If boiling water is poured down a drain, what is more likely to melt first? Tubing or gaskets?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Studly, May 4, 2021 at 7:45 AM.

  1. Studly

    Studly Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    One night, my wife poured a large pot of recently boiled water down the kitchen sink drain. After that we noticed a strong chemical smell coming from the sink drain, which eventually went away.

    We have a polypropylene P trap below that sink. I explained to her not to do that anymore, and even though she doesn't, if we run hot tap water in the sink and it goes down the drain, that chemical smell will return. Doesn't happen with cold or warm water however.

    I haven't pulled the trap apart and looked inside yet and everything looks normal from the outside and it does not leak, but I figure something must be partially melted in that drain. Was going to replace the J-bend since I figured that's where the boiling water would have settled for the longest time and maybe it's partially melted on the inside. But then I had the idea that maybe it's the plastic/rubber compression gaskets that may be most susceptible to melting?

    Any guesses on what is most likely to melt first?
     
  2. Tuttles Revenge

    Tuttles Revenge In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Hmm.. i'm certain that boiling water is poured down drains all the time.. boiling water is 200-212°f depending on elevevation.. PVC, what most p-traps are made of, is rated at 140°f while Polypropylene has the widest range and highest use temperature (up to 180° continuous, 212°F intermittent temperature) of any polyolefin commercially avail able.

    The smell would likely be from melted pvc drain parts or perhaps a basket strainer that is partially plastic construction and would have been the first to get hit with the heat.
     
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  4. Studly

    Studly Member

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the helpful info! Yeah, it also smells when the dishwasher is draining hot water into that drain, before the P-trap. So that would rule out the basket strainer. But good idea to check for that too.
     
  5. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Possibly you may have bacteria causing the smell try using bleach and let it stand for a while
     
  6. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
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    Retired
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    Orlando, Florida
    Is there a disposal? I would change everything from the basket to the wall, all inexpensive parts and easy to replace. I would also replace the dishwasher drain hose, then everything is clean. One trick my mother always did, run the cold water as you empty a pot of boiling water into the sink.

    The help clean with bleach as Sylvan suggested and I have done it, run a dishwasher cycle with bleach with no dishes nor utensils.
     
  7. Studly

    Studly Member

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    Location:
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    Yup, good idea but tried that already. Did not change anything. This is definitely a chemical smell and it only happens with hot water.
     
  8. Studly

    Studly Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    No disposal, and yes, I already told my wife that cold water trick if she has to pour anything down the drain that is really hot. Good tips ... thanks.
     
  9. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
    DO NOT RUN BLEACH in stainless dishwasher or one with stainless parts. it will vinegar. Half gallon vinegar and a box of backing soda. Dump vinegar in bottom throw in baking soda turn on normal. Skip the drying cycle.
     
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  10. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York

    Wow and all these decades I had a stainless steel washing machine drum and had washing machines drain into an indirect waste into a stainless steel slop sink



    https://www.clorox.com/how-to/hard-surface-cleaning/metals/how-to-clean-stainless-steel/


     
  11. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
  12. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Sylvan, please make sure they don't hear about this in NYC, or they will make everyone use blast furnace ceramic coated traps in the kitchen sinks.
     
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  13. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
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    Retired
    Location:
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    There are dishwasher cleaners that are citrus acid base. I've used this cleaner in both plastic and SS. It does a good job of removing hard water scale and soap scum that builds up. My daughter-in-law wanted a new dishwasher since theirs looked bad and it was a only a few years old bought by the previous homeowner. Ran the cleaner through one cycle and the plastic tub looked like new. My other son's home, the SS was in bad shape and poor performance. I cleaned the spray arms of debris and ran one of these bottles through a cycle and the same, it looked like new.
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Here is a blast from the past 2003 from plumbing mechanical publication

    He Said, I Said
    I happened to be in a home center this morning looking for some light bulbs when I came upon the plumbing department. A homeowner just happened to be looking for some advice and was asking the store person about pumps for his heating system.
    The storeperson said, "No problem. Take this one."

    At this point I had to say something and asked the heating salesman the following: Was this "pump" a centrifugal, rotary, or reciprocating? He just shrugged his shoulders.

    I asked if this was a centrifugal "pump" was it horizontal or vertical? He said, "Let me look at the box again." I then asked if it's a rotary pump, is it a vane, gear, piston, lobe progressing cavity, peristaltic or screw type?

    He said, "Let me get my manager." A few minutes later the manager comes along with the store person and asks if he can help.

    I said, "You sell pumps, correct?" He said "Yes." I said, "What types do you sell for heating?" He said, "We sell one type that fits most applications." I said, "Do you mind if I ask you some questions regarding this one-size-fits-all pump?" He said, "No problem. That's why I'm here."

    I said, "Fantastic. This one pump you sell: How does it know the TDH of the system and the required flow rate?" He asked me what TDH was, and I told him "Total Discharge Head."

    I was faced with three blank looks.

    Finally one said it doesn't matter because the pump "knows" what it needs to do. I said, "What about pipe loss and Hazen Williams formulas or Darcy formulas or the friction factor based on Reynolds number and laminar flow as opposed to turbulent flow?"

    Then another store employee came over and said he was a plumber. I said, "Great. Where are you licensed?" He said he didn't need a license as he knows it from doing it. He then went on to explain why this great pump is automatic and can handle all kinds of water as it only draws the power it needs to move water around. I asked how fast does it move the water? He said a few miles per hour, with that I left the store saying thank you.

    Now I am curious as to how insurance companies pay off claims to nonlicensed folks dabbling in very technical trades. Here we have stores selling "pumps" to anyone who walks through the door thinking they can get a crash course from these shopkeepers in blue jeans.

    Let's make it mandatory that to buy this type of equipment that the buyer must require proof of a license to show they know what they're doing. I know when I went for my hunting license I had to show proof of taking a hunting safety course. It's a national disgrace the number of folks who die from bad installations that are done without requiring formal training by anyone tinkering out in the field.

    Sylvan Tieger
    S. Tieger Plumbing Co. Inc.
    Riverdale, N.Y.
     
  15. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    There is one license that does not need training, a "marriage license", and look at the mess many are in. Even Bezos and Gates couldn't figure it out.
     
  16. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    What if the pump is for an application like brewing beer or some industrial application where a licensed plumber might not be involved? I'd also say that there's plenty of licensed plumbers who cannot spec a pump, perhaps a person should have to present a mechanical schedule stamped by an engineer?

    It wouldn't help me though, last time I needed a pump, I went to the supply and bought it, and then swapped it for the same model pump that had failed. Thay got me up and running same day.
     
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