Adventures in Plumbing

Last week, I disconnected the kinked dishwasher drain hose from where it connected to the disposal drain outlet. As it turned out, I needed an elbow to re-route it in a manner that would eliminate kinking. I procured the elbow, but forgot to buy hose clamps, so I hadn’t reconnected things under the sink yet.

The day before yesterday, DN told me that her feet got wet while doing dishes. She stopped, cleaned up the mess, and left it for me to investigate. She was using the sink with the disposal when the wet foot incident occurred, so I figured she ran enough water to raise the level above the open dishwasher drain connection. I reconnected the dishwasher drain with the new elbow, and informed DN that there were no clamps on the line, and not to run it. Not that she would have anyway – she has always done dishes by hand.

The barbed elbow fit snugly enough without clamps to prevent leakage from normal gravity drainage from the sink. I verified the integrity of the rest of the fittings, and ran some water to test my “fix”.

Water accumulated in the sinks. Running the disposal resulted in the transfer of water to the non-disposal sink. Running the disposal with the non-disposal sink drain plugged resulted in significant pressure against the plug, but not enough to dislodge the clog downstream.

I attempted to clear the clog using the plunger, since that had worked on the clog in the main line a month or so ago. I couldn’t get any movement. No problem. I will resort to the miracles of modern chemistry.

After work this morning, I bought a large bottle of DranoMax. When I got home, I split a third of the bottle between the two sides, and waited the requisite thirty minutes. I then attempted to flush with hot water as per the instructions. The water hadn’t gotten hot yet when it started to accumulate.

I turned the water off and dumped the rest of the Drano in. The gel formula is supposed to be able to power through standing water and get to the clog. I gave it an hour. The level in the sink never changed.

I ran a couple gallons of hot water. I thought maybe some heat would help, and if it didn’t, at least it would dilute the Drano. It’s not like straight Drano is all that potent, since it couldn’t even poke a hole in the clog, but I like my skin. Well, nothing happened.

I opened the drain line, and drained the ineffective solution out of the sinks and pipes to the trap. The only snake I have is a medium sized one designed for toilets. It made the first turn through the trap, but couldn’t make the second one.

I tried compressed air, but I couldn’t seal the opening well enough for it to be effective. I gave up and went to bed. While waiting for sleep, I thought of how to connect the garden hose in a leak tight manner. That should work. I decided to buy the necessary components when I woke up.

After a reasonably good sleep session, I got dressed and went to buy the items to construct my invention. Only to find that there was a ready-made product on the shelf.

I had envisioned a rigid device specific to the 1 1/4″ trap that was giving me problems, and the product I found was made with an expanding rubber bladder that was advertised to work on pipes between one and two inches in diameter.

The device is to be inserted into the clogged pipe, and the hose turned on slowly. The pressure expands the bladder to seal against the inside of the pipe, and the water is then directed out the tip, in the direction of the clog. Great, at least in theory.

In practice, at least for me, no seal was achieved. A partial seal perhaps, since the water that came out around the device was restricted to the point of creating a high pressure spray. Which soaked everything again, and did nothing for the clog.

Having exhausted the time available to me prior to having to report to work, I cleaned up the area for the umpteenth time, and left for work. Here I am, no closer to a solution than I was two days ago when I first learned that the problem existed.

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4 Responses to Adventures in Plumbing

  1. My other half got a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid to put down the drain. That should do the trick for us–I’ll let you know.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Please do. If it works, I have access to such things…

      • It didn’t clear the clog when poured down; however, I have reason to believe that, had he run the snake through first, it might have done. Disassemble the plumbing under the sink and run the one for the toilet directly down the drainpipe–assuming it’ll fit through the pipe–then use the corrosive of your choice.

        It couldn’t hurt to do it that way, if the trap isn’t where the clog is.

      • alaskan454 says:

        Thanks for the update. The trap, and all the way to the main cast iron line is PVC. No disassembly is possible, except with a hacksaw.

        When I get home tonight, I plan to cram as much 5/8″ line through the crooks as possible, and vacuum the liquid out. Hopefully, that will allow the acid to get close enough to work if I pour it directly into the trap. In case it doesn’t, I have a 1 1/2″ PVC union and some pipe cement. I’ll cut the bitch.

        I found some 90% sulfuric at Lowes. Hopefully, it will work.

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