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Old 04-25-12, 02:38 PM   #1
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Wow...does that stuff stink up the house!!!

We have a slow running shower drain so I went to our local hardware store and asked for a recommendation. He grabbed a bottle off the shelf and told me it works the best but it smells pretty bad. What an understatement. The bottle is labeled as "Virgin Sulfuric Acid". It states that while the product itself doesn't have an odor, the smell it generates when mixed with organic materials can be quite strong. The instructions are to pour in 8 oz, let sit for 15 minutes then flush with cold water for 5 minutes.

I poured it in, turned on the exhaust fan, closed the door and set the timer for 15 minutes. 10 minutes later, my wife came out of the bedroom and said "Wow...that stuff really stinks!". 5 minutes later we opened the door and literally, were almost knocked over by the fumes. Full on rotten eggs/sewage at an eye watering level. My wife immediately bolted for the downstairs and discovered that through the connectivity of plumbing, the fumes had spread throughout the house. I got the flush going and started flushing toilets and running water in sinks, hoping to get the odor moving out of the house. All the windows are open, fans are on and the "scent" still lingers. My wife is still outside an hour later!

Good times!

Hopefully the drain is running faster.
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Old 04-25-12, 02:48 PM   #2
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I would rent a snake and just run that through the drains. Your pipes are most likely clogged with human hair. Have to do mine pretty often, or i did until I started using a surface strainer to trap hair before it got in the drain.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 04-25-12, 02:58 PM   #3
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We have a slow running shower drain so I went to our local hardware store and asked for a recommendation. He grabbed a bottle off the shelf and told me it works the best but it smells pretty bad. What an understatement. The bottle is labeled as "Virgin Sulfuric Acid". It states that while the product itself doesn't have an odor, the smell it generates when mixed with organic materials can be quite strong. The instructions are to pour in 8 oz, let sit for 15 minutes then flush with cold water for 5 minutes.

I poured it in, turned on the exhaust fan, closed the door and set the timer for 15 minutes. 10 minutes later, my wife came out of the bedroom and said "Wow...that stuff really stinks!". 5 minutes later we opened the door and literally, were almost knocked over by the fumes. Full on rotten eggs/sewage at an eye watering level. My wife immediately bolted for the downstairs and discovered that through the connectivity of plumbing, the fumes had spread throughout the house. I got the flush going and started flushing toilets and running water in sinks, hoping to get the odor moving out of the house. All the windows are open, fans are on and the "scent" still lingers. My wife is still outside an hour later!

Good times!

Hopefully the drain is running faster.
Could it be that there is a small leak in your drain / soil pipes somewhere, and what you're smelling is something still reacting with the acid, which wasn't washed into the sewer when you did the cold water rinse?
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Old 04-25-12, 03:10 PM   #4
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Hmmm, I'm more familiar with sulfuric acid burning the insides of my nose than stinking, but then I'd guess the stuff I use is rather higher concentration in the lab than the stuff they'd let you pour down drains. We have a snake we use on the toilet here (I find it more effective than a plunger - I save that for the garbage disposal -, but you have to be careful not to scratch the porcelain), I'd guess you need a smaller one to do the shower pipes.
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Old 04-25-12, 03:44 PM   #5
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Oh! Cool! I'll have to try this next time I'm sent on drain patrol.

That'll put a stop to that.
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Old 04-25-12, 04:10 PM   #6
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How did a human wind up down his shower drain?
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Old 04-25-12, 05:39 PM   #7
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How did a human wind up down his shower drain?
In small pieces. Somebody was really ticked of at that guy.
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Old 04-25-12, 06:17 PM   #8
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The smell shouldn't have spread through the pipes, that is what traps and vents are for.
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Old 04-25-12, 06:25 PM   #9
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The smell shouldn't have spread through the pipes, that is what traps and vents are for.
This.
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Old 04-25-12, 07:33 PM   #10
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This.
Damn.


My house's pipes and vents are good.


What should I do now?
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Old 04-25-12, 08:37 PM   #11
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Damn. My house's pipes and vents are good. What should I do now?
You could cut up a wig and wash that down the tub. That should give you a good start.
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Old 04-25-12, 10:06 PM   #12
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My house's pipes and vents are good.

What should I do now?
Have you exercised the gaskets?
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Old 04-26-12, 07:27 AM   #13
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I would rent a snake and just run that through the drains. Your pipes are most likely clogged with human hair. Have to do mine pretty often, or i did until I started using a surface strainer to trap hair before it got in the drain.
+1
Unless your pipes are really rotten, this is the safest way to clean them.
But it can be messy, and the stuff you pull up will be quite disgusting.
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Old 04-26-12, 07:32 AM   #14
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Damn.


My house's pipes and vents are good.


What should I do now?
Fill the old pipes with cement to contain the issue.....then re plumb the entire house.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:08 AM   #15
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I thought this was going to be a thread about kimchi.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:13 AM   #16
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+1
Unless your pipes are really rotten, this is the safest way to clean them.
But it can be messy, and the stuff you pull up will be quite disgusting.
Hehe. The plumbers came and snaked out our bath tub drain line and destroyed the lead drain pipes in the crawl space. Fortunately, we rent, so the landlord got to pay to replace the lead pipes they destroyed with their snake.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:25 AM   #17
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Hehe. The plumbers came and snaked out our bath tub drain line and destroyed the lead drain pipes in the crawl space. Fortunately, we rent, so the landlord got to pay to replace the lead pipes they destroyed with their snake.
Wow, must be a relatively old house. Lead presents a challenge that I did not consider. Our house is black iron drain pipes.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:27 AM   #18
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BTW, the smell most likely spread through your air ducts, not your plumbing, just so you know.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:10 AM   #19
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Wow, must be a relatively old house. Lead presents a challenge that I did not consider. Our house is black iron drain pipes.
Built in 1947. I thought by then they would have switched to something else, but it definitely had and still has some lead drain pipes. Also, the water main is still lead.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:16 AM   #20
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I would rent a snake and just run that through the drains. Your pipes are most likely clogged with human hair. Have to do mine pretty often, or i did until I started using a surface strainer to trap hair before it got in the drain.
This is actually the second go around with this stuff. The first was a few weeks ago with my daughter's shower drain. The stinky stuff did not do the job and we ended up calling a company to come snake it out...they pulled up a pretty nasty clump of hair.

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+1
Unless your pipes are really rotten, this is the safest way to clean them.
But it can be messy, and the stuff you pull up will be quite disgusting.
I'm thinking of investing in a small, powered snake. I have two manual snakes but it's impossible to get them past the p-traps on the showers. All the other places you'd want to snake (sinks and toilets) you can get around the p-traps (remove the toilet or disconnect under the sink) but you can't get to shower p-traps unless you want to take the house apart or dig up the slab.

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BTW, the smell most likely spread through your air ducts, not your plumbing, just so you know.
Prolly...this was an upstairs shower so the smell likely "settled" throughout the house and depending on whether the A/C was running at the time, may have gone into the ducts for distribution.

The good news is that the shower drain did just fine when I showered after my run last night.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:41 AM   #21
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It can be done with a manual snake. The trick is to push and twist at the same time. Only try to push it in an inch or so at a time. You'll feel it when it's past the trap, which is usually where a hair clog will be. Plus you have much less of a chance of flinging the stuff around the room. Did I mention, the stuff that come out is nasty, nasty, nasty.
For a toilet, get a toilet auger. No need to take anything apart.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:59 AM   #22
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Toilet augers rock.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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