I skim through Facebook and Twitter everyday in search for funny plumbing memes and helpful plumbing tips that I don’t have to write up myself (“ain’t nobody got time fo dat”). One of our Twitter followers posted something they thought would be helpful and I cringed when I saw what it was.
The post stated “How To Unclog A Sink Without Chemicals!
After clicking the link I was shocked, dismayed, and appalled.
I have renamed this picture- how NOT to unclog a sink.
Vinegar and Baking Soda are indeed chemicals. You may not think of them as chemicals, but they most certainly are. Vinegar is acetic acid and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. When these two chemicals combine, they fizz like crazy. Just add some red food coloring and you have yourself a volcano for your child’s science fair.
Still involves the chemicals mentioned above. So we have an acid and a salt. A lot of drains, especially here in Atlanta, are made of cast iron. If you are familiar with cast iron skillets, you know that salt is helpful when cleaning them, but its not necessarily the best thing to be sitting in your drains. Acids, as you may know, are never a good idea in your cast iron pan, but an especially bad idea in your drains. Acids and salts will speed up the corrosion process of your cast iron drains and has virtually no effect on plastic drains at all. Save that baking soda and vinegar for the science fair, folks.
NEVER EVER EVER, EVER EVER EVER pour BOILING water down the drain. The boiling point of water is 212°F. According to the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) who developed the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), the code that us plumbers have to abide by, the maximum temperature allowed through the drainage system shall not exceed 140°F. (810.1
Per the 2012 International Plumbing Code Commentary (701.7):
“The temperature of waste water is limited to a maximum of 140°F (60°C) to protect the sanitary drainage piping. Excessive high-temperature wastes are detrimental to the piping system because of expansion and contraction resulting therefrom. For example, pipe joints may become disturbed or pulled apart, or solidly bedded piping can be strained or broken.” (7-3)
So how do you unclog a drain without chemicals?
I’ve created a short and sweet video to show you how its done.