Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sewer Line Repairs Redux, Part 1

The reason it looks like there's a grave in my backyard? It's because there is one: I almost buried seventeen hundred dollars back there.

Odds are minute that any readers will remember my previous post regarding our problems with clogged sewer lines in our backyard.

Well, it goes like this: Our sewer line has given us problems pretty consistently for the last year to year-and-a-half. We've had it augered (professionally) probably four times in that period. The cause? Root infiltration of the line.

At over $100 per pop, professional sewer-cleaning doesn't come cheap. So, in October of last year, we'd had enough. We called a local plumbing service and asked them to truck out a sewer-line camera (cost: $300+) so we could see what the heck was going on. We wanted to pin down the exact location of the trouble-spot and set a plan for repairs.

It turns out that roots had invaded our sewer line in two locations, both of which were a fair distance from the house. We requested an estimate for repairs, and it came in at $1,720.

So, as of a few weeks ago, the repairs were completed, and my household cashpile was $1,720 shorter. Nasty, yes, but that's what savings are for. I consider it pretty much a run-of-the-mill part of being a homeowner. When you own a home, stuff clogs, breaks, falls apart, develops leaks, and just generally wears down. That's just how it is.

But There's a Telephonic Twist Here

Turns out that once the plumbing guys dug down to the sewer line, they found some interesting ... handiwork.

The pic at the right shows our sewer line (in white) and a pretty nice-sized chunk of telephone line (black) right above it, and running perpendicular. That thick white collar you see on the sewer line is where someone modified (notice I didn't say "repaired") the line previously. "Previously," as in ... before we bought the house.

The neat thing about that PVC collar you see, and another one that at the time was still buried in the dirt a few feet away, is that they didn't go all the way around the sewer line. And that they weren't cemented into place. And that the replacement piece of "new" PVC which they were meant to "join" to the existing line wasn't long enough to actually touch the existing lines at either end.

What this means is that roots had an easy "in" from the bottom of the line, and raw sewage had an easy "out" into the dirt roughly three feet below the surface of our backyard.

Stories of homeowners and their dollar- and time-saving "repairs" in situations like this are stuff of urban lore. But what if it wasn't the previous owner of our home who was responsible for this quality craftsmanship?

More on that in my next post, "Sewer Line Repairs Redux, Part 2!"

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— Posted by Michael @ 2:03 PM

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Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]