Major clog last night


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Old 08-20-17, 06:27 AM
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Major clog last night

About once every 3 to 4 years my kitchen sink drain will clog all of a sudden. Last night was time. The drain line is about 30 feet with multiple elbow and bends before it gets to the main drain. What's strange is that there is no warning, such as slow draining or small back ups. It just all of a sudden clogs. Double bowl sink will fill up with sewage. Then in the process of un-clogging it I will disassemble the piping at two places (had to use those large PVC couplings) and a large "plug" that looks like a congealed mass of wax and grease will come out along with the usual sludge and black mud. Now make no mistake my wife and I are very careful not to discard grease or any thing like it in our drains. Breaking up that mass is the hard part. Takes about two hours or so. Now I'll be good for about another 3 years before I need to go through this routine again. I can't explain why this happens and why it happens suddenly. One moment the drain will work fast and fine then all of a sudden big blockage the next time it's used.
 
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Old 08-20-17, 11:35 AM
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The drain line is about 30 feet with multiple elbow and bends before it gets to the main drain

That long slow low slope is the issue.

Maybe it can be replaced but suspect you will just have to revisit in a few years!
 
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Old 08-21-17, 02:56 PM
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I've seen various enzyme drain cleaners that are supposed to be used as a maintenance item to eat up the fat and sludge before it builds up. I've never used them, but it sounds like it might be beneficial in your case (assuming they actually work). Anyone have any experience with them?
 
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Old 08-21-17, 07:57 PM
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The drain line is about 30 feet with multiple elbow and bends before it gets to the main drain.
What kind of piping is it? PVC usually drains pretty well, so unless there's something specifically blocking it, it's rare to get a blockage like that. Galvanized pipe has a tendency to constrict over time, so that could be a possibility.

Also, when you say it fills up with sewage... it sounds like it's not just a clog from the sink which results in sink water backing up... but water coming from elsewhere in the house?
 
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Old 08-22-17, 06:45 AM
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It's all just 1 1/2 PVC DWV piping. No other drains use this line only the kitchen sink. So it goes from the trap into the wall and takes a 90 degree down to the basement. From there it goes about 5 feet into a cleanout (that is installed pointing up???). Travels about another 15 feet then takes a 90 degree turn. Another 5 feet or so and it drops down from the ceiling at a 45 degree into the main drain about 5 feet away.

The sewage I speak of is just the normal sludge and waste that will accumulate within the pipe. The mystery is the "hockey puck" sized plug that will develop all of a sudden. It looks like white wax/grease combination that congeals into a solid form to the shape of the pipe. This last go round I was able to move it from side to side with the snake but had trouble breaking it up. After several hours of snaking I did break it up and was able to get clear, clean, full flow of water through the pipe.

Again as I mentioned the wife and I never put anything like grease or resembling such down the drain. Old tin cans are used to dispose of cooking grease. The only possible item that we can come up with is the plastic envelope used to pack automatic dishwashing tablets. And maybe the fact that my HW tank is old (going on 18 years, but still delivers hot water) and perhaps the water is not quite hot enough to totally melt the tablet casing. She has since changed to a liquid machine soap. This may also hark back to my previous post about our dishwasher overflow valve malfunctioning due to a build up of a thick paste like debris build up of gunk on the valve stem. Since recently going to the liquid soap that problem has subsided but not totally disappeared. Too soon to make a positive result.
 
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Old 09-01-17, 05:20 AM
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I actually just had this, strangely both the bathtub drain and the kitchen sink seemed to clog at the same time. I put a bottle of heavy duty pipe cleaner down each and it worked a treat. Not sure how long it will last thought
 
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Old 09-01-17, 10:21 AM
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Not sure how long it will last thought
What... the pipes or the clog ?
 
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Old 09-01-17, 03:19 PM
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Steve,

Glad your clog cleared but I'm very anti-chemical for drains. Think about it, you're adding material to a point that is actually stopping flow to take place. You introduce a caustic chemical that can eat through that clog. What else can it eat through? And think of the pollution added to the water system.

A mechanical method to clear a clog does does not do any harm.

Here's my grip about chemical drain cleaners. The store I work in sells out of about 4 shelves of various drain cleaners about 6 times a year. Each and every one on these is clearly marked as a poison. We have about 40 stores. Do the math. Then multiply that by all the other stores that sell the same drain cleaners. In just one metropolitan area. Then consider the whole nation. Any wonder why our water supply is polluted and we buy bottled water?

Yet a mechanical snake can do the job more effectively.
 
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Old 09-02-17, 03:27 PM
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Chemicals are only a problem to pipes if they get trapped in the pipe for a long time, and even then it is only if the drain cleaner is acidic based and if you have old style pipes.

This is an interesting article about it*************
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 09-03-17 at 08:53 AM. Reason: Link removed
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Old 09-02-17, 05:56 PM
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Chemicals are only a problem to pipes if they get trapped in the pipe for a long time, and even then it is only if the drain cleaner is acidic based and if you have old style pipes.

This is an interesting article about it
I read the article. The only thing that changed is that Drano is now a light weight (nearly useless) chemical. Unlikely to cause a leak in a pipe. But...I'll take the liberty to quote the Internet sources (without giving credit to the source, way to much copying)

Chemical drain cleaners usually contain sodium hydroxide (lye) which is very caustic. Lye’s corrosive properties are good for eating away at drain build up, but can burn skin and aggravate the throat and nose. Avoiding prolonged contact with sodium hydroxide is a good idea.

Because lye is so caustic, it can be extremely corrosive to certain types of metal as well as several other materials. Fortunately, though, PVC drains and pipes are characterized by their low reactivity, which means they can stand up well to this caustic and corrosive base substance. However, given a high enough concentration, PVC can be damaged just as much as any other pipe or drain material if you exceed recommended strength levels.

So what this tells me is that Drano or any of the sodium hydroxide chems are too weak to work or if used in heavy enough concentrations it CAN harm pipes be it metal o r plastic. My biggest problems with chemicals as far as clearing a clog is if you have standing water, if the chemical gets to the clog, it's most likely so diluted it won't do anything.

But my big beef is the pollution angle. Just how much can our environment take. Forty years ago if you told people that they would be buying bottle water as a regular day today course of action, you would be laughed at. So how did we get to this point today?

I ride a sticky slope due to the fact that I sell drain cleaners and am expected to promote product and sales. When I "preach" not to use a drain cleaner I must be very sure of myself and know what I'm talking about when I tell a customer not to buy a drain cleaner but instead to invest in a good snake and teach them how to remove the trap and use the snake.

I'll stick with my tried and true method of mechanical means (aka snake or auger) to clear a clog.
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 09-03-17 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 09-03-17, 04:39 AM
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Each to their own Norm. Also I do take you point that it is good to be cognisant about the pollution aspect.

Do you suffer from a lot clogs?
 
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Old 09-03-17, 06:14 AM
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Do you suffer from a lot clogs?
No! As my original post stated this happens about once every 3 to 4 years. Can't quite figure out what or why. I've had several ideas but nothing as to what causes the sudden clog. And I do mean sudden. The drain will work flawlessly for years and then literately just stop and clog. The material that comes out is a hard white plastic type of material that seems to be a combo of grease and soap. But it will not crumble or breakup. The remain that I throw out onto the backyard grass are still there. They do not decompose, but slowly go into the ground. We have never, ever thrown grease or similar down the drain, seldom use the disposal. All solids are scrapped of the dishes before going into the dishwasher.
 
 

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