Every couple of years the drain pipe 10' past the kitchen sink clogs
with white plaster-like material. The cold water from the kitchen is
is unsoftened well water high in minerals. Lately its been clogging
more frequently.We try to put very little grease down the sink. I
suppose the dishwasher is an exception. I expect that the soap that
accompanies it should keep it from clogging.I have a rubber coupling
in the basement through which I shove a 50' blade up the pipe to reach
the clog and eventually smash it open. Then I pour sinkfulls of water
down the sink which flushes the crud into a bucket (mostly). My least
favorite job. RotoRooter will do it for $100/150 bucks. For years i
thought it was congealed grease and not necessarily minerals plating
out. None of the plumbing treatments ever worked, though recently I
tried gallons of boiling hot water/hot vinegar and I think that helps
though I suspect some of my joints gave up with this treatment.
Yesterday I went in the crawl to fix a detached drain pipe which was
also the clogged line and found the clog at that very spot. OK this
was my least favorite job. As I dug the plaster out of the downhill
side of the detached pipe, water came out (uphill?). Now I always
wondered about the slope of this pipe being rather shallow, but water
flowing up? hmmmmm...
I have some chunks of the material and have subjected it to some of
the treatments I've tried in the past. Vinegar does nada. Soap does
nada. Enzymes do nada as well. Still there are things to try. Hot
water hot vinegar. I will take it to the lab and see what I can find
out myself. Is it organic? Inorganic. A mixture? I have the tools. Of
course if I find something that works, it will probably kill all
living things within a 3 mile radius of my house. Any suggestions?
p.s the methylethylketone cleaner/pipe glue failed to hold though the
pipes are popped together and some plumbers putty will have to work
until i can psyche my self into going down there again. I suppose I
should wait until my stiff neck and backache get better as well. Since
I cleaned the clog at the source I suspect it may take a while longer
to happen again.
Well it seems that the stuff is organic as it goes right into organic
solvent (ethyl acetate, CHCl3) and not water, or even soapy water??.
The NMR shows an oil-like pattern (vegetable?). Very little
unsaturation. So all I have to do in the future is pour massive
amounts of organic solvents down my kitchen sink. What could possibly
smileyface here. (won't matter just you wait....;-))).........)
Has someone been pouring solvents down the drain (caused the glue to fail)?
I love mysteries, but have trouble with your chemistry.......two things
come to mind: pigment
settled out of paint, and pvc pipe dissolving. Someone in the household
works with dust/powders
and the stuff comes out in the laundry? I have no idea if/how/why pvc
dissintegrate....just a thought :o)
The closest I could come to solvents down the drain would be boiling
water/vingar to try to clear the clog. Some connections apparently
didn't like that. The other source of stress would be the snake
(blade) I pound thru the pipe to clear the clog.
NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) is a chemist's tool that we use to
see hydrogen atoms. The Medical profession adopted this tech and
renamed it MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) dropping the "nuclear" as
it scared people. It doesn't refer to harmful 'radiation', but it does
have to do with the nucleus of an atom. We spin a small sample of
compund in a magnetic field. MD's spin the magnetic field around the
sample (you). CHCl3, actually, CDCl3 (D-chloroform) is a common
solvent used to dissolve sample for this procedure.
We are running a household with 2 daughters, one off to college, and
we aren't home all day. Maybe someone is using our house as a drug
factory during the day....? Wait! That might explain the $1000 in cash
we find once a month on the kitchen table...hmmm....
When I first moved in there 23 yrs ago, my neighbor helped me clear
that clog. He said that stuff is what happens to grease in the dark.
He may be right. It only happens in the pipe from the kitchen sink, so
trace food waste and bits of fat/oil must be the culprits. PVC
wouldn't dissolve in solvents I used (in the lab) and would have a
distinct pattern in an NMR spectra. We try not to put any amt of oil/
grease down the drain. There are dirty plates in the dishwasher, but
you would expect the soap to keep the grease from gunking out. That is
what soap does. I guess the slope of that pipe allows water to sit
over long periods. I expect now that I've actually cleared the clog at
the source, it won't form again as quickly. I mean that stuff was
stuck to the top of the pipe as well and took a crow bar to break
through. Cheers, and thanks for your interest.
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