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anything better than drano for clearing a partially blocked galvanized waste line?

anything better than drano for clearing a partially blocked galvanized waste line?

Old 03-24-07, 11:51 AM
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anything better than drano for clearing a partially blocked galvanized waste line?

I was able to snake a galvanized waste line from a bathroom sink that was completely blocked but the flow is still restricted because there was so much junk (not rust) in the line. It still sounds dull and doesn't ring if I tap it with a hammer. Is there any chemical treatment that I could put in the drain to clear the line that wouldn't damage the line, PVC trap, rubber adapter, or galvanized line that can be discharged into a municipal sewer? Drano doesn't seem to do anything. The junk in the line is a black greasy "sludge". There is only graywater discharged to the line though, as the toilet discharges to a different line. Some more information is listed below that might be helpful. I would appreciate any advice that you can offer. Eventually I will have to replace the main waste line but I'm looking to get by for the next 3-5 years without a major project.

I bought an old house that looks like it has had several plumbing fixes over time. I have a galvanized waste line from my bathroom sink that ties into the washer machine waste line but not the toilet waste line - graywater only. The line was completely blocked so I tried to clear it with a snake but could not get all the way to the main because there are several elbows in close proximity in the basement ceiling and there was so much junk in the line. Eventually I had to cut a section of the waste line in the basement below the sharp bends and snake up from there and down to the waste line to unclog it. I put in two new threaded sections and a union and partial flow was restored. The problem is that there was so much sticky junk in the line that the snake didn't completely clear the inside of the pipe. I think that this line was put in to route around an older cast iron line with poured lead joints that is also blocked (dull thud when hit with hammer). Eventually I will have to clean this whole mess up and switch to PVC but I can probably get by until I'm ready to undertake such a major project if I can get the galvanized line clear.

Old 03-24-07, 12:39 PM
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No chemicals will remove what a snake can't.

If you are eventually going to replace the drain lines you could cut out a section of pipe, mechanically clean it and then reinstall using heavy slip on rubber connectors.
If you cut out a heavy section use steel strapping for support and be very carefull when you cut it to make sure there is no remaining chemical in the lines.
Old 03-24-07, 12:43 PM
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rather than using a basic snake, an auger (or cutter head) bit need to be employed. They will scrape the walls of the pipe.

There is a product a friend who owns a septic service uses that he swears by. He has some slow drains (nearly totally blocked) and after using this stuff for about a week, the drain was cleared and flowing well.

I'll have to try to find the name of the stuff.
Old 03-24-07, 03:34 PM
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Have you tried pouring some boiling water down the drain? There are enzyme digester drain cleaners that digest organic goop in drains. Even Drano has an enzyme cleaner called Build-up Remover. Drano also has Max Gel that goes through standing water to work on clogs. This stuff is suppose to be thick and clings to the clog. It will not harm pipes. The recommend it for the toughest clogs.
Old 03-24-07, 11:43 PM
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Thanks for the quick feedback! I really appreciate it.

I should have been a little more clear in my original post... the waste pipe is 1 1/2" galvanized pipe. When I cut out a section (as to clear below the section of elbows) the line was clogged with black gunk with the consistency of bearing grease, literally over the diameter of the pipe. I used a 1/4" pipe snake to clear the line, but I'm certain that there is still a lot of that gunk in the pipe. After restoring flow I tried running hot water through the line until the pipe was hot to touch for several minutes but I'll try boiling water. I tried the drano max-gel product but it doesn't seem to do much. I have another pipe snake that has a slightly larger diameter and a plastic housing that connects to a drill but I was hoping to not have to go through the mess of disconnecting the newly installed union and snaking out the pipe again.

Bottom line: the drain now works but slowly. I'm hoping to find some way to remove all this greasy junk from the line without just replacing all of the piping down to the sewer main. I'll definitely try the other snake before resorting to that but I was hoping for an easier fix... I'm tired of smelling like sewage!
Old 03-25-07, 10:20 AM
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Despite the advertising claims, drain chemicals will not remove that sludge.

The enzyme treatments such as Drain Care are effective over a long run in breaking some of it down, so that flow in the pipe carries some of it away, an it will be easier to augur it. You are correct in your assessment that the 1/4" snake just poked a 1/4" hole in the blockage.

Start the enzyme treatment. Treat one a week for a month. Then once a month for 3 months. Then twice a year. It will make a difference over time. Drano will not.
Old 03-25-07, 11:30 AM
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Clogged line

Sorry for a negative, but you will have to replace the line, the only thing that I know that will clean out the crud [pros. only] has a good chance of causing leaks in the line.
Old 03-26-07, 05:22 AM
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I'm with Shacko on this one. Replace the line, even if done in small sections at a time.

There is only one chemical drain cleaner, I know of, that would touch what you have but the average person can not buy it. Drano is a strong alkaline based product, it works great on hair and minor grease build ups.

Good luck with your project....

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