowingly made a deposit in the porcelain wishing well.
Can you imagine what the plumber was thinking when he started pulling on this mass from an underground storm drainage pipe? “Will it ever end?” “What the heck is it?” And this mass is on the small side. Mr. Rooter has pulled out thicker and longer masses!
Diamond in the rough
A plumbing crew was in the midst of a two-day project for a customer when they noticed a shiny object fall to the ground from a sewer line. The shiny item turned out to be a custom-made diamond ring that the customer’s daughter had lost over ten years ago when she placed it on the counter near the sink.
Flushing a toilet and making things disappear must seem like magic to some kids. Maybe that’s what happened to this dinosaur that was pulled from a toilet. Unfortunately, this was a type of toy that expands when exposed to water so it got stuck once it was flushed. Thankfully the plumber was able to retrieve the dinosaur.
The root of the matter
For the most part, water flows through our main water lines day in and day out without issue, but sometimes a sprawling root system can wreak havoc on pipes. It took four guys from Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. in the Chicago area to hold this 30-foot monster root that they removed from the main water line.
In the plumbing business, plumbers call these “sewer mice.” Tampons should never be flushed down the toilet, yet Anta Plumbing sees this type of trouble a lot. Cotton doesn’t decompose, so a tampon can clog up the system anywhere causing expensive damage to septic systems and they’re no picnic to remove at wastewater-treatment facilities.
The iguana that lost its way
This iguana was found after Alisa Scott, a Roto-Rooter plumber, was called to a house to fix a toilet that wouldn’t flush. While Scott eventually did snag something and fish it out, she never imagined it would be a live iguana. The iguana apparently entered the house through a rooftop vent and made its way into the depths of the toilet.
A purr-fect ending
Auto shop employees often listen for sounds to diagnose problems, but a kitten meowing in distress isn’t something they usually hear. This group of guys heard meows for days before discovering they were coming from an open underground pipe outside the shop. After different agencies tried to rescue the kitten to no avail, the employees were in the process of trying to dig up the pipe when they saw Roto-Rooter driver Kevin Adkins drive by. They flagged him down, and Adkins was able to gently suck the kitten out of the pipe using the lowest setting on the vacuum truck. The kitten was adopted by one of the mechanics at the auto shop.
A little girl flushed her Barbie doll’s head down a toilet but didn’t tell her parents. All they knew was that the toilet wasn’t flushing properly. A drain technician pulled Barbie’s head out with a toilet auger. Creeeeeepy!
Silicone in a u-bend
Who knows why someone would flush silicone caulk down a urinal? Maybe they thought it would be diluted with the water… except that it wasn’t. A drain technician found the silicone caulk in the shape of the urinal’s p-trap. It doesn’t matter if it’s a drain in a urinal or a kitchen sink, never pour something like silicon down the drain.
A flushometer is no match for smartphones
Roto-Rooter gets a lot of calls from panicked customers that dropped their cell phones in commercial toilets like office buildings and restaurants. Unlike toilets at home, the powerful commercial-grade flushometer systems can easily flush a smartphone down into the toilet’s drain trap.
A plumber attempted to clear a residential toilet clog with a hand-crank toilet auger, but the clog wouldn’t budge. So, he pulled up the toilet to access the trap from the bottom of the toilet and saw the fish head. Apparently, the homeowner had a pet fish that died, so he attempted to flush the fish away and it got stuck in the toilet’s drain trap.
His flying days are over
Roof vent pipes are a common place for curious birds, squirrels, and other small animals to become trapped inside home drain systems. Unfortunately, for the animal and homeowner, they usually can’t turn around and find their way back out. This is another common call for plumbers. A screen over these vents is a worthy home maintenance chore.