Saturday, March 01, 2014

Plumbing in My Underwear (Not a Euphemism)

Don't you hate it when something minor turns into a big thing and derails your entire day?

That happened to me yesterday. Our sink had been clogged. Slow to drain, but repeatedly clogging. When I got home from work today I tried a new, all-natural de-clogger. Didn't work. So I plunged the sink for a while. (It's okay, the all-natural de-clogger instructions said to do it. It's not like Drano.)

Ugh. I first sucked up black bits and junk and brackish water that smelled like vomit. I plunged and plunged and got nowhere. So I got a bin, put it under the pipes, and unscrewed the trap. Despite my care, the water (far more water than was in the sink itself) gushed out, bounced off the bottom of the bin, and soaked my sweatshirt.

Did I mention the water smelled like vomit?

So I took off the sweatshirt. A few minutes later, I got up and realized I had not caught the water on the floor, and I had a wet patch on my jeans. Off came the jeans.

And yes, wearing only my undergarments, I fished the trap out of the black, sick-smelling water. It was perfectly clear. Yay. Notice the lack of exclamation point. That's because the trap wasn't clear because the clog fell out of it. Oh, no. Because I replaced it and tried the sink again, and up swelled the water.

At this point, I had to go pick up Number Two at school and take her for a doctor's appointment, so I put on some clothes, threw my yucky-smelling ones into the washing machine, took care of all that, and came back, changed into old, household-chore-type clothes, and tackled the damned sink again. Fully dressed this time. So of course, I got wet again.

This time I took off several pieces of PVC pipe. All clear. It appears the main pipe into the wall is where the clog is. Due to a combination of the builder's stupidity and our installation of a deep sink, the pipes are a little convoluted. But using drain cleaner/de-clogger probably isn't going to work because it will sit in the trap instead of being pushed up to where the clog is. We can't snake it because the snake won't navigate two bends. So I'm probably calling a plumber on Monday.

On the plus side, see that piece of duct tape on the back of the sink in the photo above? I replaced that with a tightly sealed white cap. I can also proudly report that after a leeetle trial and error, I got all the weirdly cut PVC jointing back together and nothing is leaking.

At least I can feel accomplished about something.


LBDDiaries said...

WHAT a nightmare! I can recommend as preventative maintenance that once a month put some baking soda down the drain, pour some white vinegar, let it bubble then pouring BOILING water on top of that. It "helps" keep things from building up. Learned that trick from my mom (who never had clogged kitchen sinks, smile). Keeps grease from building up, etc. And yay that you did accomplish getting it back together!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I do that, but you have to be able to seal the drain for it to be effective. It doesn't do much good to bubble up into the sink, it has to go down the pipe. :) And I don't have a method for sealing this sink's drain right now. Also, I don't think even that would help. The pipes were all very clean, actually, except at the fittings. The problem is HOPEFULLY in the main pipe that goes into the wall, where a plumber with the proper tools to get it disconnected can get to it, and not way deep in the wall. THAT will suck to no end.

James Warren said...

Awww! That’s mean! Getting soaked by that stinky water is no joke. Others never trust themselves getting their hands dirty on a situation like that. I think you can seek the help of professionals to re-install your pipes so that you’re rest assured that clogging won’t happen again.

James Warren

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It's all taken care of, James! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Roxanne Vaughn said...

Owww! Of all the things you shouldn't have had to put up with, much less anyone. I'm guessing the sink situation has improved at this point? It ought to, as that is a problem that must definitely be ceased in all households, which, I figure, is a totally attainable possibility.

Roxanne Vaughn @ Total Plumbing

Martha Ward said...

That can be quite upsetting. Smelly water aside, at least you're done with that impromptu trial you went through, enough to elaborate on it. I'm sure you'll be able to find solutions somewhere, and follow the source of the water problem to its location. Good luck!

Martha Ward @ Son-Rise Plumbing