January 15, 2008

Adventures in Plumbing

Lately, a good deal of my life has been devoted to plumbing. Let me assure you, it has been an adventure!

I had a clogged bathtub.

First I tried snaking and plunging. Days of snaking and plunging and Liquid Plumber. All to no avail. Being stubborn, I just tried harder. The real disaster came on day 3. I decided to try a new pure sulfuric acid plumbing product.

It was a new sort of drain cleaner which is primarily pure sulfuric acid. I had never seen this product before, so being curious about how effective it might be, I bought some.

Let me tell you, the results were a total disaster! Worse than the clogged drain!

I carefully read the instructions... I poured the cleaner down the drain as instructed and covered it with a pan. 5 minutes later I noticed an awful egg smell... even from way upstairs. I rushed down and ran the cold water. The drain was not unplugged... the water backed up into the tub. The egg smell in the bathroom was truly toxic... unbelievable. I opened all the windows and doors and put on an exhaust fan. Even 4 hours later the smell was still there.

But I'm not complaining about the awful smell. What SHOCKED me was that the previously antique ivory tub was now stained with horrible ugly brown stains, just from the sulfuric acid fumes! (photo) This was some sort of chemical reaction that was horrifying to experience!!!

I tried scrubbing the stains with an abrasive cleanser. No effect whatsoever! These stains appeared to be permanent! I can't begin to tell you how angry this made me... the thought of a lawsuit crossed my mind. I was VERY UPSET. Mental anguish would be putting it mildly.

And to top it all off, it had FAILED to unplug my drain.

I searched Google to see if there was anything online about this. I soon found other people having the exact same problem. They recommended Lysol toilet bowl cleaner to remove the stains.

In a moment of inspired despair, I then tried pouring regular Liquid Plumber down the drain.. hoping to at least unplug the drain. But then I noticed another chemical reaction... the Liquid Plumber was removing the horrible stains wherever it made contact with the porcelain. A chemical antidote!

So next I put on a pair of industrial rubber gloves and with a solution of Liquid Plumber and water was able to clean the majority of the stains off! What a lucky accidental discovery! Now at least the tub was restored to it's faded glory. I should have worn a respirator too...

Anyhow, after a week of trying everything under the sun, I finally called in my pal Sal... a real plumber.

Luckily, our only misadventure was cutting through a water pipe. There was water gushing all over for 2 minutes. But now it's all working perfectly and the tub drains so rapidly it almost sounds like a jet powered geyser... less than a minute and it's empty!

First comes the plumbing... then the Art! That's the necessary order of things.

So much for my adventure in plumbing... now it's back to Art! Like Nietsche said... "Man would be a God were it not for his abdomen".



Paula Pertile said...

I can offer no advice about plumbing, but for stains of all kinds, OxyMagic is just that...magic! (Yes, the guy on TV stuff).
Glad you were able to get it all fixed and that your tub is back to its normal color!

PooBahSpiel said...

I feel your pain. Remind me to send you the photo of my kitchen. With its newly installed skylight view of my upstairs bathtub drain. The pipe snapped completely off at the base of the drain and the rest, well, you know.

June said...

But John... what did Sal do to fix things that you hadn't already tried? I feel as if I have been through the whole experience with you without being let into the secret solution to the problem :o)

Glad you can bathe again now... that smell, was it really the sulpher mixture?

John Nez said...

Sal removed the ancient bit of plumbing featured in one my previous bloggings. He just cut out that obsolete bit of clogged of rust, known as the 'drum trap' and put in all new PVC.

It's always best to hire a professional for things like that.

So... both my chronic cloggings are all fixed now! Such joy!


plumber said...

Well, sometimes things happen unexpectedly. Being a plumber gives two results, either you fixed the problem or make it worst. It will be smart to have the experts do the job and learn from them.

Darryl Iorio said...

I feel sorry for the plumbing disaster that you experienced. It was good that you tried your best and was able to restore the tub to its glory. The best thing to do in situations like this is to hire experts to fix the problem for you. Also, avoid using chemicals you're not familiar with or you might cause damage to your tub.

Unknown said...

Your efforts are appreciated, even if it didn't turn out as expected. I suggest that when it comes to plumbing, unless you have enough knowledge and experience, know when to ask for help. Hiring reliable plumbing contractors is the easiest way to get rid of your plumbing woes and avoid further damage.

-Katrina Spencer @ ResQPlumbing