Down The Drain, In A Good Way

Surprise! The projects have begun, a little earlier than expected.

I was supposed to be a passenger on a road trip this week. All I was gonna do was sit. But over the weekend, I realized I really shouldn’t. It’s too early to be traveling, with the recovery and all. So I planned to plan.

Then I figured with DH gone for some days, it would be a good time to have one project addressed, one which he has been mentioning for quite some time. So I did some research, and made a call, et voila!

The problem: mysterious, infrequent basement drain issues; sour smells; dried splashes at the drain but no actual backing up.  The background: We had one incident years ago with a backup. The plumber then used a camera to lodge the thing loose, because a look-see was cheaper than snaking (believe it or not!). He showed us that there was a “bend” in the sewer line on our side of the public line, and said we might get clogged up from time to time. He also said there were roots in the line and eventually we would have to have it addressed. Yes, there is a silver maple tree above the sewer line, and, well, their roots are known to aggressively invade sewer drains.

I had already started research, and planned to sometime this spring have a company come out to snake, and, if necessary, have trenchless replacement. Given our experience with other major systems in this house, I was prepared to face the worst case scenario. But last week the odors were pretty invasive, and permeated the whole house, so I had a guy come out today. Y’know, since I wasn’t going anywhere exciting after all.

I don’t know where I first heard of this company, but I did find Major Drain online, and liked what I saw. I remember that whomever mentioned them really liked their service. The office staff understood my issue and could talk intelligently about it, and the services they could provide, depending on what results they got each step of the way. They even quoted prices over the phone. Their web site states $130 + tax for drain cleaning (“cabling” they called it on the phone). Since I knew I wouldn’t be doing anything other than having DS#2 move boxes and clean up Nerf bullets in the basement, it was good timing.

Actually, I braced myself for the worst case scenario: cabling, then hydro-jetting the roots away, then Oblitaroot foaming root deterrent to prevent more roots, about $575. And I braced for the hard sell of sewer line replacement later in the year.

Well, that didn’t hold water.

One of the owners, Shawn, was here himself. He said if he got any root, we’d talk about what to do next, but that he didn’t want to have to do and charge more than what was needed. Wow! Awesome. He was quick and professional, and told me it was just buildup (sparing you details), no roots. Not one little piece of root. Wow, again. The work is guaranteed 2 months, which is nice, and he said if we start to get the same symptoms, he’ll use the camera and go from there.

$139 (with taxes) for a clear drain. No roots. No replacement. Fears allayed. At 25% of what I expected I would have to dish out, this was well worth it.

When I asked how often this buildup should be cleared, Shawn said only when we have a problem. I’ll bet a lot of other repairmen would have suggested every year or two. I liked that Shawn was honest, and tried to ease my angst, not play off it. Maybe I could have had the line cleared for less. But I wasn’t sure that was all I needed. I liked knowing what it all might cost me, depending on the situation. And maybe another company would not have been as professional and up-front with everything. Major Drain made me feel valued as a customer.

One project down! I am still making my list.

Meanwhile, leaking brakes in our ’98 beater that DS#2 drives, not good. Those are being addressed right now and will be about $900. Safety issues don’t get delayed.

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Home Repairs: The Contractors

I promised to tell you about the contractors I used on recent home projects.  It’s been a revolving door of workers here at Chez CT, and more will be here before summer.

Our siding replacement was done by Done Right Home Improvements.  I have a neighbor in commercial construction who stopped by and admired the work.  That’s huge. I still wish it had been scheduled for later in May, instead of late March, but it was actually a blessing to have the distraction during a week when something else was happening.  The siding project kept my mind off the other issue (totally out of my control, but major) most of the time.  I’ve already recommended Done Right to a neighbor who asked who did the work.  Reasonable cost.  Super nice contractor (Jared) who went above and beyond to fix a nagging issue.

The painting of the new siding was done by Omaha Painting Company.  Beautiful.  Awesome price. Done in one day.  Troy and his on-site guys were really easy to work with.

The mudjacking of the front steps was done by Mixan Mudjacking out of Springfield.  I would have gone with the (very intriguing) high-tech product of the other “basementy” guys, but they have a minimum dollar job cost to do the work, and I needed one thing done, not several projects.  (A for effort on the upsell, though.)  The Mixan mudjacking process was so cool to watch!  It didn’t make a mess, and it took about an hour.  The Mixan guys were fun and informative, too.  Next time I’ll have them do the filling of the gaps that remain after the jacking, because my arthritis was not kind.  (Look for a post on that fun project soon.)

And there were the mice.  I think we’ve finally addressed the mice.  Brad at Advanced Pest Management is awesome.  Has been since the day I called him in tears about the flying ants infesting my bathroom.  The mice are not so awesome.  Disgusting, actually.  We’ve found a few areas where they were likely coming in, nesting, and dying.  Last week I cleaned them up (Shop Vac has been properly disinfected), caulked, Great Stuff-ed, sealed, etc.  And tonight we set the traps, because every once in a while we find another one.  Anyway, Brad comes out twice a year and we see very few bugs, usually when it’s time for another spraying.

USA Hoich Irrigation got our sprinklers started, and this year there were only two broken sprinkler heads.  The guy came right on time, and was done in an hour, repairs, startup and all.  Only thing is, someone has to be here because the controller is in the garage.  Still, the timing worked out great, and we’re set for summer.

So there you go.  Lisa’s List.  HA!  I’m having a chimney cleaner come out soon, and I think there will be repairs involved.  We’ve used one company a few times, so we’ll see how it goes again.

Just a reminder: get your AC check up before it gets too hot outside.  I’m setting up that appointment, too.