It was about 6am when the alarm screamed, I stumbled out of bed into the bathroom to get ready for the day. I had just finished shaving, and rinsed off my razor, pushed the handle to open the drain, nothing happened. The water just sat there. I really didn’t have time to deal with it, so I finish getting dressed. Fifteen minutes later I stuck my head into the bathroom to check, and the water had just about drained out of the sink. The drain was not completely clogged but it was moving so slow it might as well have been. I’ve had this problem in the past and used a plunger and a number of different caustic chemicals to take care of the slow drain, and they did work for a time, but this slow drain problem keeps coming back. I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door to work, thinking, great, something to look forward to when I get back home.
That evening on my way home I stopped at my neighborhood “Big Box Home Improvement Store” (really doesn’t matter which one, they're basically the same). I was rummaging around the plumbing aisle reading labels and trying to decide which drain opener I was going to try this time. Liquid, crystal, don’t use on chrome, wear rubber gloves, don’t breath fumes, don’t spill on counter tops, they all sounded so user friendly.
I had just made my selection when a guy standing about 5 feet from me asked, "Drain Clogged"? We talked for a few seconds, then, he told me he was a “Master Plummer” with over 20 years experience. He went on to give me a quick education into cleaning clogged drain pipes and how to keep them clean. He said that the caustic chemical drain cleaners will work and the best to use were the foaming or thick gel type because they have the ability to stick to the walls of the pipes. He also told me that even though the caustic cleaners work they are dangerous and can potentially cause damage to pipes. Especially if the drain system is older and made of galvanized or cast iron pipes.
He told me that if I didn’t need to use the clogged sink for a couple of days I should try an enzyme drain cleaner and once the drain was opened, I should treat all drains on a bi-monthly routine for the next year, there after moving to a bi-annual routine.
I decided to take his advice and bought an enzyme drain cleaner, and home I went. Following his instructions, I filled a glass with warm water and thoroughly mixed in a tablespoon of the product and slowly poured it into the drain. After the recommended three daily treatments, my drain has been clear for months. I'm very pleased! It's worked much better than those caustic chemicals.
Sink Draining Properly
After my success in correcting my slow running drain, I did some research on Enzyme Drain Cleaners and here is what I learned;
· There are 10’s of millions of bacteria in each spoonful. Each will eat its weight in waste every 60 seconds. They double in number every 30 minutes, and as they multiply they will spread throughout the entire drain system.
· If a clog is made up of biodegradable material an enzyme drain cleaner will attack the clog and remove it, however, in most cases the stoppage is not caused by a blob of something in the trap. Most likely, it is several feet of pipe that is filled with “gunk”, and it may take several days for the bacteria to eat through this long blockage. With this type of blockage it is suggested that a plumbing snake be used to restore the flow. Then begin enzyme treatments to remove any remaining waste build-up. A regular maintenance treatment should then be started.
· Most clogged or slow moving drains will see improvement in a day or two. More stubborn clogs should see results in one to three weeks. The cleaning process is not complete with an initial three day treatment. The time is determined by the type of material the build-up is comprised of grease, soap, hair and the length of the drainage lines.
· Chemical drain cleaners certainly can and sometimes should be used to open clogs quickly, but the strongest chemicals in the world can’t climb the side walls of horizontal pipes. Gravity makes all chemicals run along the bottom of the drain system. Chemicals can’t remove much waste in vertical pipes because they flow through so quickly. The bacteria in enzyme drain cleaners are live and will go anywhere there is food. They will remove the gunk chemicals leave behind.
· Enzyme drain cleaners do not contain acid, lye, solvents, perfume or poisonous substances.
· Enzyme drain cleaners will attack tree roots if they are completely dead. Roots enter sewer pipes seeking the rich organic food supplied by the build-up. As roots feed on the waste they grow, branch out and eventually restrict flow. Periodic use of enough enzyme drain cleaner and water to reach the root area will eliminate the waste they seek. In this way, the use of enzyme drain cleaners can discourage root growth in sewer pipes.
· Periodic use of enzyme drain cleaners can be very beneficial to a septic system. The bacteria in enzyme drain cleaners are specially selected to digest a larger variety of waste, and metabolize it faster than naturally occurring bacteria or yeast additives. Oil, fats, grease and paper are very difficult for intestinal bacteria to handle. Enzyme drain cleaners are very effective on these materials. It increases solids destruction, so fewer pumping are needed.
· Enzyme drain cleaners stop odors by digesting waste which is the source of odor.
· Enzyme drain cleaners will digest hair, but it does take much longer than most any other organic material. In drains, soap scum, skin oils, etc. bond hair to pipe surfaces. Enzyme drain cleaners digest these other materials more quickly, which releases the hair to wash downstream. It would be smart to try to keep hair out of the drain system by using drain screens in sinks and showers where people wash your hair, and bath their pets.
· Clogs in laundry room drains are usually caused by lint and fabric particles building up in the pipes, enzyme drain cleaners are not affective for these types of clogs. These are best removed by using a plumbing snake. To prevent this type of drainage problem use either a store bought lint screen or an old nylon stocking. Place the filter or stocking over the end of your washing machine discharge hose to capture most of the fabric particles.
Better for the environment, and better performance. Can't ask for more, so if you are frustrated by slow or clogged drains, try an enzyme drain cleaner.
The research for this article was taken from information gathered on the internet and from my personal experience in improving slow and clogged drains in my house.
Johne407 on September 27, 2014:
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Plumbers for Repairing in Sunnyvale on April 16, 2013:
Thanks for sharing such an informative article with us. Keep sharing in future too. If anybody needs plumbing services in Sunnyvale visit our business location Quick Plumbing Inc.
stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on May 13, 2011:
A very interesting read. I cut and clean fat from raw chicken almost daily to cook for my family, and for our cats. I plan to look for the product, and try it in our bathtub where stuff drains slow through it. God Bless. Very helpful.
Dave Mathews from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on May 05, 2011:
Thank you this is most useful and appreciated.