As a general contractor I see and hear many horror stories about home repair, new construction, home remodeling and home maintenance. We all know and hear about people that are out there for the fast buck in any business. On the other side of the story I will say that there is still a lot of people that want and try very hard to do a good job.

Let me tell you about one of my latest stories. I was called out to one location where water had backed up into the basement of a house. This house had a finished basement and this is where the homeowners had their bedroom. So when the woman of the house got up in the morning she stood up in a couple inches of water, she even told me that she saw small waves as she walked down the hallway to the bathroom. I was called because of a couple reasons, one: I had done work in the past for them and they had already called a rotor-router company and still had a clogged drain. When I got there a company was there and had already begun drying out the carpet, removing the flooring. I had taken a small hand held snake thinking I may find the clogged tile, after getting informed about what went on I did try to unplug the clog but found that it was not going to work with the small hand held snake I had brought.

Knowing this a different plumbing contractor was called and within an hour he showed up we gave him as much information we could and he decided to run his snake down the same location I had tried. He had a really nice power snake with a 4″ cutting blade on the end, after a couple tries he found that he could not get any farther down the tile then I had gotten, about 5′. He then decided to put on a smaller cutting blade, after trying the smaller cutting blade he found the same clog about 5′ down the tile from where we had removed the downspout to gain access into the tile. After a couple tries with the smaller cutting blade it seemed to grab into something and started down the tile, within the next foot all of a sudden there was bubbles coming out of the water and the ground. The plumber looked at me and said he had hit and cut the gas line coming to the house. I thought how this is possible, but we still had gas leaking. So the homeowner contacted the gas company and with-in 30 minutes the gas company was there. By this time gas had went back into the sewer line and was filling the house with natural gas, I could smell the gas outside and through-out the house. The person from the gas company went through out the house with a tester and found that the house had filled with about 60% gas. Not long time after this 3 different fire trucks were at the location and we were asked to stand across the street. Wow!! Going from cleaning a plugged drain to watching a house explode was really not what I had in my mind. I never could understand why they just didn’t shut of the gas at the street, I guess it was because they didn’t want the dirty water going down the gas line. So the gas company dug up the broken gas line, did the repair and off they went. Ok, back to the plugged drain, we did a little more digging and found where the tile had been broken when the gas company installed the gas line to this house a couple years before. And also found where they hit it a 2nd time and did not get fixed, this is where it had broken down over time. The spot where the gas company hit the tile the second time was what cause the water to back up into the basement because it had been raining a lot. I fixed the broken tile and this took care of the water problem that had happened in the basement.

That is about the shortest way I can tell this story. I have left out a lot of small details that saved the homeowners house. There was times we did not know if we should leave the lights on or shut them off. Everybody stayed calm and did what had to be done when it was time to do it. What is important in this story, that we had a big problem ( gas in the air, water in the basement) and we tried to work it out as fast as possible. Some people get lost when any danger is “hanging in the air”. That is why it is very important to have a right general contractor helping you and conducting the situation

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