Blocked sink on a Christmas housesit. Far from ideal

Merry Christmas everyone.
Please I need some advice as I still feel fairly new to this. This is my sixth housesit, second month-long one.
How do you handle this gracefully? When things go wrong I mean.

Everything’s been great, I get on with the home owners and the kitty loves me. Unfortunately the kitchen sink has been draining really slowly for a few days now and looks like I’ve made it worse trying to fix the issue. I’ve tried two different kinds of professional unblocker formulas already, I also purchased a pipe and drain cleaning coil and tried to clean the p trap myself but looks like the issue is the main pipe and that’s outside my comfort zone. I haven’t told the house owners yet as I didn’t want to bother them with this right before Christmas but they are coming back in a few days to well a blocked sink essentially.

I am quite frustrated with this issue as I feel I am quite a sensible person and it’s not like I shoved anything in there but there we are the sink is blocked and I’ve been living here for 4 weeks now. Would you offer to pay for the plumber visit? Should I leave some money in the Welcome home/Thank you card?

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It really depends on if you think you actually caused the problem. It’s not uncommon for us to arrive at homes where just a few days into the sit such a problem occurs because there was already a good amount of solids in the pipe before we came. We also had a similar approach to handling the communication as you but nowadays as soon as something breaks or happens I like to send the HO a message, they can best advise you what to do and it just makes the rest of the sit less stressful.

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Hi there. If you are certain you did not cause the issue - why would you leave them money to fix it? . . . It may have been better to tell them sooner rather than later, though. You also may find that they come back and tell you the sink issue is an ongoing problem. Hope things resolve for you. :slight_smile:

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Tell them now. Explain that you already tried several solutions, but nothing works. Ask them what they’d like you to do.
It shows proactivity.

Chances are they will say, no worries leave it, we’ll deal with it when we get back.
Don’t offer money if you haven’t caused the problem.

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Best to tell them now that the problem is ongoing and tell them what you’ve already done to try and fix it. In future it would be better to tell them immediately before doing anything yourself- and let them suggest solutions. If you have not caused the problem do not leave money! In our current housesit the host bought drain cleaner before leaving as he said the kitchen drain often clogs up. We’ve already had to use it twice. Your hosts might also already be aware of the problem.

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As others have said, just tell them. These are common things that happen at some point in every home and part of being a home sitter is to communicate when problems arise.
There is no reason to feel anything. It just is.
Prompt notification gives the HO the opportunity to resolve the matter and you could have a nice free flowing drain for the remainder of your stay.

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Just tell them. What’s the worst that can happen?

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When we had a blocked drain recently I called a plumber - He told me to put a shop-bought drain cleaner down the sink ’ Mr Muscle sink and drain cleaner’ - I said I had already, following the instructions on the bottle’ Put down the drain, leave 5-8 mins then flush out’ - He said to ignore the instructions, put 2 bottles down and leave overnight before flushing. I did as he said and it worked a treat saving me the expense of a plumber call-out fee.

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@Colin this is great advice and always works for us :+1:t2:

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I really feel for you being in this situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if this issue is already something the owners are well aware of but may well have forgotten to mention it to you. I had a similar situation with a bathroom sink that wasn’t draining properly when I was on a sit a few months back and it made teeth brushing a bit tricky. Turns out the owners had already known about the sink issue and had been meaning to sort it. I As others have advised, I’d agree that it’s best to flag this up with the owners. You sound very conscientious and really have done your utmost to try and rectify this issue. I really hope you can unwind and enjoy the rest of your time on this sit and that it all gets resolved.

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Give them an update asap, inform them of what’s up, without apologizing, because it’s not your fault. In fact, in a way you went above and beyond although if I was the HO, I would have preferred to be informed before any action was taken. Sometimes store bought chemicals wouldn’t be the preference of action…

Why do you feel responsible? Find out, so next time you feel more secure in the situation. Things happen, it’s not your fault. If you take it on, you will make yourself unnecessarily miserable.

As a recovering people-pleaser, I empathize with how you feel and also know that getting free from feeling it’s your fault can change your life and free up a ton of energy for more creative pursuits! <3

Clogged drains take time to build up, unless something very dramatic happened!

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Lots of good advice - highly unlikely that you caused it.

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Welll its certainly not for the want of trying with the practical solutions available to you. In order to unblock the sink.
I would let the Home Owners know sooner than later, particularly now that Christmas Day has past.
It maybe that the Home Owner has an insurance policy that covers the cost of any work needed.
As a Home Owner in UK I have separate insurance for plumbing that covers all water & sceptic tank pipework problens. The Insurance Policy provider deploys their own plumbers to attend.

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Tell them now, you could save yourself a lot of angst! At a sit I did earlier this year, the clothes dryer door snapped when I tried opening it. I was beside myself, thinking I myself had broken it (well I guess I did in theory lol) So being quite the handywonan, I removed the entire door, researched parts on Google and ended up ordering an entire new dryer window and latch.
It arrived and I duly spent a day refitting it and reattaching to the dryer cabinet. Very proud of my efforts I was, despite being a bit down about what I paid to buy the parts.

So anyway, I told the homeowners what I had done so as to cover myself. First words? “Oh goodness, my mother in law gave me that dryer years ago and I’m surprised it lasted this long! Don’t worry about it! So good you could fix it but really wasn’t necessary! Please, let me know how much you paid and I’ll put the money straight into your bank account!”

Glad I replaced/fixed it but had I contacted them first, I needn’t have gone through any of the stress that I did as they already knew it had issues.

We can’t be responsible for everything that happens during a sit, some of these things have either already happened before or were due to happen anyway, it can unfortunately be all about timing. Tell them now :relaxed:

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If you caused the problem you should fix it. If you didn’t then simply explain what has happened.

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For future reference, do not put commercial chemicals down a drain unless you have cleared it with the homeowners and/or a plumber. If there is a septic system you could do untold harm.

I would suggest using a plunger first. If that doesn’t work, pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain, let it sit for ten minutes, then follow with very hot to boiling water and the plunger again, if necessary.

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