Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Clogged Sinks

I've hit a bit of a wall of complacency and haven't done as much as I'd like on the barn, but I know I'll get back to it soon enough. The thing isn't going away any time soon. In fact, our doors just arrived and the windows are here, just crying to be installed. Of course, since this is new territory for me, and I've been told you really need to do it right, I've opted to put it off until they magically insert themselves into the rough openings. You never know, it could happen.

Also, I'm suddenly no longer at a loss for contracting help. Now that Winter has set in, the cold weather usually spells a slowdown for building projects, and the hands of experience start to come out of the woodworks filled with explanations of why they never returned my desperate pleas for assistance and now have plenty of time to help me. Whatever be the case, I think I'll be able to find someone to help me put those windows in, though I think my Mentor's friend B gets credit because he's one of the only ones who not only returned my calls, but actually showed up on our front door, albeit a week later than I'd hoped. If you can believe this one, I actually told him I didn't need him because I'd already finished framing the rough openings. How's that for cocky? That sort of thing always comes back to haunt me.

And it's not as if I'm at a loss for things to do around the house. There are assorted shelves to be built and attic issues that give me loads of anxiety because I keep putting them off... sort of. For all it's worth, some things have been done, and I have a plan.

Speaking of around the house, we had some sink issues that were the last thing I really wanted to deal with. Plumbing is not fun stuff, those guys really earn their pay. Somehow both of our sinks were slow to drain, and as hard as I tried to put it off, it came to head and could no longer be ignored. There's something about a clogged sink after four people have brushed their teeth that can no longer be ignored.

In a previous life, I would have opted for the quick and easy city-boy approach: pour Drano down the drain. Now that we have a septic system and can't and have to aware of what we put down there, I went in search of a better solution. I thought bleach would do the trick, but of course, it would fry our septic flora, plus stink up the bathroom with toxic fumes. It's not used in chemical weapons for nothing.

I went to Woodstock Home and Hardware looking for organic, eco-friendly Drano, and as you might have guessed, it simply doesn't exist. The guy at the store gave me the hard line and said there isn't an easy way around it. You have to go down in there and pull out the blockage, usually a hair ball. How does hair get down the sink?

So I did it. It wasn't pretty, and I didn't have anybody lining up to watch me extract the offending material, and offending it was. The upstairs sink wasn't so bad because I'd actually replaced the plunger when we first moved in. The downstairs sink, on the other hand, had years of buildup, and had never been cleaned. The black death mold was so thick that I had to run my fingers down the plunger, which has an "X" shape, to remove the stuff. Even though I was wearing gloves, it was still brutal, they don't make gloves thick enough, but it did the trick. I've vowed to somehow stay on top of this problem, which unfortunately means I'll give it some thought in the first few days and then forget about it until the problem crops up again, but some thought is better than none, right?

Now the sinks are draining well, everyone is happy, and life goes on... at least until the next big project. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Vaughan Willis for the pic.


MMP said...

One thing you can do is occaisionally put a good quantity of hot water down the drain. Let it sit for five or ten minutes, long enough to heat up the pipe and it's contents. Use a plumber's plunger to vigorously agitate the water to breakup any buildup. Follow with a good multi gallon flush to push anything down and out. The hot water will loosen things up but by the time it reaches your septic tank, it will have cooled. In any event, you would be pretty hard pressed to put a large enough volume to measureably change the temperature in your probably 1000+ gallon septic tank.

phredude said...

Dear MMP,

Thanks a bunch for the advice, I'll give it a go. In the end, it's not an insurmountable problem, though it's unpleasant (to say the least). Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Happy Holidays.