Monday, June 07, 2010

I haven't been able to find the old camera

I haven't really had a lot of time to look, though. The main drain in the laundry room backed up right when we (all right, I mean my wife) needed to do six loads of laundry. Well, part of that need was created by the back up soaking all the clothes on the laundry room floor. So, after we got tired of vacuuming up the water and lugging the bucket around to the shower drain, we jury-rigged a hose directly from the washer to the shower drain. Somebody still had to watch to make sure that didn't overflow - it hasn't, except when I covered the drain with 'Liina's tub when I was giving her her bath last night and the washer started draining just as she finished. I didn't know it was running because I had the dehumidifier and the ceiling fan running to help the rug dry out from the first flood.

Anyway, I went to Menard's to see what they had to unclog it. Being kind of a Tim Allenish sort of guy, I bought the strongest thing they have: concentrated sulfuric acid.

I have a recommendation: use something else to unclog your drain.

No, I used the stuff carefully and conscientiously, but the whole house smells like a giant pig took a dump in it. And it's still too early to check and see if it worked or not.


The probligo said...

I have to bear in mind here that "drains" can mean a totally different thing here in NZ than elsewhere.

If I have a "blocked drain", it can mean -

Between the sink and gully trap (that might be a strange one, Al. It lives outside and is the open end of the underground part, covered with a cast iron grating.).

In the connection between gully trap and sewer

In the sewer itself.

Of those I am only responsible for the first two unless I do something stupid like stuff a kapok mattress into the drain (and don't worry, that is no urban myth).

Solutions -

Between sink and gully trap - use concentrated sodium hydroxide. It does not attack any metal bits, it does not eat glazed earthenware pipes.

Between gully trap and sewer, call a firm that specialises in unblocking drains. I have had one in this category - and the cause was a tree, a casuarina, planted about 70 feet from the pipe. The most common cause is fat and grease from cooking, and there is no way that H2SO4 will shift that.

In the sewer, call the city council. It is their problem, even if you have staffed a kapok mattress into the sewer. You will get a bill (if you live in NZ) but cleaning will cost a couple of houses less than replacing a section of sewer.

Al said...

This particular clog would be caused by soap and lint build-up (and maybe a dryer sheet or two), but I think soap is pretty close to grease so maybe that's the answer. I think I'll flush the drain thoroughly (it's now running slowly) before I go putting any caustic soda down there, though. This morning, there's actually not much sign of acid left, but let's not be hasty.

The probligo said...

... and use rubber gloves and mask.