2 days ago (Dec 30th) we noticed that when I flushed the one toilet, the other started gurgling, and the tub in the hall bath started filling, and the flushed toilet didn't actually flush. We thought "perhaps a clog?" so while my hubby made plans to pick up some draino or something along those lines, I typed the issue into google to see what might pop up, as it would have to be a pretty impressive clog for the results we were getting.
This Old House suggested it might be the vent, and this guy backed them up. So up to the roof top my hubby went, armed with a set of eyeballs and nothing more. He looked down the vent, and saw water. So I hooked up the hose, passed it up to him (did I say he has a problem with heights?) and into the vent it went. Water on, hubby moving the hose up and down to break through a clog, and presto, clog broke! Hubby pushed the hose in further, to make sure everything was good- stopped. Complete halt. Not budging. after a few min, I started thinking we were maybe forgetting some crucial part of the video, and suddenly hubby looks down and says "err, maybe you should go check the water in the toilets?" YIKES!
So I rush off, back through the house, and sure enough, toilet almost overflowing! And nasty brown water flowing into tub, through the overflow!!! I run back out, yelling to him to get the hose out as I rush to the spigot. He got the end of the hose out of the pipe as I turned the faucet its final twist. Very close call. So hubby decides yes- definitely a clog, a big one, need liquid plumber. And a longer snake. And maybe a plumber. We started looking for and calling plumbers. No answer, disconnected phones, voice mails, and one guy that wasn't a plumber anymore.
The next morning (Dec 31st) off to the nearest town I went, deciding on Tractor Supply as I needed to get a outdoor fan (MY HAY WAS STARTING TO MILDEW!!) And I make it home a couple hours later with fan, a couple hay nets, some soft cat food, a few other things. I'm outside hooking up the fan, when hubby pops out asking for the liquid plumber / draino.. which I had completely forgotten. So back to the store we go- stopping along the way to look and see if petco had any dogs available for adoption- and get back home with liquid plumber and a longer snake as it is starting to get dark, Hubby starts the liquid plumber while I start the grill (It was New Year's Eve, after all) and take care of the horses.
Meanwhile the day is ending, and I am thinking about the saturation levels of the ground and that maybe things will flush better in the morning....
Hubby forgot to turn off his alarm setting, so at 3:00 am I am wide awake, listening to him try to get his alarm off on a day he doesn't have to work. And needing to pee. Really really bad. So I go, and then flush.... and then panic as the water fills the toilet. I rush out to grab the plunger- knowing it is to full to use it without creating a massive mess, when the hall bathroom starts gurgling.. glug glug.. not knowing what to expect, I slowly lift the lid- it is almost empty, glug glug.. I go back into our bathroom, and the water is maybe 2 hair widths below the very top of the bowl..stopped. Yay! I put the lid back down so the cats do not decide to drink from it, climb back in bed as though nothing were going on and decide that maybe I just had a vivid dream.
About 15 min later I go ahead and get up, coffee was calling. It was the start of not just a new day, but a New Year! And I have decided today will be a different kind of day, thinking about enviro-lets and the compost pile and the muck tub and the bits of hay that I had pulled out of my bales the were mildewing.... a plan.
Hubby got up a few hours later and was on the roof, trying again without the water and with the longer snake. I came up from setting T-posts in place to pester him and make sure he didn't fall off the roof somehow. No luck with the longer snake, so we started calling again. Finally, someone answered that was a plumber, and wasn't booked full and whos truck/van was actually running. He arrived about 2 hours later, poked the ground with his stick, looked under the house (from the outside, just bent over a bit), said "oh- its your septic, I don't work on them" charged us $150.00 and drove away. We start looking for septic tank repair places, and I pull up the closing contract and home warranty info- plumbing is covered! Yay! So as my hubby calls them and is put on hold, I read further... septic tanks are not covered unless the option was selected, which it was not (realtors did the policy)... So back to calling places. We finally reach a guy, but his truck has a flat and hes waiting on another guy to bring him a tire. He gave us the number for someone else, but that guy cant make it til tomorrow, so hubby calls the flat tire guy back. He says he can do it, but it will be late, like 4:30. YAY!!!
Septic guys get to the house, start poking the ground, then digging. They are nice guys, and noticing something isn't right- the size they determined by poking is to small, and their seemed to be no lid- just something kind of spongy/rotting... liquid everywhere, so they start pumping as they dig. It was the original to the house grease trap for the kitchen. Filled with yuck.
The lid was some sort of metal, but so rusted away that if anyone had stepped on the ground above it they would have fallen through. It was handmade of cinder blocks, bricks, and cement.
They started poking the ground some more, and finally found the septic tank, which was definitely full. And it made the grease trap smell like.. well, it still stunk but the septic was a lot worse- 'burn the hair out of your nose' worse. But instead of looking at a new septic tank install- which is what we were faced with before they realized the grease trap was a grease trap- we only got a $500.00 bill. so Yay! Showers all around! Flushing toilets! Laundry going! Dishwasher waiting its turn! Happy New Year Everyone! Appreciate the little things in life- like the little silver handle that is attached to the side of the commode!
And- in case you wondered- yes. muck tub + a little hay + a shovel... :)