Are You Ready to be Seriously Spooked?
If so, then read on for some of Byron’s best scary plumbing stories! They may not scare you, but they will certainly give you an idea of some of the crazy things plumbers go through!
Enjoy! And try not to worry that this could happen to YOU!
The Wild Water Heater Ride
One day, early in my plumbing career, I was removing a water heater from upstairs. It was an older wood house and the water heater would not drain. It was only 40 gallons, and I had moved those around just fine. They are heavy, but manageable. It was the short fat style that we call a lowboy water heater.
So I put it onto my dolly and wheeled it to the top of the stairs. I eased it down the first step, steadily and in control. For the first few steps it worked like I figured it would. What I did not factor into the equation was that I would not be able to keep the handle of the dolly low enough to maintain balance once I got far enough down the stairs. Once I figured this out, it was too late!
The water heater was flying down the stairs, the dolly still under it, and me holding on for dear life. When all the dust settled at the bottom of the stairwell, I was sitting on the floor staring at the water heater and trying to slow my heart rate. Thankfully all was well, I survived, and the house held up remarkably well. Ever since that time I have learned to drain a water heater even when it doesn’t want to cooperate!
The Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde of Dogs
When my customers have dogs I will often make friends with their dogs at the front door. One customer had a little white dog, it was uncertain about me for a bit, but as I was explaining to the customer about the plumbing issues and different ways of resolving them, I was petting the dog on the floor.
We had finally made friends, it was laying there while I scratched its stomach and explained plumbing options. When we had decided on a path forward we got up and I went to go out to the truck. As I was walking away, the dog proceeded to run up and bite me!
Even after all the friend making time we had just spent together!
After that any time I went to that customer’s house I would ask that her dog be put up while I was there.
Snakes & Bees & Rats OH MY!
I have a rule, never open a meter box in the ground using my bare hands. Well, one day I almost decided to break that rule. I needed to see inside the box and I would have had to go all the way back to the truck to get a tool to open it. I thought well, I can see through this small hole and from what I can see, there’s nothing in there. But I decided that I really should get the tool, because I just didnt want to open it with my hands.
When I did end up opening it with the tool, there staring back at me was a coral snake! One of Florida’s four poisonous snakes!
Another time I had the tool with me, but happened to notice a bee crawl into it. As I looked closer at the small opening I saw a bee hive inside! I politely told him I would need to have a bug guy remove the bees before I could proceed with the work.
There was a job I had one time where we were redoing the drains in the house because rats had chewed through the old pipes and were getting into the house. We installed the new drains under the floor and then poured the concrete back. When we returned to do what is called the trim out, where we set all the fixtures, I started to set the toilet.
We had crammed cardboard into the drain opening to cover the hole. The cardboard had gotten damp and so I was pulling it out. As I was pulling out some bits of remaining cardboard, it felt warm, I looked in my hand and I was holding two baby rats! Goes to show, you never know what you might experience as a plumber!