Quick Response to Late Night Call Saves Homeowner $10,000

Nevada contractor rescues prized heirloom from bathroom drain

Quick Response to Late Night Call Saves Homeowner $10,000

The team at Ira Hansen & Sons Plumbing.

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Ira Hansen & Sons Plumbing & Heating in Sparks, Nevada, is a 24/7 operation. Some of those after-hours calls can be unusual, says owner Ira Hansen. One stands out in particular — a woman said she might have accidentally washed a gold chain down the bathroom drain. Her tears quickly revealed this wasn’t any old piece of jewelry. This one happened to be valued at about $10,000.

“As I recall, it was a family heirloom,” Hansen says. “I think she got it through her grandmother. So not only was there a financial value to it, but there was a family value to it as well.”

Above and Beyond

“We went out there, and the first thing we did was try to figure out which sink it might have been,” Hansen says. “We pulled the trap off and shined a light down the drainpipe. It was actually in a second-story bathroom, and we could see nothing.”

At that point, the odds of finding jewelry that had been washed down the drain weren’t good, Hansen says, noting once you hit the sewer the larger volumes from all the other piping kicks in and everything gets washed down to the city main.

“We were pretty skeptical that we were going to be able to find it, but my guys gave it a good-faith effort,” he says of sons, Jacob and Daniel. “My guys could’ve said, ‘Look, you’re out of luck, lady. It’s down the drain; it’s in the sewer system. Sorry. Sayonara.’ But they went above and beyond the call of duty, in my opinion, and just kept aggressively pursuing it.”

They went underneath the house, figured out which vertical drainline dropped into the crawl space, and pulled off the first clean-out. Shining a light, they did their best to locate the chain. Although a camera would have been helpful, they feared it might push the jewelry farther down the line.

Crawling along, they found another clean-out closer to where the sewer leaves the building, pulled the cap off, shined a light in, and there was the gold chain sitting within reach. With the help of a coat hanger, Daniel was able to fish out the chain.

Quick Response Pays Off

“She was absolutely delighted, thanked us profusely, and said she’d recommend our company to everybody,” Hansen says. “I think she kind of thought it was a lost cause to begin with, so when we were able to successfully retrieve it, it made her that much happier and more surprised.”

The timely response turned out to be beneficial since the house had all-smooth ABS piping. One or two flushes of the toilet and it’s unlikely the chain would have been found.

“It was probably one of our happiest, most satisfied customers of all time,” Hansen says. “It’s kind of rare when we do a service call and save somebody $10,000.”

What are some of the out-of-the-ordinary, after-hours calls your company has dealt with, and what were the results? Comment below.


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