Dudes, we’ve had our fair share of basement plumbing issues throughout the last year. We made it through the first four years with barely issues and since this time last year we’ve probably had 5 back ups and spent bunches of money on fixing and cleaning out lines. We’re thankful that there is currently tile in the basement or the damage would have been much worse.
The most recent problem was a real mess. For the last month or two I had noticed that our secondary line had been backing up from time to time. I called the plumber when it started happening regularly and he suggested a line clean out. This is something that happens all the time when you have old houses, lines need to be cleared out almost yearly. Anyway, the snaker-dude paid us a visit and said we had a lot of rust in our pipes, cleaned out the line and was on his way.
I thought we were good. After a few weeks I noticed some mold growing on the drywall in the space near the pipe. I figured it was due to leftover dampness from the back-ups we had earlier that month. I quickly put together a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water. Within minutes that little bit of mold was gone and the problem seemed to be fixed. A few days later I notice more mold, so I did my little trick again and it was gone. Then the mold showed up again! I couldn’t figure out why this happening, and then it hits me. Like duh, Scoops! Could there be mold growing on the other side of the drywall? Just, duh. Sometimes knowing stuff about your house isn’t always naturally instinctive.
The next day I made plans to get the kids out of the house, I invested in a good mask and went to town on the basement wall with a sawzall and a prybar. It didn’t take me long to find a huge mess of mold and rotten drywall. Sorry if the photos might make you squeamish, mold makes me wanna barf. Luckily for me, my super hero mom instincts came into play and I became very brave, the mold didn’t bother me. I just needed that mold out of the house ASAP, for the good of our fam! I did what I had to do. I bagged up the moldy drywall immediately and removed all of areas that had been effected by the leak plus an extra 6″ to prevent further mold from growing. I drenched the whole place with bleach and within a few hours it was looking much cleaner.
Now, with part of the wall removed I could see that there was actually a small rusted out crack in the back of the pipe, and a slow leak within the wall had been occurring. The crack is actually where the original problem was stemming from – the backed up water I had seen months before was actually my leaky pipe, and not the lines needing to be snaked (although I’m sure that helped with the flow).
I’ve got this new great plumber in my back pocket, and he was able to come over and tell it to me straight. He told us that we had a few options, expensive ones and not so expensive ones. The first option was fixing the major problem and running a new line all the way up to our sink, the other was more of a stopgap solution replacing only the cracked corner piece. Since we are planning on doing a full basement renovation in the spring, the latter was the right choice for the time being. We most likely will be replacing plumbing in the spring, and it didn’t seem prudent to do the same job twice.
I’m pretty sure the mold didn’t help my recent cold, I’m still sniffling and it’s been nearly two weeks. That stuff is bad news and should be taken very seriously. I feel bad that I didn’t catch this problem sooner, but relieved that it is no longer in our house and we can move on. Old houses, man – they always be breaking.