Blocked toilet help

Our downstairs toilet is suffering from a blockage, after a couple of flushes the water level in the bowl rises and takes about 20mins to drain away.
I've pulled the loo out and the U-bend is clear, so went on to shoving a flexible spring thing down the soil pipe which gets stuck after about a metre or so. My problem is that the soil pipe bends as it enters the conrete floor and disappears under the house, I also suspect another bend down there somewhere from the feel of the springy thing. The vertical stack at the back of the house (which I assume it joins to) has no access point and the only manhole cover I can find is at the furtherest corner from the WC and rods won't reach !
Is there anything I can do from the WC end to try and shift the blockage?
Thanks
Jim
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Jim wrote:

Try caustic soda - the DIY sheds all sell it. Follow the instuctions! May/may not work depending in the blockage, but cheap & easy to try.
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On 15 Apr, 11:07, "The Medway Handyman"

Hot caustic is much more effective, but be real careful with it, it spits and eats eyeballs, so proper eyewear always.
NT
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Jim wrote:

Its time ewe hd another 'boiling hot caustic soda' thread, innit?
empty as much of the bowl as you can by pushing the water past the U bend, and tip in a whole shitload of caustic soda, followed by a kettle of boiling water.
Yes it fizzes and spits a bit..but the point is to get hot caustic TO the blockage.
When the level subsides add another kettle of hot water.
Repeat as necessary.
This GENERALLY clears MOST blockages that aren't totally mechanical.
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In my experience, caustic soda can be as difficult to dissolve once it sticks together, as any other pipe blocking agent. If your pipes are plastic, and you put it in dry, it might even make enough heat to melt them...
I have found a garden hose to be the most useful thing for unblocking pipes, as the fairly rigid sort can be both a jet blaster and a scraper if you shove it back and forth enough. Obviously, if you have crammed the pipe with undissolved caustic, you might want to avoid the splashes - or in this case, the sh**!
Using the hose like this also gives you the option of attaching to the hot water tap to help melt any grease that might 'accidentally' have been poured down the kitchen plughole by lazy washers up - or that awful 'env friendly' virtually insoluble washing powder that sets solid in any horizontal ish outlets from washing machines... (This latter, a much better option than digging up the kitchen floor I find...)
S

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spamlet wrote:

I think you probably mean washing soda. Caustic soda dissolves in a flash on the merest contact with water.It is also very hard for it to get above the boiling point of water, since it is the reaction with water that heats it. If the pipes will take boiling water they will take caustic.
It is clear you have never done this yourself, and don't have a clue.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

He's right about it not dissolving quickly though. It will form a lump if you just dump it in water
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wrote:

mine always dissolves in hot water very vigorously. I'll say no more
NT
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snipped-for-privacy@care2.com wrote:

So does mine.
I think its the case that people are talking about washing soda, not caustic.

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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

I used to dissolve 25kgs of caustic at a time and I can assure you that, without reasonable agitation, the pellets will form a lump, which dissolves much more slowly. You're lucky if it hasn't solidified in storage before you start
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No, they are correct if you pour sodium hydroxide pearls into cold water without agitation they will clump together and form a mass that takes a long time to dissolve.
Try it for yourself.
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Thanks for the back up folks: having had to make up countless baths of caustic soda over many years - as part of an anodising process production line - take it from me that our buyers would not have let us buy 10 gallon drums of ready made up 50% caustic if there had not been a regular problem of charge hands trying to pour pellets into water much too quickly and blocking up the whole system for hours while we then tried to dissolve the resulting 'caustic berg' and having to replace whole sections of pipe work that water would never reach again(Occasionally they would pour in 10 gal drums of conc hydrochloric too - or even bleach - which can be really exciting!). Indeed, the reason that caustic is generally available industrially as 'pearl' - granules the size of split peas - is to take advantage of the reduced ability of the lower surface area thus presented to take up water from the air, as would happen much more rapidly with powder. Why do so many people out there immediately jump to call others liar?
Furthermore, those thinking of using this stuff in enamel and even glassware, might like to note that it will gradually dissolve even these - which is why when you see caustic solution bottles in labs they are nearly always cloudy: and why you shouldn't put decent glasses in the dishwasher... Those OH- ions are gonna do their stuff whatever the chemical you used to get them into solution (Which is why your caustic phosphate containing washing powders tell you not to put them in the bath.).
I might add that as well as in the lab, I have had on a number of occasions had to risk getting burned trying to remove solidified caustic soda from drains, after people just dumped it in without dissolving it first. They are not entirely foolish in using the granules directly as, if you can coat say a lump of hair with the powder it will quickly burn it away (hence don't try applying it with a natural brush!), and it is only natural not to want to pour the stuff away before it has had time to work: but for completely blocked systems, unless you have a constant replenishment of water over some time, the water immediately in contact with the caustic rapidly saturates and you are then stuck and have to call me out with my long hose to put a jet of water where it is needed.
Washing soda, on the other hand, naturally has an enormous amount of 'water of crystalisation', but is sold in a low state of hydration (cos we don't want to be buying water unnecessarily do we?). This means that once you have opened the bag, you better use it quick, cos next time you look it will be just one big lump - having absorbed loads of water from the air - and you'll need a hammer to deal with it. This is a shame because I consider this, along with caustic, citric acid (available in decent sized bags from Asian food shops I find) and bicarb, meths and white spirit, to be some of the 'must have' essential chemicals for around the home (10% citric with a dash of washing up liquid seems to clean just about anything round the kitchen and bathroom, I find.)
Cheers,
S
wrote:

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If you read the instructions you will find that only an idiot would try to dissolve caustic soda in hot water. If you did this on my production line you would be breaking the health and safety at work regulations and endangering your colleagues: committing an offence.
S

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And I suppose steam from a kettle can't burn you either. Idiot.
I suppose I should qualify a little as my 'melt' was not used as an exact physical term, but was meant to include the whole gamut of undesirable distortions due to softening. Don't forget that plastic pipework is commercially assembled with hot air welders.
S

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"Jim" wrote:

I find that an empty 2 or 3 litre lemonade-type plastic bottle makes an excellent disposable toilet plunger. Cut the bottom off and hold the neck/screw cap, then with plenty of water in the bowl/pipe make vigorous repeated plunging movements until the blockage suddenly goes whoosh. This isn't a five minute job, I have known it take an hour or two. As always, confidence, courage, tenacity and persistence is the key to success. Nose peg, mask, goggles, wellies and gloves should be worn as appropriate. This assumes that the material causing the blockage is shiftable and is not related to a drain collapse.
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Thanks to everyone that responded, a combination of caustic soda, hot water and vigorous plunging seem to have done the trick !!
Have to say the empty drinks bottle is an incredibly effective plunger and most definitely my favourite tip picked up from this group :)
Thanks again
Jim
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But you have to drink the stuff in it first :-(
Mary
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Yes, but after 2 litres of scrumpy you don't care about the smell, the suspicious matter in the water, the fact that you've decorated the bathroom with brown polka dots etc :)
Jim
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Jim wrote:

I thought scrumpy came in reused glass pop bottles, wrapped in sacking ;-)
Owain
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|!Thanks to everyone that responded, a combination of caustic soda, hot water |!and vigorous plunging seem to have done the trick !! |! |!Have to say the empty drinks bottle is an incredibly effective plunger and |!most definitely my favourite tip picked up from this group :)
Bit late now, but I have been out enjoying the good weather. I am surprised that no body suggested a Plumbers Plunger. IME an essential DIY tool.
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