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Old 09-09-2010, 11:08 AM   #1
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


Soooo... labor day we had a big BBQ and everyone brought over a dish. Well if there was food left, people just happened to leave it at our house for some reason. Yesterday I head to the gym for an hour and I come home to our kitchen sink fully stopped up without a lick of any drainage. My wife thought a garbage disposal can eat pretty much anything and put and entire tupperware bowl of potato salad down it. So I tried my plunger, I tried a large bottle of draino, but I am sure anyone here knows the fat in the potato salad is a solid just sticking to the edges of the pipes.

Tonight I am pulling off the piping and going to see if I can use a medium sized hand snake, but was concerned the fat will just allow the snake to pass through it without actually unclogging it. I was thinking of using a lye based cleaner since it turns grease and fats into a soapy material that will pass easily and fully clean the pipes.

Has anyone used the lye based cleaners, and can give me tips on how to us it... I was going to pour it directly into my P-trap to avoid putting that chemical into the sink itself.

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Old 09-09-2010, 01:29 PM   #2
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


Don't use chemicals. In my opinion they're all useless garbage, and do more harm than good.

When you take the trap, continuous waste, and tailpieces apart; you'll most likely find your problem. Most of the debris (potato salad), etc. is probably stuck within the first couple feet. Clean all the pieces and put it back together. You should be good to go.

If not, then take it back apart and run the snake. Put 2-3" zig zag bends up about 18" in the end of the cable. So it looks like this: VVVVVVVV That will give you a better cleaning surface inside the pipe. Use a scrubbing action as you're cabling. Determine how far you have to go before tying into the 3 or 4" main, or have someone listen on the other end so you know when you're home free. Don't go any further than you have to.

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Old 09-09-2010, 04:06 PM   #3
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


DAdams -

Just train your wife to run the system with water for at least 30 seconds after the disposal is off. Switching over the very hot water will heat to move the fats and grease through the system. My wife has the bad habit of turning off the disposal as soon as she thinks the stuff is ground, but is not flushed out past the traps and into the larger pipes that typically get more flow.

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Old 09-09-2010, 06:44 PM   #4
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


Twice I've actually had to cut pipes to clear a jamb like that---Lets hope you have better luck---

Like Lateral said--NO chemicals--ever---When you are snaking a pipe the chemicals will get all over your hands and face.---Mike---
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:23 AM   #5
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


Good info on the chemicals.

I had removed all the plumbing from under the sink and snaked it down, actually got it to drain, the stopped up again. Now the the blockage is under the slab of concrete in my basement. Looks like I am going to open the cleanout and see if I can snake it some more.

I hope cutting a pipe isnt necessary... especially since it is under the basement now.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:32 AM   #6
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


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Good info on the chemicals.

I had removed all the plumbing from under the sink and snaked it down, actually got it to drain, the stopped up again. Now the the blockage is under the slab of concrete in my basement. Looks like I am going to open the cleanout and see if I can snake it some more.

I hope cutting a pipe isnt necessary... especially since it is under the basement now.
If that's the case and you can't clear it with a snake your next option is a mini-jetter.

If you can, run hot water simultaneously while you're cabling
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:36 AM   #7
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If that's the case and you can't clear it with a snake your next option is a mini-jetter.

If you can, run hot water simultaneously while you're cabling
Yeah.. I can do that.

I will do just that.

Just talked to a friend that said within 15 feet of the clean out it opens up to a 3 inch pipe by code... soooo.... looks like that is my goal right now. I believe I got the blockage to the right angle elbow that turns under the concrete toward the main stack.... I was cabling from under the sink.. going through the cleanout hopefully will give me enough leverage to get it all... I will let you all know!
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:43 AM   #8
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


don't count on getting to 3" within 15 feet. Not sure where you're at, but I've never heard of that in any code. I can run over 80' of 2", with a CO every 50', before having to upsize to 3"
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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don't count on getting to 3" within 15 feet. Not sure where you're at, but I've never heard of that in any code. I can run over 80' of 2", with a CO every 50', before having to upsize to 3"
St. Louis, MO. He is a master plumber, so would assume he was right... at least I hope so... or I miss heard him since the conversation was also talking about the main stack as well.... eh... we will see.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:13 AM   #10
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St. Louis, MO. He is a master plumber, so would assume he was right... at least I hope so... or I miss heard him since the conversation was also talking about the main stack as well.... eh... we will see.
not saying it's not possible, that might be how far it runs. have you got it fixed yet? if not, I'd just call around and find a good price to clean the kitchen drain. it's not an uncommon problem and i'm sure you can get it done for around a hundred bucks. I clean drains for a living, and I've called in other people to clean my sink drain when the wife stops it up (I don't get paid to do it at home )
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #11
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


if you run hot water the grease will solidify further down the line, cold water will float it out to city main
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:07 AM   #12
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


So got it finally. Removed the 2 inch clean out plug, dug out a bucket load of crud there and started snaking, and snaking and snaking and snaking. I would snake it and blast it out with the hose, so about 14 5 gallon buckets of black crap I hit the mother load about 14ish feet down from the clean out. When I hit bottom it took about 15 minutes of rotating every last which way with the cable... pulled the cable out and shoved the hose down there and opened her up... some gurgling, some rumbling, then the sound of beautiful flowing water.

Now the clean up took about twice as long.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:50 AM   #13
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The legend of a wife, potato salad, and a drain


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Now the clean up took about twice as long.
That's always the worst part.

Nice job gettin' it cleared

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