Last week we had to tap into our emergency fund for a $5,000+ repair. It all started when we noticed that our toilet was gurgling and bubbling water as we ran the washing machine. I shot a video of it and contacted my friend who is a plumber. He replied back right away saying that our sewer main line was starting to back up and this could become an emergency pretty quickly. He was unable to come check out our problem because he was recovering from an injury - and recommended we have someone come over ASAP.
We did a quick search for plumbers on Yelp and called one of the higher rated companies to come inspect our main sewer line. This seemed like a pretty straightforward job at first – we thought we would just need to have a plumber snake through tree roots blocking the drainage of the pipe. We didn’t expect to pay more than $100 to $200.
When the plumbers put a camera into the pipe, they discovered that we had extensive blockage from big tree roots that couldn’t be removed with a snaking device. The plumbers then had to dig into our lawn to replace a section of pipe damaged by tree roots. They proceeded to dig a huge 5 feet wide by 5 feet deep hole into our lawn. Our quoted price now jumped up to $1,000.
Once the hole was dug to access the main sewer line, the plumbers discovered that our main sewer line had a 20+ foot crack on the top of the pipe! Suddenly the repair plan became much more complex. Instead of replacing a small section of pipe, the plumbers needed to replace 25 feet worth of piping. Our price now jumped up to $5,182.
The plumbers did excellent work on our repair, spending almost 2 complete days on the project. They also came back for follow up inspection a few days later to make sure there were no issues with our sewer line. We tipped them $120 for their quality work and our expenses totaled $5,302 for the repair. Ouch.
I’m thankful that we have a healthy emergency fund to cover major expenses like this. Most Americans don't have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. I’m a bit bummed spending that much money all at once, but it was an absolutely necessary repair. I’m glad we had the problem diagnosed and fixed early before things got out of hand. In the grand scheme of things, $5,000 is not a lot of money. We should have our emergency fund replenished in a couple of months. And now our main sewer line has a 25-year warranty, so we won’t have to worry about any sewer line issues for a while.
It’s time to get back to saving and investing for our future!