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
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?
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
When the level subsides add another kettle of hot water.
Repeat as necessary.
This GENERALLY clears MOST blockages that aren't totally mechanical.
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
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...)
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
It is clear you have never done this yourself, and don't have a clue.
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
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.)
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.
And I suppose steam from a kettle can't burn you either.
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.
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.
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 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.
Dave Fawthrop <sf hyphenologist.co.uk> 165 *Free* SF ebooks.
165 Sci Fi books on CDROM, from Project Gutenberg
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