Bio clean for a slow drain?

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18,201
Location
NH
Kitchen drain has decided to be slow. Might be from junk from the dishwasher, not sure what. I checked the trap, it was fine. Went to the first clean out is could access, and very carefully cracked. Yep, standing water. That pipe is about 15 foot long so I'm in no hurry to drain it! I can feel the temp in the PVC pipe change as I follow it down, and it appears to be clogged before the next available clean out. Go figure. Since it drains, but slowly, and I suspect the clog in a bad spot in a bad spot, might this bio clean stuff work? All my pipes are PVC, and I don't want anything bad for the septic tank. Everything else in the house drains ok, just not this sink.
 
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Messages
2,011
Location
War Eagle
Need some more info such as is the drain PVC in crawl space, basement, etc Is it easy to get to and work on or difficult access?
 

supton

Thread starter
Messages
18,201
Location
NH
In the basement, so access is good, albeit overhead. I have a tough time believing just one small clog, this is not after the toilet. This three inch line does have the bathroom sink but that seems to drain fine.
 
Messages
2,081
Location
California
Like dja4260 says, snaking the drain would be a good idea. However, Bio-Clean is an excellent product, and I've had good results with it. It's not a fast-working drain cleaner like acid (which may or may not work and is dangerous), but is a bacteria culture which will eat away at deposits. It will be beneficial to your septic tank.
 
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2,011
Location
War Eagle
Get a big 5 gallon bucket. Open the clean out and catch the backed up water. Get a snake from your hardware store. Snake in both directions until you find the clog. Then snake it out real good. After that, put your drain cover back on, boil some water and pour it down the drain and follow by hot water from your faucet for a couple minutes. Then pour down your drain cleaner of choice when you wont use the drain for several hours and let it work. I bet you have a grease type buildup from your kitchen sink and dishwasher. I had this happen and it was a creamy colored clog. I used that technique and mine has worked fine for the past 10 years with no problems. Hope you get it solved easily.
 
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13,226
Location
1/2 hr N.E. of Detroit
Yep, gotta' keep cooking grease out of the drains. I keep jars around for that purpose. Might use an empty peanut butter plastic jar one time........ quart milk jug the next.......etc.....etc. I even throw the greasy paper towel or three in with it, then into the "outdoor" garbage can it goes. On garbage pickup day, when walking the garbage to the front curb, I'll put that jar in my recycle bin and bury the jar on the bottom of the container, so it never creates a glass break into the street, when tipped into the truck backside, by company workers. Anything glassy goes on the bottom of my recycle bin. I'm tired of brooming the street afterwards, seeing glass shrapnel spread out everywhere.
 
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supton

Thread starter
Messages
18,201
Location
NH
Oh, I make sure to not dump grease down the drain. Pretty sure the wife knows not to either. For a bit I thought it might be the bathroom sink causing the clog, as it's further down the line; but that drains well. Feeling the pipe temperature indicates it's right before that sink. Drat. Probably only real choice is to let it sit for a few hours, drain as much as possible, then open the cleanout with a trashcan (a large one) to let it drain into. Sounds like a Saturday afternoon project. Yeech.
 
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6,109
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
The bio cleaners (enzyme thing) has worked for me, but the trick is to get the cleaner into the right part of the pipe and let it stay there long enough. That and repeating your procedure often enough.
 
Messages
2,081
Location
California
Originally Posted By: toneydoc
Get a big 5 gallon bucket. Open the clean out and catch the backed up water. Get a snake from your hardware store. Snake in both directions until you find the clog. Then snake it out real good. After that, put your drain cover back on, boil some water and pour it down the drain and follow by hot water from your faucet for a couple minutes. Then pour down your drain cleaner of choice when you wont use the drain for several hours and let it work. I bet you have a grease type buildup from your kitchen sink and dishwasher. I had this happen and it was a creamy colored clog. I used that technique and mine has worked fine for the past 10 years with no problems. Hope you get it solved easily.
Do NOT pour boiling water down a drain! Drain pipe isn't rated for those temperatures, and PVC is most definitely not tolerant of high temps. I know people have done it for decades, and cast iron pipe may be a little more forgiving, but the UPC forbids discharge of any waste over 160 deg. F into the sewer system. 160 is still pretty hot.
 

JTK

Messages
13,521
Location
Buffalo, NY
Like suggested, you need to run a snake down your drain. I'd start by pulling the trap under the sink and snake as far as it will go. If it's all PVC, you can easily cut the pipe in an accessible spot to run the snake through, and re-attach with a Fernco rubber coupler. I just went through the same thing with our kitchen sink. All plastic drain piping. I bought a ~25' heavy-duty snake and the whole 25' went in from under the sink. Draining down nice now. I've got a good 30ft of barely pitched PCV in the basement for this particular sink drain.
 

supton

Thread starter
Messages
18,201
Location
NH
Was in a good mood last night, and it had several hours to drain before I got home, so I cracked open a cleanout and had at it. Yeech! Disgusting. But it seems to be draining now. Probably needs to be done again and/or could use the bio-clean, as that sink doesn't rattle like it used to from flushing the toilet. It's funny, the first cleanout on this line, the one right under the sink, has the cleanout right next to a joist. Thankfully it only goes 6' and then there is a cleanout at the next 90 degree. Why would pouring boiling water be bad? People have been dumping boiling hot water down the sink for decades--not sure how else you cook macaroni, short of dumping it outside. I'm guessing even a couple of gallons will cool off rapidly.
 
Messages
2,081
Location
California
Originally Posted By: supton
Why would pouring boiling water be bad? People have been dumping boiling hot water down the sink for decades--not sure how else you cook macaroni, short of dumping it outside. I'm guessing even a couple of gallons will cool off rapidly.
Well, it's your pipe, do what you want. However, the maximum temperature rating for PVC pipe is 140 deg. F according to Harvel, a major manufacturer of thermoplastic pipe. In my experience (approx. 30 years in the plumbing trade), the kitchen drain is the first to fail. This may be due to the interaction of the greases and detergents that go down these drains, but it may have something to do with people pouring boiling water down the sink as well. If I am going to drain some noodles or whatever, I run the cold water at the same time. Just as an aside, I recently replaced and re-routed a kitchen drain in my church. It's under a slab, so we had quite a bit of jackhammering to do. The original plan was to tie into the ABS drain pipe that had been replaced, possibly in the 90's, but it was cracked all the way to both sinks. I realize that ABS and PVC are not the same thing, but I only see two reasons why this pipe would have failed: 1. It could have been defective. 2. Large quantities of boiling water (churches often use big pots). Industrial machines that discharge excessively hot water into the drainage system are required to temper it with cold water, usually by using an automatic valve.
 
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