Back in July, shortly after we moved in, we bought a brand-new clothes washer. The drain pipe for the washer turned out to be nose-high on me, so I had to buy a special hose to connect the two.
That was my first inkling that the plumbing in this house wasn't what it ought to be.....
Then we had the leak under the tub in the master bath and the washer drain began backing up and spraying water all over the laundry room (note the proximity of the electrical outlet!). So for the first time in my life, I called the plumber... Down-on-his-luck Gary Sinise, but his real name is Chris.
Well, the drain for the washer is acting up again, so "Gary" was back to re-snake the warranted drain. He went downstairs to the workshop where the cleanout was and saw a large rat. He wanted no part of THAT, so he went up on the roof to snake it from the vent. This is what came out:
We're not sure exactly what that was. My husband wondered if it was a drowned rat. "Gary" thought maybe some roots. Looks a bit like plastic twine to me.
After the re-snaking was done, "Gary" ran a test load of laundry, and the drain was STILL backing up. He gathered up his nerve and revisited the workshop downstairs, where he found this:
The dirt floor was wet... and the reason was that the cast iron pipe had a crack in it. Tomorrow, "Gary" is returning to remove that bit of pipe and re-run the drain from the floor to the rest of the plumbing for the washer. To the tune of about $500.
In retrospect, I'm GLAD I don't own this house yet! The landlord can pay for these repairs and write them off on his taxes. My husband asked if the whole house needed to be replumbed, and the terrifying answer was probably yes. All the drain pipes are cast iron and contrary to popular belief, they don't last forever. In fact, as they age, they all kind of wear out at the same time, so the fact that we have now had THREE pipe failures in the 5 months that we've lived here isn't all that odd. In fact, we can probably look forward to more.