Plumbers and HVAC technicians see some crazy things on the job. When customers notice strange smells or noises, we’re called in to get to the bottom of things. This raises the question: “what’s the craziest situation you’ve ever encountered on the job?” On any given day, at any plumbing and HVAC company, you’re bound to hear a plumbing horror story or two around the water cooler. Below is a horrific tale told by one of our most experienced plumbers that unfolded in South Austin many years ago. Think you’ve seen worse? Be sure to let us know!
Call The Pied Piper
Years ago when I was working as an apprentice, I was called out to a job where the customer had a rodent problem. She explained that she had noticed rats climbing out of her toilet when she would use it — a horrific sight. My partner and I entered the bathroom, lifted the toilet seat, and sure enough! A sewer rat like Master Splinter appeared, frantically trying to climb out of the bowl and making hissing noises. He was covered in sewage, stood at 2 feet tall, and must have weighed 15 to 20 pounds! In a growling voice he said: “what you know is dangerous to your enemy, but what you think you know is dangerous to yourself!” Okay he didn’t really say that, but trust me, the look in his eye said as much. A showdown ensued and we managed to get the rat outside. Little did we know that he was the king of the rats. We pulled the toilet, ran a camera inspection and found a community of about 20 rats living in the customer’s main (no pizza-loving ninja turtles in sight). They had made quite the home for themselves and had chewed holes in the pipes. So now we have our villain(s), but any good plumbing horror story needs a hero.
After carefully considering what course of action to take, we ended up doing a tunnel at her house and replacing the line going from the toilet to the main. We also added a backwater valve in an effort to prevent the rats from returning and making their way back into the toilet. We were confident this added measure would keep them away for good. The backwater valve’s flap would allow water to exit the home, but then close before it could flow back. Thus ending the rats’ water sliding fun. We were happy to pull off such a big job and the customer was even happier to be rid of her rat infestation.
I found out some time later that the customer had sold the house. Despite no future rodent sightings on the property, she swore she could sometimes hear them when washing the dishes or taking a bath. Had they really returned? Or had she been driven to insanity by the glowing red eyes once staring back at her from the toilet bowl? To this day, no one knows for sure…
What’s the craziest situation you’ve encountered on the job? Does your best plumbing horror story stack up to ours? Be sure to let us know!
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