Plumbers have a demanding and often unpredictable job. Late night calls for busted pipes, flooded basements, and toilets clogged with strange objects are all part of the occupation. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that across the United States, over 385,000 men and women were employed as plumber, pipefitters, and steamfitters.
The Bureau expects this particular occupation to see a 21% increase by the year 2022.
Professional plumbers of all types have reported pulling strange items out of sewers, drains, and toilets.
Ten Weird Things Plumbers Have Found While on the Job
- Python: This would certainly give new meaning to the term “bathroom stop”.
- Civil War cannon shell: And to make the story more interesting, it was a LIVE shell!
- Alligator: Creatures in the sewer system is not just an urban legend!
- Squirrel: Apparently, a toilet looked like a good place to take a bath.
- Teeth: Plumbers say this is more of an issue than people realize.
- Pants: Specifically, a pair of orange pants from an Ohio inmate that had been flushed. Needless to say, the inmate’s prison term was extended.
- Light bulbs: Some things should just not be flushed.
- Underwear: 14 pair of men’s briefs, to be exact.
- Air-freshener: You know those plug-ins for the wall? They smell good in your bathroom, not in your pipes.
- Fat: 15 tons of lumpy, bumpy fat. It took a lot of manpower and a shovel to get rid of this discovery.
Think Before You Flush
We sometimes take our sewer systems for granted, and though the above stories are amusing, there are precautions we should take in order to make the pipes in our homes last a long time.
It may be tempting to flush anything that looks like it will fit. In reality, the plumbing in our homes is sensitive and not able to withstand everything that comes its way. You risk damage to your septic system when you try to dispose of certain items that were not meant to be flushed.
To help keep your household pipes and sewer system in working order, follow these tips:
- Do not flush baby wipes, paper towels, or napkins (none of these are biodegradable and will ruin your pipes or cause the system to become clogged).
- Although it seems like a convenient option, flushing sanitary products can wreak havoc on your pipes.
- Do not get rid of and unneeded prescription or over-the-counter medication via the toilet. Dispose of it safely. If you have specific questions, call a pharmacist for advice.
- Watch for any leaks or moisture around the base of the toilet. This could be a sign of a broken seal.
- Before calling a professional plumber, see if the problem has an easy fix. Sometimes, you can save money and time with a little research and sweat.
If, when you flush your toilet, the water flows slowly or does not flow at all, you may have a clog or blockage due to a foreign object. If the toilet slowly fills and does not flush, grab a plunger and see if the problem can be solved quickly.
Professional plumbers have certainly seen some weird things come out of pipes during their time on the job. Taking care of the plumbing system in your home will potentially save you time, money, and effort. Avoid issues and damage in the future by being very careful about what gets sent down those pipes. (And hold onto your teeth when you are in the bathroom. You never know when you could lose them.)