Drain plaque

My plumbing woes started the other day when I heard a dripping sound in the basement ceiling. It would coincide with kitchen sink usage (one floor above the basement) so I figured it was a leaking drain pipe. Finally tore open the ceiling drywall today to investigate and was greeted with two annoying scenarios.
The leak was at an elbow where vertical and horizontal PVC pipe sections were joined. To my amazement, the vertical pipe was not cemented to the elbow, only the horizontal section was. Just pulling down on the horizontal allowed me to separate the pipes. Here is a shot of the pipes after separating and shifting the horizontal away from the vertical;
http://www.pbase.com/eldata/image/139614199/original
The pipes are now cemented properly and the leak is fixed but getting rid of the plaque is now the next priority. What would be best for this, chemicals or a drain auger?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

YUK!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I would recommend a gallon or two of boiling water, or as close to boiling as it can be if you carry it down from the kitchen stove. Chemical treatments that generate lye and heat, like Drano, will work, but the heat may be too concentrated and partially melt/weaken the plastic pipe, so that's why hot water is recommended.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 13 Nov 2011 15:27:07 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com"

Auger. See if you can get a hose in where you put the auger in, stuff a rag around the opening, then flush - with hot water if you can - with the auger still in, auger some more, flush some more. That should clean it out well. Looks like grease. Keep grease out of the drains. Should go in the garbage.
--Vic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Yep, hot water and an auger as others said.
Now I know why the primer's purple - as a visual check to prevent press-fits like you have.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

It's bitten me on the butt before, especially when plumbing around an obstacle - somehow, someway one of the press-fits doesn't get glued up. Now we both know why the primer's purple. (-:
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Hi, How come did you cemented the loose joint even B4 cleaning out the pipe. I think you jumped the gun. I never saw a kitchen sink drain pipe that yucky. What are you throwing down the sink drain?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I believe he meant to ask "How come you didn't cement the loose joint closed before cleaning?"
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No, he meant to say "How come you didn't take care of the cleaning before cementing the joint closed?"
The point being that the OP could have pushed/sucked/scraped at least some of the crap out before fixing the joint and having to now flush the crap further down the drain where it didn't want to go in the first place.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DerbyDad03 wrote the following:

How do you know that he didn't clean it up before gluing? Just because he didn't say so, doesn't mean he didn't.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I used a jumbo "fudge stick" and a damp cloth to clean away what's visible in the shot, up to 3 inches above that and the mating area on the elbow before cementing. It was mainly grease and easy to remove. Running hot water regularly is probably the easiest way to prevent that type of buildup in a sink drain pipe.
All moot now...For me, the bane of most "in wall" plumbing issues is the subsequent drywall work. I'm yet to tackle that. **Decent** looking drywall work requires much more skill/experience than plumbing work. Probably the closest thing to an art when it comes to home construction/repairs. I take my hat off to those who have mastered it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Take the easy way out:
Make an access panel so you don't have to worry about finishing any joints.
I made a sliding access panel under my Pressure Regulator Valve after I had to cut a hole in the ceiling drywall to replace it. There is no room above it to lift the panel out of the way or to slide it up into the ceiling, so I made it so that it slides along the "underside" of the ceiling to remove.
It came out quite nice. I can explain the process I used if you are interested.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The only other time I saw a drain that bad was in my house soon after moving in.
We had galvanized drain pipe from the sink, down through the floor and into the main stack.
I bought a Garbage Disposal for the Mrs and started to dismantle the drain to install it. The insides of the pipes looked very similar to the OP's.
I ended up ripping it all out and replaced it with PVC from the disposal to the stack.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You're being too kind with your description. It looks like the insides of a run-over squirrel. I would suggest a disposal or at least a very good sink strainer for the OP in the future. I'd also check for bad pitch on the pipe. That kind of material often appears inside poorly sloped drain pipes.
I discovered a similar press-fitted only disaster the first time I used a plunger to clear the kitchen drain pipe when I first moved in, long, long ago. The trap just "blew off" the bottom of the sink spewing similar looking "sink sausage" around everywhere. )-:
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 13 Nov 2011 15:27:07 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com"

Chemical first. Then if it doesn't work, auger.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Real good point - I need to remember that idea.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Could use satins, but I'd turn the hot water tank up and when the water was good and hot start running it down the sink, slowly at first then more and maybe do it again later. Takes 140 degrees to melt fat... maybe 145. 180 ought to do it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Nov 14, 5:44pm, "Mr. Austerity" <"PrintMo.Money "> wrote:

Bingo! That's exactly what I did last night (17 hours ago) after everyone else went to bed. Ran hot water from the kitchen sink faucet for 15 minutes (measured temp was 139.6F even after 10 minutes). Drain pipe in basement ceiling got pretty hot and I started to hear the water moving through it. Before, it was pretty much a silent operation. Probably will repeat this on a monthly basis.
A filled sink now discharges rapidly creating a distinct vortex and the water can be heard gurgling through the drain pipes. Thanks guys.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was tempted to say "when last did you check your sink drain pipe" in response to some of the comments. Heck, the house is over 25 years old, we've been living here for 13 years and have always used a fine mesh strainer in the sink. Some drains get completely blocked due to greasy plaque buildup as you indicated. We were nearly there but still hadn't reached that point yet.
Nevertheless, the condition of that drain pipe prompted me to do one other thing... I ordered a few doses from these guys (no kidding);
http://www.colonblow.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Have you considered a garbage disposal? Even with a fine mesh strainer, I'm sure some solids make it down the drain, combining with other stuff to clog things up.
We had galvanized pipes that looked worse than yours when we first moved in. I replaced the pipes with PVC and installed a garbage disposal 25 years ago. Raised 4 kids and never had a issue with the kitchen sink not draining rapidly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.