Pipe Laxatives

My bathroom sink and tub go into the same horizontal iron drain pipe across the basement ceiling. That pipe apparently doesn't have enough angle to it, so all sorts of crud collects in it. My first week in this house, the tub backed up and I had to open the trap for that pipe and snake it out, which was NOT something I want to repeat often. The previous owners had not taken proper precautions upstairs. For instance, the tub drain's screen was decorative, but otherwise useless in terms of stopping hair, so it's been replaced.
Meanwhile, it seems things are beginning to drain slowly again. Replacing the basement pipes is NOT AN OPTION at this time. And, plunging doesn't work because the sink & tub share the drain, and there's no way to maintain a seal for the plunger to work.
The usual Mr Plumber stuff seems like an expensive way to maintain the pipes because the distance from sink/tub to the horizontal pipe is about 10 feet. Would sulfuric acid be appropriate, if I'm positive that I still have at least some drainage and can flush the stuff out thoroughly? By the way, the whole system is metal pipe. Chrome-plated stuff under the sink, iron in the basement.
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- Other than rerouting pipes, snaking is the only alternative.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Hint. Try having someone hold a wet (not damp) towel over the overflow to block it. Plunger will then work up to, but not beyond the vent pipe. Also seal the skink at the same time, using a stopper or again a wet towel.
Hint #2, occasionally fill the tub to the overflow and then pull the plug. Do the same with the sink at the same time.

--
Joseph Meehan

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Gonna be quite a crowd in that bathroom, for all the hands needed!

That's a good idea.
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The "Mr Plumber" stuff only burns a small hole through the blockage. The same is turn for most small hand snakes. The hole quickly plugs again. The following has worked for me on every slow running drain I have used it on. Usually lasts at least 6 months.
Figure out whether the tub or the sink is the most upstream unit. Then just before bedtime run as much warm water down the drain as you can and let it drain. Pour an entire gallon of Clorox (commercial grade preferred) down the drain. 10-12 hours later get at least 4" of water in the tub before you open the plug. You should see a major increase in the flow rate. If still not draining fast enough. Repeat the process the next night. I have never had to do it more than twice to clear a slow running drain.
In your case, if your lateral line doesn't have enough slope you might want to add a half gallon once a week. All you are doing is dissolving the soap scum and hair build up. The bleach is far safer and cheaper than the Mr Plumber stuff.
Colbyt
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As long as you are on city sewer and do not have a septic system. Too much bleach will kill the natural bacteria. Then your field will clog up and you'll have a bigger problem. Try pouring a really big pot of boiling water down the drain on a regular basis to _keep_ it clear once you snake it out again. I've taken to draining pasta into the powder room sink where my husband shaves. Doesn't give me a problem anymore.
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Thank you Kathy!
I knew I forgot to put something in that post.
Never do this if on septic.
Colbyt
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There's not a civilian cooking pot large enough to fill the pipe from the tub to the horizontal run in the basement, Kathy. I tried.
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I've been using this stuff for years. I've got a house with poorly done kitchen remodel & the drain line slope & venting is not great. If I use this stuff every couple months I have no problems.
I get mine at Ace Hardware but HD might carry it. It is not a fast acting cleaner but some sort of enzyme of bateria stuff that eats the crude in the pipe & allows it to be flushed away.
DRAIN CARE BUILD-UP REMOVER Liquid or Powder Enzymatic drain cleaner Ends slow drains Safe for all plumbing Cleans and removes years of build-up from plumbing systems Available in 18 oz. powder or liquid which provides up to 40 drain treatments Safe for septic systems CODE # LDC64 (64 oz.) CODE # DC16 (18 oz.)
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Thanks. I'll check the hardware store. There used to be a similar product under the Drano or Liquid Plumber brands, but I haven't seen it in grocery stores for quite some time.
I've been using this stuff for years. I've got a house with poorly done kitchen remodel & the drain line slope & venting is not great. If I use this stuff every couple months I have no problems.
I get mine at Ace Hardware but HD might carry it. It is not a fast acting cleaner but some sort of enzyme of bateria stuff that eats the crude in the pipe & allows it to be flushed away.
DRAIN CARE BUILD-UP REMOVER Liquid or Powder Enzymatic drain cleaner Ends slow drains Safe for all plumbing Cleans and removes years of build-up from plumbing systems Available in 18 oz. powder or liquid which provides up to 40 drain treatments Safe for septic systems CODE # LDC64 (64 oz.) CODE # DC16 (18 oz.)
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It's made by Enforcer & also it appears by ZEP
cheers Bob
I saw it in Home Depot last night
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