A plumbing story to rival Steve’s

Probably nothing can top a faceful of raw sewage, but I’ve had my own plumbing disaster today that I think may be on par with Steve’s adventures in septic systems.

This afternoon I was sitting on the couch in my living room, playing with my cat, when all of a sudden we heard this loud BOOM! and the ominous sound of running water.

At first, I was completely disoriented by the sound, thinking that something had hit the roof, but the sound of running water led me to check the laundry room and the main floor bathroom.  Nothing there, but it sounded like the sound was coming from downstairs.  

So first I checked the downstairs bathroom.  All fine in there.  Nothing left but the utility room, where the furnace, water heater, and water softener are located.  

As I approached the door to the utility room, it felt a bit like a horror movie, albeit a horror movie that happens around 12 noon on a sunny day in a finished, well-lit basement.  So not a typical horror movie, I grant you, but ominous nonetheless.

I opened the door and turned on the light and was greeted by the terrifying and surreal sight of a geyser of water shooting up from my water softener and then dripping down from the ceiling.

My water softener exploded.  It literally exploded.  It was like Old Faithful in my utility room.

So, being the mechanically inept person that I am, I approached the gushing water softener to see if there was some kind of shut-off valve or something.  But I couldn’t find anything, or at least nothing that I recognized as something that would serve my purpose.  All I got for my pains was sopping wet.  Then I finally had the bright idea to go turn off the water valve to the whole house, which I thought was good thinking on my part, but when I found it, (a) I couldn’t move it and (b) I didn’t know which way to turn it (In retrospect, I do vaguely remember someone telling me at my home inspection which way to turn the valve to turn the water off, but in the panic of the moment it had completely slipped my mind.)

So I called the plumbers that I usually use and told them that I had a plumbing emergency, and they told me that they were booked up for the day and couldn’t send anyone until after 5:00, which I understood that people get busy, but… :facepalm: ! So I asked if they could at least get me on the phone to somebody who could tell me which way to turn the valve to turn the water off–which, thankfully, they were able to do.  Also, they got someone here at 2:30 rather than 5:00, so I’m grateful for that as well.

When the plumber actually got here, I told him what happened as succinctly and accurately as possible: “My water softener exploded.”  He seemed a bit skeptical, but I didn’t mind it because I knew he would soon see it for himself.  And when he did see it, he said, “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

I’m just glad it wasn’t the water heater.  I NEED a water heater; I don’t NEED to replace the water softener.

Remind me why I thought it was a good idea to buy a house again?

2 thoughts on “A plumbing story to rival Steve’s

  1. #1: I’m thankful you were not hurt, because this is a disaster, a catastrophe, as they say in the puppet series The Furchester Hotel. You not knowing Uncle Furgus, were stuck. # 2; For plumbing I always remember righty tighty, lefty loosie. which is often used for firefighter training. #3: I had a case where the leak in my mom’s house was not discovered for days, as it was empty after she died. A pipe has burst open and my male neighbor discovered it, but did not turn off the water. 2 feet of water later, and all things floating I faced a plumbing bill of $6,000 dollars. No sludge in the face, is a good thing.


    • I did think of righty-tighty, lefty-loosey while I was initially trying to turn it off, but I since I couldn’t budge it at all, I wasn’t sure whether to turn it right or left or maybe even pull it down.

      And yes, it’s a good thing I didn’t happen to be in the room at the time, or I might not be able to laugh about it now. It was fairly catastrophic, but things still could have been a lot worse.

      And thank you, by the way. 🙂


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