So, I Had A Crappy Weekend (In The Most Literal Sense)

I know some of you are showing up here to day excited to see my newly sanded and whitewashed studio floor. If that’s the case, you will be disappointed, because I didn’t make any progress at all on the floor. For some reason, it didn’t even dawn on me to call early (Thursday or Friday) to reserve the drum sander and edge sander. I just woke up Saturday morning and called the rental place (the ONLY rental place in town that I’ve found that has drum sanders), and they said that they were all rented out for the weekend.

Of course they were. So I found something else to work on all day Saturday.

But this isn’t a post about that project. This is a post about the hellish 24 hours that began Saturday night as I was getting ready to go to bed. As I was heading to the bedroom, I made a pit stop in the hallway bathroom. My pretty, newly-redecorated hallway bathroom.

colorful small bathroom makeover - 10

And as I flushed the toilet, water started pouring out on the floor from around the base of the toilet.

I grabbed a towel and mopped up the water, assuming that the wax ring had failed and that I’d need to remove the toilet in the morning and replace the wax ring.

Ugh. Such a pain, and definitely not how I had planned to spend any of my time on Sunday. At least it wasn’t a super difficult project. But because I hate setting toilets myself, I asked my brother if he could help me. (Toilets are heavy, and my aim is never great, and I often end up ruining the first wax ring and having to scrape it off and try again.)

He was planning on coming over anyway, so I figured we could get that simple job done quickly, and then move on to other things. But I also figured I could make things go faster if I had everything ready to go so that when he got here, all we’d have to do is just pick the toilet up, set it in place, and bolt it down.

So I headed to Home Depot for a new wax ring. But standing there in the plumbing aisle, I noticed all of these other products that claimed to replace wax rings. These products are so enticing with their promises.

No mess! So much easier to use! Will last years and years and years! Better than wax rings! Guaranteed for 10 years!

One in particular caught my eye (a bright green ring made of a spongy material), so I looked it up on my phone, and it had amazing reviews. People raved about it, saying they’d never go back to wax rings after the ease of using this product, so I went with it.

I headed home with my new “better than a wax ring” green ring, and decided to go ahead and drain the water from the toilet, remove the toilet, scrape off the old wax ring (so gross!), and put the new green ring in place. I was excited about the prospect of never having to use one of those nasty wax things again.

So I got all of that done, and was ready for my brother’s help. I decided to read the directions for the green ring to make sure I had it on there right (it’s pretty self-explanatory, but I still wanted to double check), so I was standing in the music room while reading the directions.

Then I started hearing a sound. A strange gurgling sound. It took me a couple of seconds to realize it was coming from the bathroom, and when I turned the corner to look in the bathroom, I saw this steady flow of waste water, crap (literal crap) and toilet paper erupting from the open toilet drain hole in the floor.

I started screaming, “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!!!!

I was freaking out, as this eruption of sewage started completely covering my bathroom floor and heading towards the hallway.

Matt was lying in bed, and he started yelling, “What’s going on?!”

I couldn’t think. I was like a deer in the headlights, and it took me a couple of second to wrap my head around the fact that THIS WAS REALLY HAPPENING! This toilet drain pipe was literally erupting into my bathroom like a crap volcano. I finally realized that the cause of this eruption was the washer, which is just on the other side of the bathroom wall in the sunroom. That whole time, I had been doing a load of laundry, and as the washer started draining, it forced all of the mess up into the bathroom.

I turned the washer off, grabbed every towel I could find, and ran back to stop the flow, but I was too late. The crap stream had already breached the doorway and was flowing out into the hallway. But at least the eruption had stopped, so I started throwing down towels as fast as I could.

For the next 40 or so minutes, I was just in “get it done” mode as I soaked up all of that nastiness with a huge pile of towels. Thank goodness my mom had given me two garbage bags filled with old towels and rags to use on my projects (for wood staining and stuff), because I went through our towels pretty quickly and had to tear open those bags and use every single one of them as well.

By the time I got most of the mess cleaned up, I was exhausted and furious. And then the tears started flowing. I sat down and bawled my eyes out for a good 10 minutes until my brother walked through the door.

He walked in and saw me sitting there crying, and I’m sure he was more than a little confused. This had all just happened, so he didn’t know about it. As far as he knew, we were just going to set a toilet. Easy peasy. So through my tears and cracking voice, I told him what happened, and he jumped into action. He headed into the bathroom to continue the clean up, and after about 30 minutes, things were looking up. And he was making me laugh, so that helped also.

After all the mess was cleaned up, we tried to set the toilet, but the green ring ended up not working. It was too thick, making the toilet sit about 1/4-inch off of the floor. And unlike a wax ring, which you can squish down with enough force, this green foam ring just couldn’t be squished down enough.

So we removed the toilet again, and I headed back to Home Depot again.

As I was driving to Home Depot, I started thinking about all that had transpired, and it just didn’t seem right to me. Even with the toilet removed, it just didn’t seem right that the washer draining into the pipe would have caused a crap geyser in the bathroom unless there was a bigger problem and I had a blockage in the pipe. Because without a blockage, it would have naturally drained down rather than be forced up.

But I tried to put that out of my mind and convince myself that I just don’t understand plumbing, and that possibly the force of water rushing out of the washer was indeed enough force it up into the bathroom with the toilet removed.

When I got home with the new wax ring, my brother was in the kitchen washing some dishes. I told him about my concern, and we stood there and talked for a few minutes, but we both convinced ourselves that there could possibly be enough force from the draining water to force it up into the bathroom. So after fixing some tea and chatting a bit more, we headed to the bathroom to set the toilet with the real wax ring.

But when I rounded the corner into the hallway, my heart sank. Not only was my fear of a larger issue confirmed, but we saw that while I was gone, there had been yet another eruption, and once again, the floor was covered with waste water, crap, and toilet paper. It wasn’t as bad and the first time, but it had run out into the hallway and all the way to the bedroom doors.

Y’all, I wanted to give up. For the second time in one day, I had literal crap flowing over the floors of my bathroom and hallway. I was so mad. Frustrated. FURIOUS.

So we went into action once again. The only towels left in the whole house were the wet ones that were sitting in the washer — the very load of laundry that set off this series of events in the first place. So I got the wet towels out of the washer and we started mopping up crap water again.

This second eruption had been caused by my brother emptying a bucket of water into the kitchen sink. With the main drain line clogged, as I had suspected on my drive to Home Depot, there was nowhere for it to go except up into the hallway bathroom.

So, worst case scenario was confirmed. I had a major plumbing issue on my hands (ha! literally!). But it was Sunday evening. Have you ever tried to reach a plumber on a Sunday evening?

I looked online for emergency plumbing services. I knew it would cost a small fortune, but I had no choice. At this point, we had no usable toilet in our house, and we couldn’t run water because it would just cause another eruption.

I found that Mr. Rooter offers 24-hour emergency service, so I called. Here’s how my conversation with the woman went.

Her: Thank you for calling Mr. Rooter. How can I help you?

Me: Yes, I have a plumbing emergency and need someone here ASAP. I know it’ll cost more since it’s Sunday. Can you tell me what that after-hours fee is?

Her: Yes, that’s going to be $199. That’s the diagnostic fee for a Sunday, plus any charge for the actual work they have to do.

Me: Okay, great. How do I go about scheduling that?

Her: Well, I have to get your credit card info and go ahead and charge you for the $199 before I can dispatch someone to your house.

Me: Okay, that’s fine. And how soon can someone get here?

Her: I don’t have that information.

Me: (Slight pause; a bit confused.) Ooookay, but they’ll be here today, right?

Her: I can’t guarantee that.

Me: (Longer pause; more confusion.) You can’t guarantee that they’ll actually be here today? But you want my credit card number?

Her: Ummm…hold on just one second. (Puts me on hold.)

Her: (After a couple of minutes on hold). Yes, ma’am. I have to get your credit card info and charge you the $199 diagnostic fee before I can dispatch someone to your house.

Me: Okay, I understand that. And that’s fine. But will someone actually be here TODAY?

Her: I can’t guarantee that.

Me: So you’re going to charge my credit card for a service that you can’t even guarantee I’ll get? You know what? FORGET IT. I’ll find someone else!

Y’all, never in my life have I missed old, corded landline phones so much. Do you remember that pure satisfaction you could get from slamming down the phone on an annoying person? I needed that so badly at that moment, and cell phones just don’t give you that satisfaction.

I was SO MAD at that point. Not only had I experienced two literal crap geysers in my home in one day, but then I had to deal with that nonsense. I mean, what the heck kind of business charges your credit card for an emergency service and then won’t even guarantee that you’ll get the emergency service you’ve paid for?!

So I started calling other plumbers — ALL of the plumbers — in hopes that one would have pity on me and call me back.

After no success, I finally called Mike, my trusty go-to contractor, thinking that he might know someone who could come. Long story short, he did find someone, and that plumber arrived around 8:00pm. It took about an hour-and-a-half, and he snaked the drain probably six times. He never did find the actual cause of the problem, but at least by the time he left at 9:30, everything seemed to be flowing properly again.

He did say that he thinks I have some sort of larger problem, like misaligned pipes that can be caused by houses settling and shifting, and we have had a LOT of rain lately, so that wouldn’t surprise me. But for now, everything is working. I’ll deal with my misaligned pipes later, and pray for no more geysers in the meantime. (FYI, all of our old, original clay and galvanized pipes were replaced with PVC and PEX about a year after we bought the house, so I know the issue doesn’t have anything to do with old, original pipes.)

Anyway, big shout out to LJ Plumbing, y’all. He came to my rescue, and was unbelievably nice and wonderful to work with. And most shocking of all, it cost me $326. For an hour-and-a-half of very frustrating work. On a Sunday evening. Let’s just say that LJ plumbing now has a customer for life, and if you’re in the area and looking for a plumber, please look them up and give them a call.

And today, my bathroom and hallway are going to get the deepest cleaning they’ve ever gotten. And when I’m done, I’ll probably be calling a restoration service to check the moisture levels in the subfloor. If any of that nastiness soaked into the subfloor in the bathroom or hallway, I might be looking at a very unexpected hallway and/or bathroom redo in the near future. But fingers crossed that my bathroom tile grout and hallway polyurethane did their jobs, and a very thorough deep cleaning of the surfaces will suffice.



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  1. I feel for you; I really do. While I have never had a poo volcano in my bathroom, I did have a main drain that had collapsed and caused a backup into my basement (luckily unfinished). I had to have the old pipe dug up and replaced about 5 years ago. Total cost was $3,000, but I haven’t had an issue since then, so it was money well spent. You may run into a similar issue due to the age of your house. They used clay or ceramic pipes back then, which can crack and collapse over time. My house was built in the 50’s, and the guy who replaced the pipe told me that this issue is pretty common in houses built during that time period. I recommend you find someone who can used a fiber optic camera to check out your underground pipes.

    1. We had all of our clay and galvanized pipes replaced with PVC and PEX about a year after we moved in, so thankfully we’re not looking at a big problem like that. But I do think I’ll have him come back and put the camera down the line to see exactly what the problem is. I’ll gladly pay to avoid having this happen again.

      1. Kristi, we had a minor version of your issue, but mine was sewage bubbling up into a downstairs shower. With marble tile, not porcelain, mind you.). It actually happened twice.

        When we had this, in our city, we call a particular rooter company, and they clean and scope the line. If it is from our house to the cleanout in the yard, it’s our nickle, If it is between the cleanout and the sewer line in the street, the city pays. For us, in a newly built house, the problem was in the city line, so they came and replaced the sewer lateral from our cleanout to the main street sewer line.

        It is absolutely the right think to do to get the entire line scoped to see where the problem lies. In our experience, these things don’t just go away on their own, especially if your plumber didn’t find any particular blockage.

      2. Kristi there is only one way to prevent something like this: Drain your washer into the yard. If you’re on a septic system, it will significantly extend the life of your drainfield. On the other hand, an off grade house will also prevent it since anything erupting will drain thru the hole around the waste pipe and onto the ground under the house. We’re not going to discuss how I know about that! BTW, the Terminix man hates to crawl under our house! If you’re on slab & city sewer, you get screwed! I do fail to see how the new drain pipes can be misaligned unless the installer failed to get a joint together. That’s why we have blue and purple PVC glue! When PVC first came out, the glue was colorless. Guess why they added color to it! Anyway, check with your Homeowners Insurance once you’ve got everything cleaned up and repaired. This may be covered, especially if a joint went unglued. Good Luck and pick up some more towels at a thrift shop!

        1. For anyone considering this, be sure to check the gray water laws in your state or municipality.

      3. Oh Kristi your poor girl. My heart goes out to you. You certainly did have a crap day. In future I hope your days will be filled with bouquets and sunshine. You are a real inspiration. What a Woman. Keep your chin up. Sending hugs. xx

  2. Oh no! I’m so sorry! That really sounds quite awful! Fingers crossed that everything stayed dry.

    On another note, we rescued a dog over the weekend. 🙂 Our 4th rescued pup, although 2 have passed on, so we just have 2 at home. She’s so sweet, but definitely needs some more time to adjust.

    1. That is so terrible. I can’t imagine this happening, I would just want to sell my house right then!
      What about the backwater valves, doesn’t anyone use those? They prevent water/sewage from coming backwards into the house.

  3. Wow, sounds like my experience last week with my newly remodeled house and newly installed floor and plumbing disaster. It would be helpful to know what type of service line you have. Here in AZ we have clay due to vintage of house and there are several bellies, which usually means cracks so the whole service line is being dug up and replaced. The more dire issue is the cast iron under the house. That can be lined and hopefully it’s not that. I would invest the money to have the service line camera’d so you are not guessing or waiting for the next shoe to drop.

    1. Oh no, what a disaster! I’m so very sorry to hear what happened. My heart goes out to you having to deal with this horrible mess! I think it was an omen that you couldn’t rent the sander, it would have been wasted $$’s sitting there unused while you dealt with the crap eruptions. Fingers crossed there is no damage to the sub flooring and the extra duty clean will fix it all. I think you need some ‘blogger fans hugs’ Kristi. Sending positive thoughts your way.

    2. Just love those clay pipes…NOT. At least your pipes were on your property. Bethany Home & the 51 Freeway is now a commercial building, 20 years ago it was my residence. SO confused, if I ran 3 loads through the washer in quick succession I got MAJOR water back-up. If I waited thirty minutes between loads, no problem. Finally called a plumber with a camera and found the pipe was collapsed. Common sense would say that the “sewer outfall” would be on the street (Bethany Home). Nope, the main sewer line is at the REAR of the property…but it’s not on my land. Turns out that MY line runs under that big sound barrier Freeway wall and connects somewhere on land owned by either the State of Arizona OR the City of Phoenix. (Oh yeah, I got an education in “who owns what”.) When the Freeway was built it required the demolition of many homes…but “they” neglected to move the main sewer lines (what could possibly go wrong?). After MANY phone calls, and letters, and begging, I just gave up and learned to live with it. Jeesh!

  4. I not only feel for you, I identify with you! I have had the same thing happen at my house, and it resulted in having to have restoration services in, replacing flooring and more chaos than I care to recall. Best of luck to you.

  5. Bless you, that is horrible! I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. Terrible things that need experts always seem to happen outside of regular business hours, don’t they?! And old houses have a whole ‘nother level of frustrating expenses. All you can do is let time make it a funny story ….. someday.

  6. What a miserable weekend! So sorry to read this. Keeping my fingers crossed that there isn’t a bigger issue there.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear of all this crap! I was looking forward to a glimpse of your floors – what a pity that you had to deal with this issue instead! the only upside is that you didn’t manage to rent the sander, start on the floor project and would have had to interrupt that for the emergency. I know, a weak consolation, but still… I hope you and Matt are ok and you manage to get through all these washloads without anything new happening!!

  8. We had the same problem in our house for years, built 1985. I think I have had that bawling moment surrounded by excrement probably 10 times but it comes up in both our bathrooms at the same time. So gross. We snaked the drain each time thinking it was a root problem because the first time we removed a huge ball of twisted roots from a ficus right outside the bathroom. But it persisted even after we removed the tree. We are on a septic system so we also thought it might be a full system and so we dug it up to check before we called to have it pumped. But the problem was with the pipe that was directly at the end of the house that drains into the septic system, the trap as my husband is now telling me. Instead of the thousands of dollars it would cost to dig up all the interior lines to find the issue, my husband just replaced the pipe at the edge of the house with a larger PVC. So his time and just the cost of the new pipes and equipment was all it took. And the router rental cost each time it overflowed. We considered just buying one. LOL

    As a side, our piano teacher had the exact same problem and she had her house dug up to find the issue and it was also the pipe at the edge of the home. She is on city septic. Her cost was $5,000. And it was just the one pipe at the edge of the house and they didn’t do it right and so she still had the problem, they came back and replaced that end trap pipe and the problem is fixed. So maybe check that first.

  9. Oh you really had a Craptastrophy, so sorry. Truly crosses all of a persons coping nerves. Hope you get a much needed break soon. On another note, a bit of gratitude from me…. you inspired me to get some major projects done. If you ever have to redo fireplace, bricks check out http://www.brick-anew Amazing product, results, easy and still fire safe. Your git’r dun attitude got ME going. Thanks.

  10. Doesn’t it figure that if something is gonna happen, it happens on a Sunday! The most costliest day for repairs!!! Boo to the Mr. Rooter people! What a crappy way to run their business (pun intended). I’m praying that after you have the camera run down the line that it’s a quick and easy fix! So sorry that you had to go through all of that!

  11. I am sending you good thoughts! The tears of frustration are the worst for me! And then I get mad at myself for being such a “girl”.
    You continue to amaze me with all that you do and the grace you have while doing it.

    1. Danielle, tears of frustration are God’s way of preventing mass murder by women because we are alot stronger than men to start with and mass murder is the next step on the ladder for women unless a pressure valve is set off. Ours are in our eyes!

  12. Thank you, LJ Plumbing. Hopefully, Mr. Rooter will hear of your post and, hopefully, learn a lesson many contractors need to learn.

  13. Kristi – so sorry for all the house drama over the weekend. I can sympathize because I have had all kinds of plumbing eruptions over the many years in the different houses and every type of flooding too. I SOOOO empathize with sitting in the middle of the floor in tears. Thank the good Lord for LJ Plumbing, brothers with skills AND a sense of humor and handy dandy “washeteria” down the street so you can do 1,000 lbs of soaking wet, stinky towels within 1.5 hours in XXXL size washers and fast dryers, right? Plus, now aren’t you glad you DIDN’T rent those tools? What added expense on top of it all. Good luck and godspeed Kristi.

  14. I have experienced plumbing issues in the past and highly recommend a camera inspection. Also, I am one of those people who try to look for the bright spot out a horrible situation. Bright side – 1. your brother being there to help and 2. finding a plumber to come out at 8:30 p.m. on a Sunday evening.

    Sending good thoughts your way for a blessed and productive week!

  15. I am so sorry to read this! We had a custom built house. 1 year after moving in we had a backup in our basement. We had purchased a rider on our homeowners insurance for water damage. So our bill was covered. Our problem was that the sewer pipe ran under our concrete front porch and the weight if the porch crushed the PVC pipe. Plumbing has si many connections and twists that the problem could be anywhere. BTW I would have bawled too!
    Sheila F.

  16. Oh Kristi, that was truly a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! After cleaning today, I hope you take time to sit, relax and enjoy a movie or two or three. You need a restorative break. ((Hugs))

  17. We had a similar issue. It turns out our main had separated. Consider submitting all of this to insurance. We were surprised at the cost of repairing the damage (floor, baseboard, drywall).

  18. Kristi, LJ Plumbing is who I use. They are so dependable. They installed my on-demand water heater. They are the best!

    1. I do believe you have the greatest brother in the world. I gotta love that man 🤗. To clean poo not once, but twice and get you laughing. He’s one of a kind. Sorry for your crappy weekend but grateful your brother was there for you.

  19. EWWWWWWWWWWWWW! That is super gross and I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. Thank God you have MIke for consultation and knows all the right craftsmen to help out in an emergency. I’m praying that it’s something you can get to the bottom (no pun intended) of and not have to deal with ever again.

  20. This happened to me once when some neighborhood children found the sewer trap in the front yard, with a broken cap, and they threw a stick down it. All the sewage from the street started backing up into my powder room, exactly how you described. Wading in sh*t up to my ankles. These are the times when you ponder having your toilet in a separate building from your house.

    1. I had to laugh at the last part of your comment. My dad (now in his 70s) always talked about how his grandpa couldn’t understand why anyone would want a toilet in their home. lol That’s what outhouses were for. lol

  21. At least it wasn’t a holiday weekend. I don’t know why emergencies, including pet with problems, always show up on the weekend, usually at night and often on 3 day weekends. Hope the diagnosis and permanent fix happen quickly.

  22. I’m so sorry for your terrible weekend. I do have to admit that I giggled a little when I read “easy peasy.” I hope today is simply upward and forward.

  23. Hi Kristie
    Oh God, my heart goes out to you. Your beautiful floors. I did have something similar although not as messy. I had a new washing machine installed and the drain hose wasn’t properly pushed down the drain pipe. ANYWAY, what I wanted to say was I used a wet/dry shop vac to clean up all the water. Even with all the crap in the water if it stunk up the vac it’s not that expensive to replace. Sorry for your crappy weekend.

  24. OMG! I am so sorry. It never fails, Murphy’s law!! Thank goodness for brothers, plumbers who show up to help!! Hope there’s no lasting damage!

  25. So sorry to hear this! What a mess. Be careful because sewage water can really make you sick if not cleaned up properly. Also, coming from an insurance agent here, call your homeowners agent and add Service Line coverage to your home policy. Very inexpensive and could come in handy with future plumbing problems.

  26. I would have been sick to thing of my beautiful floors, etc. being ruined.

    I am on about 1/3 acre of land in city limits. I didn’t know that the city sewer system was on my back corner of property for the area around my neighborhood. I just kept calling a plumber to fix my issues. My neighbor called the City and they came and ran their hoses in the sewer (tree roots, etc.). So before you spend too much money make sure the city doesn’t have sewer back of your property or your neighbors. They will come out and snake it for you.

  27. Oh gahhhh, I feel for you! We’ve had it to come up in our tub when our septic tank was full but never run out into the floor. Ughhhh. Glad you got it fixed and hope it never happens again!

  28. Eek, what a terrible thing to happen. I can’t even imagine!

    My mom has told me that when I was a newborn, shortly after we moved into a new house, our septic system backed up and sewage was coming out of all the drain lines in the toilets, bathtubs, sinks, etc. Unfortunately, we had extended family staying with us, including my two very proper (ie snobby) great aunts. Mom says she changed my diaper with Sprite that day! Guess I was a sticky baby for a little while. And my great aunts have rented hotels every time they visited us for the past 30 years 🙂

    I hope it does not happen again and whatever the problem is, is an easy fix!

  29. OMG…SO SORRY that all of that happened.!! I too had a experience somewhat similar. Ours was bubbling up through the drains. Got it unclogged once by Roto Rooter. It happened again not to long after that. I had two different plumbers come out and they suggested cutting a hole through our newly installed floor.. needless to say we found another company who was able to re-install the pipe that had come loose. He had to work his way through our crawl space to do this. He said good thing it clogged because otherwise it would of continued to drain to a spot where NO ONE would go to clean it out..!!
    Sure hope you don’t have any more problems…!!!

  30. Like you needed this crap (pun intended)….you work so hard I’m sorry you had to deal with this!

  31. I’m sooooooo sorry to hear this. That must have been an absolute frustrating nightmare. I grew up on a septic tank in an old house which was craptastically traumatizing. I was also babysitting my sisters kids when a tree root gone wild with their pipes reared it’s ugly head. So gross, so frustrating and for what?! Ugh!
    I hope you have a better week.

  32. A separate comment about your Mr. Rooter experience.

    This company should certainly be a licensed plumbing contractor. You can go onto the site for the Texas state contractor’s licensing board and lodge a complaint. I do not think they are acting in a manner consistent with any state guidelines for prepayment. Or you can call them and find out.

    Likewise, I am not sure that what they are doing is in keeping with their agreement with Visa as a vendor, but that would not necessarily be a call worth making.

    Lastly, lots of people read Yelp reviews. You should most certainly leave a great review for your good plumber, but should consider leaving a comment on Mr. Rooter’s Yelp page as well. I would personally do the latter after checking out the state contractor’s license board.

    Lastly, about the woman who was answering calls for Mr. Rooter. I think it is unlikely that she is the owner. I think it is more likely that she is just someone who is working for a living and perhaps not the best target for your fury regarding their booking and pay policies. You might consider contacting Mr. Rooter again and asking to talk to the actual owner. From what I read, Mr. Rooter is a franchise and each is independently owned. You also may want to contact the company headquarters and lodge a complaint about your experience.

    Lastly, you might want to contact your homeowner’s insurance company to find out if any of the moisture testing or remediation might be covered – or not – by your particular policy.

    Good luck with all these suggestions for how you should spend your time! I bet you’d rather be installing wood flooring on your hands and knees than doing this.

  33. It seems we all have a plumbing disaster story to tell. They are unforgettable. Our toilet was backing up suddenly with two kids and excess toilet paper. We were blaming the kids. On the day of a graduation party in our yard I went in the basement and the floor was covered with poop. Our poop but we were expecting a big crowd and I didn’t want their poop! I called a plumber who cleared it and stayed for a sandwich. We ended up finding a wooden stake in our line from the building of our house when the basement was flushed by the workers. Our landscaping was removed and a big hole dug under our house to find the problem. Our builder paid the expensive bill. I’m so sorry this happened to you!

  34. You poor love!!! What a crap (literally) weekend you had, but it’s all taken care of now so (here comes the Tai Chi teacher) breathe deeply several times and give thanks for all the love and support you have that got you through this! Including all of us, of course (your readers)!

  35. That is terrible, but more common that you might think. My husband and I own a septic business and provide clean out services, I can say all the advice you are getting to have your line scoped is correct. Some of the most common culprits we see here are roots infiltrating the line from the house to the street, broken lines or my husbands pet peeve flushable wipes. PSA, flushable wipes may flush, but they do not break down and clog lines. If it was roots or wipes usually pieces will come back when the snake/rooter is wound back in helping identify the issue, that leads me to think it is the pipe itself broken, shifted etc. Hope you get a scope and simple answers. If it is a case where lines need to be replaced check with your city on who is responsible. Here the resident is responsible out to the property line, but I did see some comments that indicate a city paying behind the property line. Chin up it will get better.

    1. Bobbi, just wondering if you might happen to know the answer to the following question: is there a way to water-proof septic tank systems? We ended up replacing our leach-bed system with a “modern” aerobic septic system when we had our own poop volcano (a tropical storm dumped about 10 inches of rain over short period of time, ground was saturated and effluent had no where to go but up (out of my walk-in shower and out of the clean-out valve outside). The aerobic system sprays treated water out on the lawn and therefore requires no leech bed, which is great. Problem is that every time we get a big rain, the water percolates into the septic tanks and fills them up. If the electricity goes out (which happens a lot during a storm), then the pump cannot spray out the water from the tanks, leaving us again vulnerable to a back-up into the house. If the septic tanks were waterproof and would not allow water from the surrounding ground to get into them, then the problem would be completely solved (would take a long time going without electricity to overflow the tanks from just what gets dumped in there from the house alone). No one seems to ever talk about this problem, so I wonder if I’m the only one with leaky septic tanks?

  36. HOLY CRAP!!! Literally the same thing happened at my parents house. Poo and toilet paper and probably the Easter bunny all came up and out through their basement toilet and shower. I told my mom to burn down the basement 😂 Their problem was caused by the sewer pipe going to the street leveling out over time (like 30 years). So if it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone. And you’re more mature than I am for not contemplating burning down your bathroom like I did 😊

  37. Talk to your plumber to be sure, but it could be on the city’s end also. we had a similar issue but it actually instead of coming up into our toilet was going under our house. occasionally we were getting a whiff of a sewage smell. after a few times we called a plumber out to look at it and once he went under the house he said that when the new plumbing was installed an old sewage pip had not been disconnected and so that is what we did. however, what was causing the smell/issue was actually some neighbor letting all kinds of stuff into the drains and then it clogged the city line.
    I also know one other person this has happened to and yep it was on the city side!

  38. LJ, by coincidence, happens to be the name of Rocky’s plumber friend on “The Rockford Files.” Nice guy, too. He found the cause of a jammed garbage disposal. It was a bullet. That aside, my total sympathy. Our house was built in 1939 with cast iron pipes. They started to collapse or clog just as we moved in 19 years ago. One incident was bad enough to warrant an insurance claim, which they reluctantly paid. The remediation guy and the plumber hated each other. The insurance company recommended that I get a new plumber. Only then did the project start moving forward. It took a month to straighten everything out. I’ve had backups and broken pipes, but luckily no sewer backup. The neighbor had one of those.

  39. OH No!

    Your brother is truly a gem. Cleaning crap and making you laugh.

    We had a cast iron sewer crack on one side of the house here and a busted cleanout closer to the final line close to the trap before the city connection.

    Cracked line was found and fixed and we could have have stopped there, but I, knowing the extra cost per foot, asked them to continue digging to the next connection on that side. Just had that feeling….
    The cast iron pipes had slipped apart in our clay soil. Saved us a fortune redigging.

    For the busted cleanout, we had noticed slugs in the bathroom near the cleanout multiple times. EWWWWWW. They were entering through the sewer and crawling up the tub drain.

    Something you aren’t told by the sewer plumbers:
    Expect bugs for the next couple of years where the digging occured.
    We have ants, not termites and the lovely loose soil attracts them.
    Telling your bug people means than can treat after the dirt is filled and prevent some of that.

  40. Kristie, don’t forget to leave a proper YELP review for LJ and the Mr. Rooter. Both deserve the appropriate reviews according to their actions!

  41. OH CRAP! You had a nightmare of a weekend! By the title of your post I was afraid you had a case of “the trots”!!!! Thank God that wasn’t the case with your messed up plumbing, huh? Have to laugh to keep from crying, girl. Although I would have been in tears too, probably sooner than you were. Can’t imagine how many towels are in a garbage bag; hope they go back in the bag for the trash! Wishing you all the luck in the world with the camera results, that the problem has been fixed and that the flooring won’t need replacing!

  42. I’m so sorry! I’ve been in those predicaments where EVERYTHING seemed to be going wrong and I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and let someone else deal with it. I hope it is fixed for good and your subfloor (and floors) are okay.

  43. Oh noooo!!!!! SO VERY sorry for you Kristi, how dreadful! Thank God for those you had around you to support you through such a nasty experience.

  44. o.m.g. I’ve had an almost identical experience, although we used a slightly different word to precede the word “volcano”. We lived near Weatherford, TX and we had gotten a crap-ton of rain (similar to what’s going on now). The water completely inundated our septic system — are you also on a septic system? If so, my guess is that that the ground is so saturated that the water/stuff in the pipes literally have no place else to go but “up”. Right before going into the house, the pipe has this cleanout(?) valve that exposes the pipe to the outside. Making sure that the lid is only loosely sitting on the pipe so that the water has a place to go other than inside the house is the thing to do when storm after storm rages in that part of the country. Better to have a poop river outside than a volcano inside! You have my deepest sympathies for this awful situation (as if the softball sized hail, straight-line winds, twisters aren’t enough, eh? Yeah, I’ve been watching the radar all day today … hope you get a chance to dry out soon.)

  45. That weekend…oh, no! Oh, crap! Amen it didn’t stay crappy! (Pun intended)

    And Amen for those LJ plumbing guys coming to help you in a pinch, for such a good price. That is so good you got it fixed.

    Good came out of a rather crappy situation, Indeed.
    (‘Scuse the pun. 😉)

  46. We are renovating a 1938 bungalow that belonged to my parents in law. My husband knew that sewage had in the past backed up into one of the bathtubs. First thing we did after taking possession was have a new sewer lateral run from the house to the street. Second thing we did was have a new water line run to the house. Since then, we’ve been replacing interior plumbing. Hoping to avoid a crap geyser (though my husband is a civil engineer whose expertise is wastewater treatment). Sorry you had to go through that.

    1. Kristi,
      I wanted you to check your dryer coil and clean out the wall vent behind dryer. This happened to me recently and plumber could find nothing wrong. My dryer right next to problem toilet. Complete blockage in the wall vent and water in the coil! The dryer was steaming my clothes dryer after multiple cycles. Thought of this at 2:20am this morning! Didn’t want you & Matt to be in danger or animals! In Christ’s Love

    2. Bless your heart! You have a great brother! I feel bad because I looked for your blog to ask if I can tint pinkish paint to a more rusty color.

  47. Kristi,
    I wanted you to check your dryer coil and clean out the wall vent behind dryer. This happened to me recently and plumber could find nothing wrong. My dryer right next to problem toilet. Complete blockage in the wall vent and water in the coil! The dryer was steaming my clothes dryer after multiple cycles. Thought of this at 2:20am this morning! Didn’t want you & Matt to be in danger or animals! In Christ’s Love

  48. I am so sorry this happened to you. What a nightmare. Thank God for family and hero plumbers : ) I really hope the rest of your week is great!

  49. When you say you had your old clay pipes replaced, do you mean that the clay sewer pipe was replaced all the way from the house to where it ties-in to the sewer main? Or was is just replaced under the house, or just to a point in the yard? (I’m a civil engineer and help my clients with clay sewer issues.) A few things come to mind if the plumber wasn’t able to find a definitive cause. If the pipe was replace all the way from the house to the sewer main, and if the sewer main is still (very likely) clay, the sewer could be filled with storm/ground water from all the rain, so when you have sewage flowing from your house the line is already full so it causes a backup into your house. If your sewer service line was only partially replaced, and some clay service line is still between your house and the main, then you could have a root problem or a section of collapsed pipe (and the snake may not have reached that far). Do you have a sewer cleanout (it’s be an access pipe probably along the right-of-way in front of your house)? If an overflow happens again, take the lid off that cleanout – then sewage will run in your yard and not your house. Also, it may be worth calling the City utilities department and let them know sewer is backing up – hopefully they will come investigate the sewer main in front of your house and can confirm whether or not there’s an issue there. If there is, you’ll continue to have a problem until they fix it. Best of luck figuring it out and fingers crossed for no more backups!

  50. I’m sure Matt would have sprung for new towels, Kristi. You didn’t have to go to all of that trouble to justify buying new towels! Seriously though, if Mr. Rooter could not guarantee getting you a plumber on a Sunday night after charging you the Sunday night plumber rate, they should have offered to give a refund on that emergency rate if they were unsuccessful. You still might have called around to other plumbers but at least it would not have been blatant robbery. I mean, come on, what they offered was ridiculous.

  51. I sure hope the that the reason you haven’t posted in two days isn’t because of additional crap (pun intended) Sorry. Sometimes one has add humor for relief – not that I think any of this is funny. I’m pretty sure I would be &^%@!% – I really don’t know how I would feel I just can’t imagine any of it! Praying for you Kristi.

  52. Kristi,
    Check your house insurance. I know people who had a similar problem, had to have people pump out beneath the flooring. I suggested they contact their insurance and low and behold they paid for the clean-up. You may have deductible, but if you are looking at the misaligned pipes, this may be able to help with the costs.
    Best of luck.

  53. So sorry to hear about your horrible adventure. On the plus side, you can buy yourself some new towels!

  54. Right after we moved into our house (ages ago), if we showered and did a load of laundry at the same time, water came from under out toilet. We had a cracked pipe right outside our house where it drains to the street. We had it fixed and it solved the problem.