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Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Posted by loris Z6 NJ (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 4, 07 at 11:17

Hello. I was glad to see this on the list of new forums. By some people's standards I'm green, but I'm sure by many people's standards I'm not. I am very concerned about the environment and trying to learn about this topic, and be greener than I am now.

I'm hoping somebody here will have ideas about safer alternatives for dealing with slow running drains. If it's for a commercial product I'm hoping it's one you actually have experience with.

Thanks. -- Lori


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

If the clog seems to be in just one sink, take off the trap (the "U" shaped piece of pipe below the sink) and clean it out. That's where most grease and debris collects. If that doesn't help, or if more than one drain is slow, the clog is probably beyond the reach of any home remedy and may need professional help. Many plumbing companies have a drain cleaning tool that doesn't use chemicals. Or if you're especially handy, you might be able to rent one from a local hardware store.

Once the drains are clean, a weekly dose of vinegar and baking soda followed by a rinse with very hot water will keep most drains free running.

I stopped using chemical drain cleaners of any kind many years ago when I realized how dangerous they were to the user. A splash in the eyes can be very serious.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

If it's just an ordinary slow running drain and nothing really serious, an ordinary plunger used with hot water works wonders. I make sure I plunge my drains every week or two and have not had any problems since.

Kevin


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Agree with the hot water approach. When a drain starts slowing, I pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. This often clears up the problem.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Great ideas, but just one more thought. Which drain is clogged ? If it's the kitchen sink / dishwasher, try to be more careful about grease going down the drain. Even very small amounts add up. If it's the shower, it's a combination of hair & conditioner. Try to encourage family members to use less conditioner. Also, the tub drain is, at least in my house, covered by a circle of thin metal that's been perforated with many small holes. It has a screw in the middle. Lots of hair accumulates over this little circle & it's easy to wipe the hair up. Unfortunately, huge amounts of hair go right through the little holes & under the circular plate. If you unscrew the plate. you'll find a disgusting blob of hair & conditioner lodged on a crosspiece underneath. Pulling this out is not fun, but I find that doing it at least once a month has kept the shower drain in good working order and we no longer need to use drain cleaner.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

It doesn't work all that well for an already-clogged drain (though it does work), but those microbial drain cleaners that are out there do a good job of keeping drains clear. The microbes are non-toxic and biodegradable -- after they've chewed on the fats and proteins in your drains. And much easier to use than pulling globs of hair out of drains, especially in tubs where the drain makes this sharp turn right away.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

The problem drains are the tub and sink in our master bath. DH deals with the slowness more than I have and he is fairly strong in some opinions as to what he doesnt want us trying , due to various concerns. I will try the suggestion of going after the hair in the tub under the circular plate. Before steve_o had posted, DH mentioned that in the past he had used an enzyme product with success, but hasnt seen it available near us lately. If anybody has a mail-order or internet source or a product name thatd be great. Thank you all for your responses!

Lori


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

I use Earth Enzymes drain cleaner regularly and find it works very well. Before I started to use this @ 5 years ago, I used to regularly take the bath & kitchen traps apart and clean them. I found I didn't need to after using the enzymes. There are other similar products, but his is the one I'm familiar with. I buy it at the co-op. I just did a google search -- no affiliation with or recommendation of this company selling it.

Here is a link that might be useful: earth enzymes


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks for the link !


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks althea! Looks good. -- Lori


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Checked my cupboard -- BioClean is another brand of enzymatic/microbial drain cleaner.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks steve_o, I jotted that down. -- Lori


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

  • Posted by bry84 England (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 11, 07 at 15:25

I've found boiling water and soda crystals (sometimes called washing soda) excellent for clearing slow drains. It helps to leave it overnight.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks bry84. For some reason though, DH seems to think the hot or boiling water methods may give us problems further down where they'll be harder to deal with. I honestly don't know, but since he'd probably be the one dealing with problems if they did occur, I won't press the point.

Lori


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Garden's Alive catalog has organtic drain cleaners. Might be worth a try.

http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=1549&ss=drain cleaner


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks scrappyjack.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

There is a mechanical drain cleaner called something like Zip It that we got at our big evil hardware store. It's a long (about 24") flexible plastic thing with a ring on one end and sharp barbs all down it. You stick it in the drain, use the ring to yank it back up, and the barbs pull up tons and tons of glop.

They say to dispose of it after one use but I don't see why you couldn't clean and store it as long as you're careful of those barbs.

Kristin


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Kristin, do you mean a drain snake?

That is the second to the last restort here. The last resort is calling the plumber. After having to snake the kitchen drain once, I started cleaning the traps annually, and now use the enzymes instead.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

been using this method for 40 years and nary a problem. I have a septic tank:

Pour 1/2 box of baking soda down drain and follow with 2-3 cups of vinegar. Pour slowly and it will fizz up and as it slows down pour some more. I see someone ese suggested this earlier and it is the best you can do for your plumbing and the enviroment. It is said that Cleopatra dissolved a string of beads in a cup of vinegar.-say enough??


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks Kristin and jleek.

jleek,

I'll run that idea past DH again, but I think he'll be tough to convince.

Lori


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

No, it's not the same as a drain snake -- we have one of those too. It's lightweight, plastic and about 2 feet long, IIRC. It's mainly good for getting out clogs caused by hair and things that get trapped not-too-far into the drain; not for really far down like a snake would be.

Kristin


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

They make covers for the drains that allow water thru but not hair. Well worth the few bucks they cost.
For sink drains I had a tip given to me by a plumber. He says to fill both sides of the sink with hot water once a week and then open them up at the same time and let the water drain. It will help clean out the grease that builds up from washing dishes. I got this tip about 20 yrs. ago and have used it. NEVER have had a clogged kitchen drain since.
BTW I usually use hot water from the food I cooked on one side and from the washed dishes on the other so I'm not burning fuel to keep my drains clean.


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RE: Hello and question on alternatives for slow running drains?

Thanks Carol


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