Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday - Sewage Pump & Harry Potter

We had been planning to take my niece to Kennywood on Sunday, but it was rainy enough all morning that we decided Kennywood was not a good idea. The rain prompted my brother to decide to start his drive back to GA after lunch on Sunday instead of Monday morning, so around 1 pm we said good-bye to him and my niece. In spite of the reason for their visit, it was very, very nice to have them here.

Yesterday, right as I finished my shower, our sewage pump alarm went off. Sigh. Huge grumble. Called the sewage pump guys. They are on speed dial. I'm not kidding.

The whole Sewage Pump Saga started last November. We were hearing strange gurglings in our pipes whenever a toilet was flushed or water run in the sinks. So we called a rooter person. The problem wasn't inside, it was outside. They said they had to dig up the yard to clear the main pipe. Then when they started digging, they hit something that turned out to be a sewage pump. It was not installed properly, the electrical box for it was buried (not up to legal code), the whole system was screwed up, heck the whole darn thing was buried (again, not to code) blah, blah HUGE mess HUGE stress.

We have a sewage pump because our house and pipes sit below street level. The sewage pump's function is to grind up waste & water and then shoot the waste, and all water we use, up to the main sewage line along the road. We sort of knew this when we moved in; we saw it listed on the disclosure form in the booklet we received when we looked at the house, but it's not on any of the closing paperwork. It's also considered outside the house, not inside, so neither the home warranty nor home insurance would cover repairing/replacing it. The previous owners had disconnected the alarm plus the alarm is in a spot in the garage where if you don't know to look for it, you won't see it. Why they disconnected it, we'll never know, but that was very, very bad. It caused things to get really bad instead of warning us at an earlier stage of badness. The home inspector, well he said he didn't know about it and it's not his 'area.' Grumble grumble.

In the end, 2 days before hosting 13 people for Thanksgiving, 5 months after closing, we spent $4,600 to get the problem resolved. And that was cheap - the first guy said it would cost us $8,000-$10,000.

Then it acted up again in February. Debris was again blocking the pump. That was another $230. Three days after that, the alarm went off again - the motor wasn't sitting quite level.

Oh, did I mention that when the alarm goes off, no water at all can be used? Yup. And if the power goes out, we cannot flush the toilet/use water because the pump motor won't work.

So all was fine until yesterday around noon, right as I finished my shower. Luckily, a sewage pump guy was here within an hour or so, cleaned out the debris, and all is well again. For now.

The rooter/sewage pump guy identified the debris clogging the pump and wrote it all out on the bill. We can tell from the debris that one of our guests flushed some stuff that shouldn't have been flushed. Sigh. This is frustrating as all our family & friends know about our sewage pump situation. We have repeatedly told people that only toilet paper can be flushed in a sewage pump system. We've even posted signs at the picnics we've hosted. No kleenex, no paper towels, no Clorox wipes, no baby wipes, no tampons, no pads - even if the product's packaging says flushable, it is not flushable in a sewage pump system. The pipe from pump up to the road is only about 3 inches in diameter - it is easily clogged.

So with the sewage pump once again operating and with a huge cloud of stress hovering over us, SP & I decided to run away and see a movie in the afternoon!!! We finally got to see the new Harry Potter movie. We sneaked some Starbucks coffee & treats into the theater and enjoyed 2+ hours of Hogwarts magic.

Then we went to Walmart (what a way to kill off any good mood) and bought some hair/lint/debris traps to help control what goes down all our drains. We are tired of paying $230+ every 4 months or so for the sewage pump.

Grrrr........

Did I mention the refrigerator started making a horrible about-to-die noise???!!!!

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