Ever wonder what it’s like to be a plumber? A recent article from Mental Floss revealed 14 behind-the-scenes secrets of plumbers. This list gave us a few laughs, but we think they left off a few key items. We’re here to give you the full, undisclosed truth with five more behind-the-scenes secrets of plumbers. It gets weird, it gets dirty – and it gets real.
1. Cell phones aren’t the only weird things we find
Plumbers get called out for drain cleaning calls almost every single day. Under most circumstances, the homeowner has flushed sanitary items, paper towels, or something else fairly ordinary down the toilet, resulting in a nasty clog. But with so many drain cleaning calls, there’s bound to be a doozy every now and then.
Here are some of the weirder things our plumbers have found flushed down a toilet drain:
- Dentures. Imagine encountering a pair (or two) of pearly white chompers when performing a routine video camera inspection. While it’s reasonable to assume that someone accidentally knocked them in the loo and flushed them late one night, it’s no less of a shock to yourself face to face with someone else’s false teeth.
- Video game systems. Mario and Luigi aren’t just roaming the plumbing pipes of NYC. We’ve found Nintendo 3DS cartridges, Playstation controllers, and other video game accessories lodged in the drains of unsuspecting homeowners. How’d they get there? We can only imagine a troublesome toddler or an angry parent thought it was a good idea.
- Beer cans. Be it college kids, reckless teenagers, or adults with nothing better to do, beer cans have (and will continue to be) flushed down toilets. That doesn’t mean they make it very far, though. Your crumpled up beer cans will quickly reveal themselves when your plumbing gets backed up a few hours later.
- Live animals. Not only do we have to know a hell of a lot about plumbing, but we have to be animal tamers at times, too. Rattlesnakes, boa constrictors, cockroaches, and even, yes, a badger have been found in pipes over the years. And believe us – plumbers have seen a lot of crap, but we still get scared of snakes!
2. We have a language all our own
Ever tried to listen in on a conversation between two plumbers? If you haven’t, smart move. If you have, good luck.
Plumbers have a language all our own, full of funny terms that, to the novice listener, might sound inappropriate. But trust us – we’re just doing our job. Here are a few of our favorite misunderstood plumbing terms:
- Nipple. If you overhear your plumber saying this word, it’s no cause for concern. The nipple is a piece of pipe that helps connect two larger pipes together.
- Cockhole cover. Hey now, get your mind out of the gutter! These devices are snap-on bits of metal that cover unused openings (like for a second faucet or a soap dispenser) in your sink.
- Ballcock. If you’re having toilet repair done, you’ll probably hear this one thrown around. The ballcock (or fill valve) is what controls the amount of water that enters your tank.
- Sweating the pipe. What the heck are we talking about in there? This phrase means soldering two pipes together to make them leak-proof.
3. We’re full of random facts and funny stories
Plumbers meet dozens of people each day. Some customers are, well, different. From the angry, to the flirty, to the downright weird, we have encountered all varieties of people. We’ve also dealt with a lot of strange situations (remember the boa constrictor from before?) and we’ll gladly share an anecdote or two with you.
We also learn a lot of random factoids from our customers. If you ever have the time to chit-chat with your plumber, just know that we’re listening. Some of our favorite customers are the ones who take the time to share a funny joke or story and make us laugh.
4. We’re part of a 5,000 year-old profession
Plumbing has come a long way since its birth over 5,000 years ago. However, standardized plumbing began in the Indus River Valley in approximately 3,000 B.C. (did I mention that we know all sorts of random stuff?)
While it was nowhere near as sophisticated as modern plumbing, humans were able to find a way to transport water for daily baths. They even had toilets with primitive drains that led out to the streets. It all had to start somewhere, right?
5. At the end of the day, we’re just like you
Plumbers need to wind down at the end of our workday, whether that is by cracking open a beer, watching our favorite TV show, or spending time with family. Plumbers have good days – and bad days, too. Next time you are tempted to take your frustrations out on your plumber, remember that we’re there to do a good job and to help you. A smile and patience goes a long way!