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Blocked Sink pipes.


danny
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I have a blocked pipe under the kitchen sink.

 The procedure I followed to resolve the problem was as follows.

1. I inserted the snake into the lower pipe, it is 5 meters in length. I managed to get in 2.60 meters which is the length of the start of the pipe to the wall.

2. I then turned the snake with the handle until it passed the wall and I assume descended, I got in total 4.60 meters into the pipe.

3. I repeated the same procedure 5 times, each time removing very small amounts of limestone.

4. Then I closed off the plug at the start of the pipe and then opened the tap and let water into the system.

5. The water overflowed in the washing machine pipe and did the same in the sink drainage pipe, ie it did not drain properly from the sink.

6. I again drained all of the water out of the lower pipe and used the snake as indicated above 5 times.

7. I then filled the washing machine pipe and the 2 drainer sink pipes with 2.5 liters of hydrochloric acid.

8. I left the acid to sit for 3 hours. It is recommended that any blocage should take 20 minutes to work.

9. I then ran cold water into both the sink and the washing machine pipes, however, the water did not drain away.

10. I then removed the acid from the pipes and inserted the snake again several times.

11. I have dis-assembled all of the pipes under the sink and cleaned all of them, however, they showed very little evidence of a blocage.

The pipes are still blocked.

Can anyone offer advice?  I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment building of 12 apartments. The distance from the start of the drainage pipe to the exterior wall of the building is 2.6 meters.

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It sounds as though you’ve worked extremely hard at sorting this problem out!

I’m afraid that I don’t have any answers for you.

However, a neighbour in our apartment building had a very similar problem. She lives on a corner of the second (top) floor and had problems with her kitchen sink for several years, maybe 8 years and lives there full time. She had called in plumbers quite a few times but the problem was never solved. None of the rest of us had any problems.

Eventually the syndique took the problem she’d had for so long very seriously, and an enormous lump of limescale rock was somehow removed. Sorry, we can’t remember how.

I do remember that it cost a very large amount, and it was paid for by all the co-owners, although she had paid privately for plumbers to try.

I do hope that somebody has a brilliant way of solving your problem and at a reasonable cost. Good luck.
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Thanks for responding.

We had a plumber around this morning, his proposal was to remove and replace all of the pipes which would have involved removing the washing machine, kick boards and a very long cupboard which would mean taking out the integrated cooker etc. his devis was for 620€ plus.
I have this evening forwarded on the details that i have given above to Foncia and expect them to reply to us hopefully tomorrow.
On the other matter regarding the leak into the duplex below us, the matter is nearing resolution after visits from 4 so called experts. We have been told the work will commence in two weeks time to repair the cracks in the outside wall. Apparently the last expert to give an opinion has 33 years experience of dealing with building cracks., he also said that the membrane on our terrace is in perfect condition.

Will keep you advised.

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danny, are you in a hard water area?

From what you have said about trying to clear the problem, there may be a blockage where your pipes meet the building down pipes, caused by long term use. This makes it a common problem that could be in the province of the whole block.

Just check how far it is to the main joint, probably a Y joint. If you clearing spring goes further and the water wont run, then it aint your pipe. And might have been caused by your neighbours cold water hitting your hot water, causing a build up of crud.

Long term solution may be a water softener.

Of course I may be wrong and have misunderstood.
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I used a method for clearing sinks that involved an older wet and dry vacuum cleaner. If you can get to the "last" section of pipe before the blockage, then attach the pipe from the wet and dry and turn it on. You need to make the seal on the pipe as tight as possible, tape or plastic, and block off any down stream remaining openings.

If its something soft/flexible in the pipe it sucks it up. The results can be rather unpleasant to look at and smell!
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The drama continues.
Yesterday Foncia sent around a company that deals with blockages, they used some form of wet hoover cleaner, after an hour he was not able to solve the problem, however he concluded that the blockage was inside our apartment.
So yesterday we found a plumber who came around this morning.
He brought some expensive version of what looked like caustic soda and poured that into the sink, smoke bellowed out of the plug area of the sink for about 15 minutes, it appeared to be quite toxic, he then ran the water however it was still blocked, he then used some form of plunger to get rid of the water that did not drain away.
Unfortunately the white substance that he used burnt through a pipe that connects the overflow pipe to the down pipe in addition the small container under the sink was also destroyed by the white substance.
He then had to leave to go to another problem and will be back tomorrow, if the system is still blocked he proposes to cut the wall in our bedroom placard to access the pipe and do something about solving the problem.

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How 'nice' of him to believe that there was a problem more important than yours.

How professional to burn through your pipes and resevoir. In fact I would be contacting your insurer today about this, what if he doesn't come back?

I cannot say we did not have plumbing problems when we lived in an appt, we did, but that is a very long story and we resolved it ourselves, and reading your story, I am rather glad we did.

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Make sure that you document this, photos etc and get in touch with the management company. They need to take in hand rectifying the damage done to your apartment by their "experts"!

One of our lifts was out out of order yesterday thanks to a plumber with a WC. He hit the door of the lift so hard they knocked it out of whack. Luckily we have an active CS that keeps on top of who pays.

We do get in the borescope companies for external blockages. I have one that attaches to my phone for normal household use. Cleared a blockage on a sliding door with it this week.
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Oh dear - Danny - I am sorry for your tale of woe.

But I couldn't halp thinking of Flanders & Swan - 'Twas on a Monday morning, the gas man came to call...........'

It's hysterical; might cheer you up if you find it on YouTube - whole sorry saga of gas man, plumbers, etc, calling, doing damage to be repaired by another tradesman.

Chessie

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[quote user="chessie"]
Oh dear - Danny - I am sorry for your tale of woe.

But I couldn't halp thinking of Flanders & Swan - 'Twas on a Monday morning, the gas man came to call...........'

It's hysterical; might cheer you up if you find it on YouTube - whole sorry saga of gas man, plumbers, etc, calling, doing damage to be repaired by another tradesman.

Chessie

[/quote]

I don't think I'd heard that one before, although I saw "At the Drop of a Hat" at the Fortune in the late 50's.

It reminds me of an episode in our naïve days in our first house in Mallorca.

My wife saw water running out of the wall of the shower room/toilet, so called in the plumber recommended by our nearby hardware shop. He arrived on a bicycle with his toolbox on the rear carrier. She showed him the problem, and left him to it.

Loud bangs emanated from the room, then the sound of his blowlamp, and he eventually came out to announce it was fixed. My wife looked in, and saw the tiles smashed over about a square metre, and a large hole half way into the wall, with a lazy loop of lead pipe pushed back into it. She asked if he was going to repair the wall, but he replied that he was a plumber, she would have to get a builder to do that.

That visit eventually cost us a lot of time and money. He said that the lead pipe was rotten because it was attacked by the yeso used to lay the blocks of marés from which the house was built, which meant we could have similar problems throughout the house.

The hole in the wall became the front door, replacing the previous one rather inconveniently located in our son's bedroom. The shower room became the entrance hall and a handy cupboard. The kitchen became the new bathroom/toilet, and we built a new kitchen in an extension from the dining room. All the lead plumbing was replaced with copper, and new drains were laid, complete with appropriately located manholes, which were apparently deemed superfluous when the house was built.

We had no plumbing problems for the next 18 years or so, until we moved to France, where I was surprised to find that iron pipe was still being used for water when the house here was built.

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  • 9 months later...

Bonjour,

Il est arrivé la même chose il y a quelques jours à mon fils qui vient d'emménager dans son nouvel appartement. Un plombier est venu déboucher l'évier mais je crains qu'il ne se rebouche... 200€ de plombier alors qu'il a emménagé il y a 3 semaines... j'espère que les propriétaires rembourserons... 

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On 24/03/2021 at 13:25, Théière said:

No sign of someone with a borescope camera who could actually locate the problem? Thats why Management companies and insurers used my services, non destructive track and trace. Still let the Neanderthals play a bit longer.

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From my previous experience with a basin drain blockage in my parent's bungalow.

For years they had a problem with the bathroom basin drain not draining quickly as it should, I tried with various chemical and mechanical methods, they had Dyno Rod in who recommended digging the drains up in the garden, achieved nothing and sent a huge bill which my father paid against my advice.

Culminating in the basin drain blocking up totally. I consulted a plumber friend who told me to go to a small local plumbing supplies shop he used and buy professional drain unblocker. This stuff is dangerous, highly corrosive and is mainly concentrated sulphuric acid. You need to wear heavy rubber gloves and a face shield - not just disposable gloves and safety glasses.

I dismantled the pipework to reveal the plain end of the pipe, carefully poured the stuff down the pipe and waited about 4 hours. It partially unblocked the pipe but not completely.

I then used a wet vac after flushing the pipe with water. The vac brought out a plug of cement mortar complete with much hair and other debris. The acid had partially dissolved the mortar plug and loosened it sufficiently to allow the vac to remove it.

Typical builder's debris, too lazy to get a bucket of water to wash their tools off with, just run the basin tap and let the stuff go down the drain where it sets and remains for 20 years.

I've had drain problems in all 3 new UK houses we  bought through our married life, it was usually plaster or artex washed down drains by the builders not mortar.

This type of deboucher seems to be available in france:-

https://www.cdiscount.com/search/10/deboucheur+professionnel.html?NavigationForm.CurrentSelectedNavigationPath=categorycodepath%2f16|1607|16070G&ref=bn

 

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Yep, Sulphuric Acid.  Amazing stuff and yes, quite dangerous.

When we had a major blockage of our bathtub drain in Bédoin, it was our dear French neighbors who told us about the stuff.  And since their parents were the ones who built the house, she knew exactly where/how to tell me to use the 'stuff.'  Worked like a charm.

I'd have to use it about once every year or so to maintain clean flowing drains.  It was a life saver.  And, not one plumber we called out recommended it to us.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lori said:

Yep, Sulphuric Acid.  Amazing stuff and yes, quite dangerous.

I'd have to use it about once every year or so to maintain clean flowing drains.  It was a life saver.  And, not one plumber we called out recommended it to us.

I would suggest there is an issue if you are having to use it even 1 per year, a bad run of pipe, too shallow a run or even a dip where water can sit.

Just to point out, Bleach is very unlikely to move a blockage, if you have used bleach first, DO NOT put acid down after as this would be very dangerous due to chlorine gas being released.

 

 

 

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Thanks Teapot.  My neighbor briefed me fully about the what to and what NOT to do when using the powerful stuff.

Yes, it was a dip where the pipe turned where water could sit.  Every 15 months or so, natural soap scum, hair, etc. would collect, slowing the drain.  It took only a tiny bit of the stuff to shift it onward.  There were some years when we didn't need it, but it was not a one time and never again type of fix.

1 hour ago, Teapot1 said:

Yes indeed a very common issue, I remember on one job the owner arrived to find his plasterer mixing plaster in his new bath! I kid you not.

UNBELIEVABLE, well maybe not.  I would have been livid !

 

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We also have a downstairs toilet than is prone to getting blocked. Rather than dig up the tiled floor and repipe it we have always used a big powerful wet vac with a custom plywood panel faced with neoprene sponge tape to seal against the top of the toilet bowl. Block off overflow with a cork in the cistern, vac through centre hole in plywood and it drags all the unmentionables back into the bowl, loosens it and usually works to be able to flush it all away.

I saw that Lidl had one of these (in the video) for sale so risked €6.50 and bought one.

The next time the toilet got blocked with the bowl full, rigged it up with the biggest round adaptor, pumped it up as hard as I could, inserted it through the water and pushed down hard until it sealed against the bottom of the bowl which isn't round but it still seals and fired it.

It creates a shock wave in the water and shifts the blockage - It works. A brilliant effective tool.

It also worked on a slow draining kitchen sink, remembering to block the overflows and have the sink with 2 -3 inches (50 to 75 mm) of water to get the proper shock wave.

It is,  for a Lidl gadget, strong and robust.

Oops - forgot the link to the video -Yer 'tis   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJAY3EAnlOs

 

 

Edited by Harnser
addition and correction
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4 hours ago, Harnser said:

It is,  for a Lidl gadget, strong and robust.

You could say it's a small world, Harnser.

I've had one of these Lidl 'déboucher de tuyaux' jobeys for years and never had to call on its use, that is, until Thursday last.  I needed it to unblock a bath in a bathroom that gets very little use. Try as I may to pump-up the air pressure, this bit of kit was having none of it, so I unscrewed the pump mechanism and the tube and valve were both bone dry. A squirt of liquid soap smeared around the valve and tube and it became fired up and ready to go. It required 3 blasts of compressed air then the welcome sound of glug, glug swoosh resonated to my ears et voilà, au revoir d'eau.

Reminder to self - run hot water down infrequently used bathroom drains frequently. 🙂

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Carrefour stock caustic soda solution (i.e. Sodium Hydroxide). Or if you like, Hydroxyde de sodium.

https://www.carrefour.fr/p/deboucheur-soude-caustique-26-vinckel-professionnel-3490570200653

Sink, Shower and Bath Traps tend to build a nasty mass of hair and grease from soap etc.

A small quantity of this liquid, left overnight in the U Bend is a good maintenance routine once a month.

 

 

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