Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Plumbing

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-27-2010, 02:43 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NY
Posts: 2
Share |
Unhappy

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Alright, so, my boyfriend and I are staying at his family home until we can get our own place. His brother lives here normally and the man is...less than clean. He's managed to turn a BEAUTIFUL 13 room house into a bachelor pad, haha. Most of it, I don't mind, you know? Just some clutter and whatnot.

But the bathroom sink horrifies me.

Ever since I met my sweetheart, the sink in the bathroom has taken a good minute or so to drain fully (sometimes longer, depending on how much water was in it). I never thought much of it. I cleaned the place over the summer, threw some Drano down there, and it worked fine for a while - but now its worse than ever.

Recently, I found out why. I pulled out the stopper - the sink has one of those super long plugs with a hook at the end so you can pull that plunger to seal it - and it was coated completely in this thick, awful, jet black sludge. Worse: its HAIRY. And the hairy part is also coated in whatever this crap is.

My sense of smell must be bad too, because my other half swears up and down that something smells like its rotting in that bathroom - every now and then I'll hear him hacking and sputtering in there trying not to gag, but I wander in, try as I might, can't smell a thing. Perhaps I should be grateful, but I wish I could smell it so I could give even more information on whatever this is.

I've done some reading and googling on black sludge and got answers from bacon grease to dried soda (what? haha). THe most troubling answer was that it is mold and mildew infecting the pipe, most likely all the way to the street, and it'll keep coming back until some major hard work is done - like tearing up the yard, the street, etc, to split open the pipe and scoop the gunk out, or even just replace the entire thing altogether.

I have not noticed this in any of the other sinks in the house, though there is a patch of black mold growing in the downstairs bathroom sink that I will be taking care of very soon (that tilex mold and mildew killer is a godsend).

Please keep this in mind as well: The whole sludge being mold and requiring professionals and replacements and lots of digging theory...it makes me worry.

I mean, black mold is most commonly referred to as TOXIC black mold. We've been sickly lately. Mold has permanent health effects on people, but we are literally stuck in this house because we have nowhere else to go for now. I feel angry at his brother for not taking the whopping five minutes a week to keep the sink clean in the first place, I feel worried at the gigantic plumbing bill this most likely will give us - I mean, I won't get into it, but there has been a HUGE expense as of late and we're cutting way back. No more movies, no more ordering out or going to dinner - just living on cheap food until we're back on our feet.

So in short the sink sure chose a wonderful time to get backed up again.

Pleaaaaaaase tell me there is a cost efficient way to deal with this

DanielleM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 03:50 PM   #2
Mold!! Let's kill it!
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,833
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Common molds need at least 60% humidity or .6 water content to thrive, but they typically don't like the volume of water found inside of drains. Bacterias, on the other hand, have no problem in very wet locations. Bacterias will emit noxious odors. Probably more so than molds. And they will emit certain chemical compounds as by-products of their tiny little daily lives. Some people are very sensitive to these compounds. A slow or stopped drain is just a breeding ground for them. Niether mold or bacterias like strong chemicals like drain openers. Bleach will definately kill about everything in a drain, but you need to get the drain open first. There definately won't be anything living there after the drain-o is done. After that an occaissional treatment with a shot of bleach will help to keep the little critters under control.

Maintenance 6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #3
DIY Junkie!!
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: split between Houston, TX and SW KS.
Posts: 223
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielleM View Post
Ever since I met my sweetheart, the sink in the bathroom has taken a good minute or so to drain fully (sometimes longer, depending on how much water was in it). I never thought much of it. I cleaned the place over the summer, threw some Drano down there, and it worked fine for a while - but now its worse than ever.

Recently, I found out why. I pulled out the stopper - the sink has one of those super long plugs with a hook at the end so you can pull that plunger to seal it - and it was coated completely in this thick, awful, jet black sludge. Worse: its HAIRY. And the hairy part is also coated in whatever this crap is.
If I had to guess (and that's what this is), I'd say you're looking at a mixture of hair, whiskers, and soap/shaving cream, which has become a breeding ground for whatever bacterial/viral matter might have found its way into the drain. I was a young bachelor once, I know how things go. Most likely this is the place where the day's hygeine/appearance tasks were completed, so you also have tooth paste, etc. (and by "etc." I mean all sort of human waste that might get coughed up and spit into the sink) in the muck, too.

Like Maintenance 6, I'd say start with a healthy dose of bleach to see if you can kill the smell. I doubt that will disolve the greasy conglomeration, though (hair, being almost totally protien, is incredibly difficult to disolve)--but if it were my place, I'd try to remove the "P-trap" and see if that is where the stoppage is. The "P-trap" is a sort of U shaped pipe that hangs down under the sink immediately below the stopper. Its function is to trap anything heavier than water that falls down the drain (like wedding rings or earrings or razor blades or acquarium rocks or.....well, you get the idea). The problem is that b/c of its convoluted shape it seems to stop up fairly easily and particularly if a hair pin or a toothpick or anything like that is in there.

They are pretty inexpensive, I'd say under $5 at a large chain store, so if it were me I'd just replace it rather than try to clean it out. You'll probably need a large pair of pliers or a small pipe wrench to get the old one off, just loosen the "nuts" on both ends of that U shaped piece of pipe and pull on it.

IF after you get the P-trap replaced the sink still drains slowly, you'll know that it is further on down the drain line......and, given my most recent experience I hate to recommend this, but.....

Help!!! Roto-rooter cable is now stuck in sewer line and won't come out!!!

...a rented Roto-rooter would certainly be what I'd try before I started calling plumbers, backhoe operators, and bankers. The local RSC rental store rented me one for less than $50/day, including all the taxes/fees. You'll be out significantly more than that just to get a plumber to drive to your place!

If you do need to use a Roto-rooter, just leave the P-trap off and use that for your entry point.......just DON'T get it stuck in there like I did (if the rest of the drains in your house drain fine, the tubs/showers, the toilets, the other sinks, then you won't have the same problem I had--if all of them are draining slowly, well, you might have a larger problem). Wear rubber gloves to limit your contact to the gunk, whatever you need to do, but if I am correct about the problem originating from years of bachelor abuse, it isn't going to go away with a bit of Draino now and then.

BTW--I managed an apartment complex for 10 years, the most common reason for stopped up sink drains is grease, usually vegetable oil/Crisco type of stuff from cooking. Ask the brother-in-law if he's ever done that in the sink in question.....and hope he says no!

Good luck, please let us know how it turns out.

Dugly

Last edited by YerDugliness; 01-27-2010 at 05:50 PM.
YerDugliness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: north east
Posts: 728
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


mind over matter, not a big deal. Take the drain pipes apart and clean them out. One silly mistake not to make is to wash out the pieces in the sink you are working on. If you really can't stand to wash the parts, you can buy them cheap enough at a box store.
__________________
LIVING THE DREAM
DUDE! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 06:02 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


I used a plunger on our bathroom sink until the trap & drain were replaced
Hopefully the drain pipe isn't the flex kind - they hold the junk & it builds up
I've also used a garden hose to power out a drain
They have an attachment you can buy just for this purpose
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 07:21 PM   #6
Learning by Doing
 
Leah Frances's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Easton, Maryland
Posts: 3,156
Blog Entries: 7
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


When I first moved into this house the tub wouldn't drain. I spent an afternoon trickling kettles of boiling water down the drain. When it would 'clog up' I worked it with the plunger. An hour or so of this and my drain runs great.

-Also, get a hair strainer for the tub. Mine is a fine mesh and I have to clean it out after every shower b/c it catches not only hair, but soap scum, dander, sawdust (if, I've had a productive day ). It's a little bit of a pain, but after seeing what it collects it's no wonder that drains get clogs.
__________________
If I could only remember to THINK about what I was doing before I did it.
Leah Frances is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #7
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,493
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
I spent an afternoon trickling kettles of boiling water down the drain.
Good Advice from Leah. It is slow until the drain opens a little more but much better than taking a risk with chemicals. Let us know what happens. We are rooting for you.
(no pun)
.
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery
PaliBob is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 11:38 PM   #8
Irrigation Contractor
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South Central British Columbia - The great White North
Posts: 58
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Most of this is correct, with the execption of the P-Trap


Quote:
Originally Posted by YerDugliness View Post
The "P-trap" is a sort of U shaped pipe that hangs down under the sink immediately below the stopper. Its function is to trap anything heavier than water that falls down the drain (like wedding rings or earrings or razor blades or acquarium rocks or.....well, you get the idea). The problem is that b/c of its convoluted shape it seems to stop up fairly easily and particularly if a hair pin or a toothpick or anything like that is in there.
The actual function of a P-Trap is to stop sewer gasses from comming back up through the drain. The residual water that is in the trap keeps the gasses in the pipe where they belong.

An advantage of the P-Trap is to trap jewlerly and other things that shouldn't be dropped in there. But then again if you drop things like that, you should think about using the stopper. It's easier than dismantling the trap.

Mick
Water Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 02:07 PM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NY
Posts: 2
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Thank you guys so much! Turns out our sickness was a coincidental virus too. That's a big load of my mind .
DanielleM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 03:17 PM   #10
DIY Junkie!!
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: split between Houston, TX and SW KS.
Posts: 223
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Water Guy View Post
Most of this is correct, with the execption of the P-Trap

The actual function of a P-Trap is to stop sewer gasses from comming back up through the drain. The residual water that is in the trap keeps the gasses in the pipe where they belong.

An advantage of the P-Trap is to trap jewlerly and other things that shouldn't be dropped in there. But then again if you drop things like that, you should think about using the stopper. It's easier than dismantling the trap.

Mick
Mick, you are SO correct! I often forget about the issue of sewer gasses, but my ex's have all been "fumblefingered" so I've rescued many an earring from a P-trap--so often, in fact, that I guess my mind has decided that is the function of the P-trap !

Thanks for pointing it out!

DanielleM--any good news for us? I guess I hadn't thought of boiling water like Leah , but I bet that would disolve the "gunky" clog....although I suspect that as the liquid would travel down the drain pipes they would eventually be cooled off to the extent that the "gunk" would be redistributed to the pipes further on down the line. Hopefully, though, that redistribution would be more evenly distributed and not large enough to create another "plug" that would obstruct the flow of the water. Let us know how this works out, OK (glad to hear the illness wasn't related to the gunk!)?

Dugly
YerDugliness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 04:35 PM   #11
Water quality'n pump guy
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Wherever I park the motorhome.
Posts: 358
Default

A Gross Problem - Professional Advice Needed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielleM View Post
Thank you guys so much! Turns out our sickness was a coincidental virus too. That's a big load of my mind .
I don't think anyone has mentioned the sink's overflow yet. Gunk can grow in there too and it is open to the air. It is usually hard t osee becasue it is in the inside of the sink and you have to bend over and look back toward yourself to see the opening. Spray some bleach water in there or fill the sink up until bleach water flows in the hole for some time and then rinse it out with fresh water.

__________________
Gary Slusser
23 years in water treatment and well pumps, 13 years on the 'net helping others to help themselves.
Gary Slusser is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cedar Wood Painting - Professional Advice meenxo Painting 2 09-08-2009 06:21 AM
advice needed on roof repair gdread Roofing/Siding 4 08-13-2009 01:08 PM
Circuit breaker panel - Advice needed justtired Electrical 15 12-13-2007 05:55 AM
bathroom floor tile job advice needed dbrew Flooring 14 01-23-2007 07:03 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.