If you’re the owner of an engagement ring, your heart will probably stop when you hear what happened to California bride-to-be Carissa a few weeks back. Long story short (the full story is here if you’re interested), she flushed her engagement ring down the toilet. It can happen to anyone – a simple slip of the hand or a forgetful second or two is all it takes. It’s easy to panic in that kind of situation, but here’s what you should do if it happens to you…
Firstly… DON’T PANIC!
Do your best to remain calm. If you realise what happened straight away, your ring won’t have had time to travel very far away – it’s probably still stuck in the U-bend of your sink. If you realise within a few minutes, all hope isn’t lost either – but we’ll get to that. And the chances of you not realising what happened for several hours are very slim – unless you couldn’t care less about your ring, in which you probably won’t be all that devastated to find out that it’s missing anyway.
Secondly… TURN OFF THE WATER.
This is what stops your ring from moving further down the drain. Water picks it up and carries it away, so water is the enemy. Turn off the taps and don’t flush the toilet, and if you’re really worried, turn off your water supply completely at the source until further notice. Make sure anyone else in your home knows not to use the sinks or toilet while you’re executing your recovery operation.
And thirdly, GET THE RING BACK.
There are 3 strategies that plumbers recommend.
The first method is the simplest, assuming your ring fell down a sink and not a toilet, and usually has a very good success rate. Stop the taps and grab a bucket (you may also need a wrench). Get down underneath the sink and unscrew the plug at the bottom of the U-bend, placing the bucket underneath. A lot of unsavoury dark gloop will plop into the bucket, but your ring should be buried within it somewhere – we recommend donning some rubber gloves before you fish it out. If your sink doesn’t have a screw plug, you’ll need the wrench to take off the whole curved section of the pipe (it’s not as difficult as it sounds). Dump out the gloopy contents into your bucket and go ring-hunting!
This method can be attempted for both sinks and toilets. It’s a little more simplistic than the U-bend method, and has less of a success rate, but anything is worth a try when you’re engagement ring is about to go into the sewer, right? So, get a wire clothes-hanger and unbend it, or grab any other long thin piece of wire. If you happen to have a strong magnet and a way to attach it to the wire, even better. Then it’s time to go engagement ring fishing! Take it slowly and carefully – you don’t want to push your ring further down the drain. If you don’t know how far the ring has gone, it’s best to call a plumber to try this – they’ll have special telescopic and magnetic equipment so they can see where they’re poking.
Method 3 is a long shot, but it’s been known to work. This one is just for sinks, but let’s face it – you’re much more likely to drop your ring down a sink than a toilet. Firstly, you’ll need to make sure your sink and drain is completely empty of water. Then – stick with us – get your vacuum cleaner and place the nozzle into the plug hole. Keep a firm grip, use the highest suction possible, and let it work for a while. If your ring hasn’t gone too far down it should make its way back up eventually, or at least back to the U-bend so you can start on Method 1. if you don’t want to use a vacuum cleaner, a plunger may work.
If none of these methods bring back your ring, then it’s time to call a plumber. They have the knowledge and tools needed to find out if your ring is still in your plumbing system somewhere, or if it’s made it to the sewer. If it has made it to the sewer, they may be able to catch it before it’s gone forever by setting traps. And no matter what happens, if you do get your ring back or end up getting another one, make sure it’s insured so you won’t suffer a financial loss if it happens again!