harry belafonte, calypso
pizza moda

big blue plumbing berkeley

I don’t enjoy posting nasty screeds when companies screw up … I just can’t let things slide. But it’s nice when I can say something positive, especially when it’s regarding a very negative situation.

We had some weird plumbing stuff going on for a bit, and it finally came to a head in the middle of last week. By Tuesday, if you ran water in the bathroom sink, it came up in the shower, and made the basement toilet and shower gurgle. We tried various combinations of drain cleaner and snakes, to no avail, other than making the standing water in the shower smell like Liquid Plumber.

Friday, we called in a plumber, Paul from Big Blue Plumbing. He checked everything out, made suggestions for what needed to be done, and showed us how much the work would cost. I have no idea if the prices were high or low or in-between … you don’t do a lot of comparison shopping when you’re afraid to flush your toilet. It seemed fair enough, let’s put it that way. And it was very clear. He doesn’t charge by the hour, he charges by the job, and he carefully explains what each job entails and how/why it will cost what it does. Friday afternoon, he had a guy taking care of the job.

Unfortunately, fixing the original problem only made the fundamental problem more obvious: we needed to replace around 17 feet of sewer pipe. They came out today, worked until late afternoon, and all is well. Almost … the inspector will come out Monday, and until then, they can’t cover up the trench they dug, so we’ve got several containers full of semi-stinky mud lying around. But I took a shower just a bit ago, and I can use the toilet again (thanks to the Homemade Café for having a nice bathroom when we ate there this morning).

The workers were all great, personable and hard-working. Paul is a delightful fellow who is dedicated to getting the job done right. When there was a problem today, he rode over on his bike (he lives nearby) with his dog, and got himself all dirty helping finish the job. They do immaculate cleanup work; the shower, for instance, looks cleaner now than it did a week ago before this all started. Everyone from Paul on down exudes trust. Even the woman who answers the phone is wonderful. When I called to make an appointment, she answered in a very cheerful voice, saying it was a happy day … it was so silly yet so honest my own day got more happy immediately.

Paul made some suggestions for a few other jobs that are, if not necessary, at least good ideas. We agree, and we’ll have him do that work, as well. But again, he was always very clear about what was necessary and what was not, and each job along the way was priced so we could see where our money was going.

Only time will tell how the job works out, but as I was standing in the shower this evening, I knew we’d already done well.

So consider this a recommendation to check out Big Blue Plumbing if you are in Alameda County. And color me impressed.

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