Thursday, April 17, 2008

Plumbing Problems

For the last 2 months, our water bill has been high. A lot higher than usual. I mentioned this to Mike and asked him if he could check if we had a leak. It took him a few days (details are not really his thing) but, he finally surveyed the scene and couldn't find anything. I am trying to lead my family in a greener direction and reduce our carbon footprint. So, inadvertently wasting water was driving me insane! I am a good Seattleite.

Well, yesterday the water meter reader left a nice little notice on our door informing us that we did, in fact, have a leak in an underground water pipe. So, I called a plumber. He came almost immediately, which was very nice. He was wearing overalls. Very plumber-like. He found the water meter and where the pipe connected to the house. Nice work. He was carrying a clipboard. So official.

After walking our property, which is almost an acre, he walked up to the porch with a grim face.
"Well ma'am, this leak is going to be hard to find. This (he takes his pen and begins dramatically jotting down a figure), is what it will cost an hour for me to find the leak. It's gonna take me an hour and half probably."

The figure? $235.00. Apparently too much money to say out loud. Mind you, this is just to FIND the leak, not to actually FIX it.

I asked, "So, how much to actually fix it once you find it?"

"Well. that depends. There could be a few leaks."

"OK," I respond, "How much just to replace the whole pipe?"

"Let me write up an estimate." Again, too expensive to articulate in words.

Ten minutes later he handed me the estimate of $4,325.20. I was absolutely livid. How can half a day of work cost four grand? I told him I would pass, but keep his card. I proceeded to call 5 other plumbers to get estimates. All of them charged $60.00 just to come look and wouldn't quote any rates over the phone. I am boycotting plumbers.

Seriously, how can a plumber charge $235.00 an hour, when a teacher with a graduate level degree makes less than half of that in Washington?

This weekend, Mike and I are going to arm ourselves with shovels and find the damn leak ourselves. I will read about how to fix a pipe on the internet and we will buy parts at Home Depot.

Wish us luck.


  1. OH jeez! Isn't home ownership SO rewarding!?! Let me know if you need help. I have a GREAT shovel and a KILLER work ethic! Sending you loving, leak-finding vibes! xoxo

  2. Amen on the boycott. Just to put in our sink fixtures was going to cost $600.00!

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  4. I am SO sorry, Jodie! Let us know if you need any help digging! I would be glad to send Jesse over!

  5. Wow...that is crazy, Jodie! Hope it's not as you think it is.

  6. Jodie, did you get a bid from Wallner Plumbing Co.? 425-481-3468
    My son Dan played sports with their boy and I've used them for a problem we had. They did a great job and the bid was realistic.
    You can use my name if you want.
    Good luck.
    Mary Diederichs

  7. Maybe I should give up on teaching and become a plumber!!


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