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".