slow drain

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by jeremytl, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. jeremytl

    jeremytl Scientist

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    durham, nc
    Hello friends,
    I live in the country with a septic tank and well. All is fine except the tub and sink in the one bathroom we have, drains slow l y. A friend suggested muriatic acid, I googled it and it came up as hydrochloric acid on wikipedia. However, it did not say whether or not it was safe for my pipes and drain system. Most of my pipes are copper but the main drain pipe from the one bathroom is cast iron. Can I use this stuff or should I "consult a physician"?

    If the drain looks like the one below, you may need to pull the "shoe" out with a wire coat hanger.

    I snake from the upper overflow, but the linkage and the stopper need to be pulled out first.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2009
  2. Inspektor Ludwig

    Inspektor Ludwig Journeyman/Inspector

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    In the good ol' UPC
    I never use drain cleaners because of the chemicals and because you have a septic system. I'd try a bio type cleaner that uses enzymes and bacteria first. See if you can remove any hair that may be trapped just inside the drain. This may seem hokey but since you probably don't have snake take a wire hanger and untwist the ends. Use the twisted side as a makeshift snake but don't go too far just a little inside the tub drain to see if you can catch any hair. They also make a "Jet" type drain cleaner which uses pressure to clean out the pipes you can try that too, vinegar, coke, coffee, nair, I've heard of all these things being used with varying degrees of success but it's worth a try. I would use harsh chemicals as a last resort only.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,043
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    acid

    Muriatic acid does NOTHING to clear the material in a drain. A different acid does, but it is dangerous to use by itself. Many drain cleaners have a sulfuric acid component, and if ANY chemical is going to help, that might do it. ANY acid or chemical used in a drain line,if it does "work" however, does not "clear" it, it merely opens the smallest amount necessary for the chemical to drain through and go down the drain. Once that small hole closes up again, the stoppage comes back.
  4. jeremytl

    jeremytl Scientist

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    durham, nc
    plumber/ drain service recommendation

    I am resorting to calling a professional. I have dealt with the slow drains for too long. The septic tank was pumped out last year so its not that backing up.

    Looking in the phone book for companies that specialize in drain cleaning is a daunting task. I have no idea who to call. I thought about one of the common ones like roto rooter. Can any one shed some light on how to choose someone to come out? What questions should I ask?
    many thanks
  5. Inspektor Ludwig

    Inspektor Ludwig Journeyman/Inspector

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    In the good ol' UPC
    Drain cleaners are not required to be licensed plumbers so I would have them come out and snake the line only. If they offer to do any plumbing then ask to see their license. If you can afford it I would have them camera the line to see what is causing it to drain slow.
  6. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    Lots of times the connection going into the septic tank sags and causes solids to build up.

    If you are truly calling someone blind I would pick someone with a decent sized ad in the phone book. My reasoning? Because those ads aren't cheap and you can be sure that someone who puts in a good ad in the phone book isn't in the business for a week but for the long haul. This would give me security knowing they care about doing a good job.

    Good luck with it.
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