# Plumbers in the house?

1. Feb 18, 2005

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
I've already thrown half a gallon of sodium hydroxide into the drains and they're still blocked! What kind of stuff usually works best for clearing blockages? (besides snakes).

I actually just read that NaOH can make the blockage worse :uhh:

Last edited: Feb 18, 2005
2. Feb 18, 2005

### dextercioby

Could you explain the NaOH,caustic soda part,i didn't get it...Did u try sulphuric acid...?I heard it melts just about everything...

Daniel.

3. Feb 18, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

You may need to get a plumber to run a snake through the drain.

4. Feb 18, 2005

### dextercioby

Do you think it's rat infested...?:tongue2: Then a 10m python would do it.

Daniel.

5. Feb 18, 2005

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus

6. Feb 18, 2005

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
Yeah, I'm not going to put anymore stuff in there.. NaOH can be nasty stuff. But for future reference..

7. Feb 18, 2005

### cronxeh

8. Feb 18, 2005

### dextercioby

Well,yeah,it's useless.It boils $Ca^{2+}$ turning them into $Ca(OH)_{2}$,but,tragically,in the presence of air infested with $CO_{2}$ it turns to $CaCO_{3}$ again.

Oh,the sulphuric part was justa joke,it's useless too.The solubility product of most sulphates is very small.

Daniel.

9. Feb 18, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

But when the snake swallows the rat, the snake will be stuck and then she'll have a ticked off snake in her drain.

10. Feb 18, 2005

### Monique

Staff Emeritus
No, it can combine with fats to form a soap that can contribute to the blockage.

11. Feb 18, 2005

### dextercioby

Well,it's a lousy rat,it's notta goat."Digestion" is the key-word...:tongue2:

Daniel.

12. Feb 18, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Good point, so maybe a week to digest the rat, then the snake crawls out and Monique's problem is solved!

It's ok Monique, you don't have to thank us. :tongue2:

13. Feb 18, 2005

### saltydog

Yea, you need someone to remove the trap, clean it out, then put it back. That'll be \$60.00.

14. Feb 18, 2005

But the 'Rat' will be soaked in NaOH no? so it will give the snake some..bad stomach..

Or am i just a victim of a joke here?

15. Feb 18, 2005

### dextercioby

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Daniel.

16. Feb 18, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Good point Bladibla, we will need to neutralize the rat first.

17. Feb 18, 2005

That sounds funny

I think vinegar would be a good choice for neutralization.. since Sulf acid might just be a little bit too strong.. :uhh:

18. Feb 18, 2005

### dextercioby

Da

19. Feb 18, 2005

### Chronos

Don't be so squeamish. Go buy or borrow a plumber snake and do it yourself. No special skills required. Sure, you will drag out some unspeakably disgusting stuff, and probably get some on you :yuck: , but it washes off.

20. Feb 18, 2005

### motai

Do you know exactly where the clogging is? You could take the obvious scientific way out and use an isotope of iodine to figure it out.

If it is in the bathtub and the clog occurs in the u-shaped thing, put the snake in the overflow instead of the drain... the connection will probably be 90 degrees so there is a chance of making the snake go up to the overflow rather than down to the clog.

21. Feb 18, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
If the clog is just in the trap, you can easily clean it out yourself. Just get a wrench and a big bucket to catch the dirty water that comes pouring out of the pipe when you open it. The "trap" is that U-shaped pipe under your sink.

If it's a shower or bathtub rather than a sink, the drain should just have a single screw holding the cover down. Remove that and fish around to see if you can find anything you can reach and pull out.

Beyond that, yeah, a snake is the only way to go. Depending on how deep the clog is and how well stuck it is, you might be able to just buy a snake at a hardware store and give it a try yourself. If it's very deep in the pipes though, better to get a plumber to deal with it.

Odd about NaOH not being recommended. I thought that was the main ingredient in Liquid Plumber or Draino, or one of those commercially available liquid drain cleaners. Then again, I don't think they ever really work. I try to avoid pouring things into a clogged drain that I don't want dumped back out on my head when I'm under the sink trying to remove the trap to unclog it.

22. Feb 18, 2005

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
What kind of sink/drain - kitchen, bathroom lavatory, bathtub/shower - is clogged?

Kitchen and bathroom lavatory should have accessible/removable P-trap. You may be able to remove the P-trap and find the blockage. If the blockage is futher, use a snake in the outgoing line.

Kitchen sinks can get clogged with coagulated fat and alkali solution may not be effective.

Bathroom drains may be clogged by hair, and the alkali solution (e.g. liquid plumber) usually dissolves hair.

23. Feb 18, 2005

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Oh, yeah, while you're out getting the snake, buy some heavy rubber dishwashing gloves. When that slimey, furry beast comes out of the drain, you aren't going to want to touch it. :yuck:

Edit: Oh, and did you already try a plunger? It won't remove a clog completely, but might move it enough that the water will drain a little better so you can get some of the water out of the way before attempting to finish removing the clog.

Last edited: Feb 18, 2005
24. Feb 19, 2005

### BobG

Plungers don't work very well if there's an overflow pipe. Or if you have a double sink and the clogs below where the two drain pipes meet.

However, in my younger days I managed to clog up the bathtub drain on the day I was cleaning the apartment prior to moving. Being a little short on time, I was hoping that stuffing a rag in the overflow pipe would be enough of an obstruction that I might be able to plunge the clog free.

Zwwooop! No more rag!

Plan B - I wound up bailing the standing water out of the tub, cleaning the tub, and sopping up the remaining water with a towel.

To add to the disaster, the apartment was on the third floor with an open stairway down the back of the building as a second exit. I managed to drop a can of white paint down the stairs, naturally with the lid of the can coming off on about the second bounce. I was still trying to rinse the white paint off of the red brick in the back of the building when the landlord came to the front entrance of the apartment. A quick signal from a cohort allowed me to stash the hose and dash up the stairs to accompany the landlord on his inspection.

Needless to say, I made sure I cashed that deposit refund check less than fifteen minutes after passing inspection.