Friend was more helpful than plumber

Recently, as temperatures plummeted, many of us in the area were experiencing problems with our plumbing.

Recently, as temperatures plummeted, many of us in the area were experiencing problems with our plumbing.

I live outside of Red Deer in the small community of Benalto. I have a manufactured home and came out of it with a frozen sewer line in our guest washroom.

I called a plumbing company in Red Deer and told them that I had water moving from my tub, toilet and vanity sink, but there was no drainage. I suspected that it was frozen in the three-inch pipe that runs outside, under the unit.

I work out of town every day and I get home late. I was not able to deal with this myself.

I called the plumbing company and gave them the diagnostics over the phone. A lady on the other end said it sounded like it was a blockage in the toilet.

I had run a 10-foot snake down there myself after work and found no such blockage; yet, she was sure that was the problem.

When the plumber did show up a day late, I was working and my wife was home. We were charged $50 for travel from Red Deer to Benalto, 30 km, give or take. OK, no problem.

The plumber came in, ran a longer snake in and told me over the phone that he was going to have to take the toilet off the flange to do this, which now puts us into another price category — instead of the modest $80 per hour rate. Now we have about a half inch of water all over the floor.

The plumber doesn’t find a blockage and tells me it was a line to the street and that the job could run up to $1,200.

He crawled under my unit and found out that it was indeed frozen, but he couldn’t do anything about it because he did not have the right equipment to do that job. He was willing to come back the next day for another $50 travel charge. I told him not to bother, so he left my wife with a bill for $429.

My problem, however, had not changed. There was a big mess in my washroom and it was still frozen.

I called a friend of mine, who has a steamer, and asked him to come over. In about an hour and a half my problem was solved. I also put heat tape on the line.

I got a really great deal from my friend for a fraction of the plumber’s cost.

In the future, I will ask around before I let any professional screw me over like this.

I was right. We were frozen up and I could have saved myself all that money, but I had no time available to do this myself.

In the end, I had to take the time.

Just because tradesmen are professionals does not necessarily make them your best option.

I think this way of doing business is disgraceful. The plumber took my money and did nothing at all, except leave a big sloppy mess for my wife and I to clean up.

The friend, with his steamer, got the job done quickly. He had done six such sewers in the previous week and did not hose anyone in the process.

Ken Somers

Benalto

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

hay
Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read