Renters Should Call Landlords for Plumbing Problems
The Problem Sink!
Question for Renters
Your kitchen sink clogs. What do you do?
There was a period of about a month last year when my kitchen sink wasn’t draining properly. It wasn’t totally clogged. It just drained super slowly. Because of this, I decided not to call the landlord right away. I figured that it was something that I could fix myself. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. After a month of trying, the sink did get completely clogged and I realized that I should have called the landlord in the first place. Hopefully you will learn from my lesson.
But it’s just a little clog
The reason that I didn’t think I needed to call the landlord out to deal with this problem was because I was not dealing with a huge clog. It seemed silly to call the landlord for such a ridiculous thing, especially since she lives outside of the city rather than in the city. I like to be independent. And frankly, I like my landlord to leave me alone as much as possible so I try to leave her alone as much as possible.
What is a little clog?
By “a little blog”, I mean that the clog wasn’t actually preventing water from draining down the sink. It was just swirling slowly before it drained. It would back up sometimes if I was doing dishes because of the amount of hard water that was coming out at once. But it always did drain. Usually in a relatively short period of time (within about fifteen minutes of turning off the water).
Drano almost worked
I am a huge fan of Drano and have used it on tons of sinks over the years so that was my go-to item. I went to the store, got the drain cleaner, came home, read the directions in case there was something about using it that I didn’t remember. And I thought it worked. For a few days, it seemed like the sink was draining properly again. Yay. Unfortunately, it then started to slowly clog again.
Household drain cleaners
At this point I decided to start trying those various household remedies that you can find all over the Internet to help clear clogged drains and take care of just about everything else in the house. For example, I tried the option of naturally unclogging the drain using vinegar and baking soda. Didn’t work. In fact, it made the problem worse. So for some reason I decided to try it again. And it made it even worse.
Now there’s a big clog
After trying my household remedies that didn’t work, the problem got considerably worse. Now there was still water sitting in the sink that wouldn’t drain at all. So of course this is when I called the landlord, right? After all, I am a renter and this isn’t my problem. Nope, I am a stubborn girl sometimes. I think I can do it myself. And with the help of my sister I decided to take apart the pipes underneath the sink to clean them out. That’s when I discovered a huge chunk of baking soda just sitting in the U-shaped part of the pipe. It didn’t occur to me that there must be some reason it just got stuck there other than being dirty. So I diligently cleaned the pipes and tried to put them back together.
Okay, I’ll call the landlord
It was when the pipes wouldn’t go back together that I realized there was an actual serious problem with this plumbing. The pipes weren’t fitting right. And that is when I looked really closely at the situation and saw the real problem. There was damage to the pipe. It was partially stripped so the two pipe parts weren’t fitting together correctly. Someone before me (perhaps another dumb renter who didn’t want to call the landlord?) had jimmy rigged the pipe together but it was bent and twisted and just not right. That’s why things were getting stuck. The pipes weren’t actually connected properly but weren’t leaking either so things were just getting stuck. Including my baking soda that otherwise might have clogged a drain with vinegar when used properly.
So, yes, at this point, I called the landlord. And let me tell you that it was a huge ordeal. She sent out a plumber who had to come out multiple times and he told me about many, many different things that were completely wrong with the plumbing in my house. For one thing, the water pressure at the street is actually wrong and that’s causing tons of plumbing problems in my apartment. And of course there were the problems with the specific pipes that were not correct underneath the sink. Oh, and there was actually a serious problem far down in the drain that really required that it be snaked, something I could not have done myself even if I had tried. Not to mention that there are some other unrelated plumbing problems in the wall that I am told may cause me plumbing problems in the future. The problem cost my landlord a lot of money, took the plumber a lot of time and probably wasn’t even fixed properly for long-term use.
The moral of the story
The point here is that when it comes to plumbing problems, if you are a renter, you should usually just call the landlord. Sure, you can use a plunger on your own toilet and you can try the baking soda in the drain thing when it clogs but don’t even bother with long-term clogs and taking apart pipes. It’s not your job. You pay the rent for the landlord to deal with these things! And I’m certain that if I had really messed something up in my own attempts, my landlord would have been even less happy about the situation!!