Thursday, April 12, 2007

About that drain cleaning bladder

A friend of mine emailed me yesterday and asked, "whatever happened with that drain-cleaning bladder?"

Alas, not one of my finer moments.

The drain cleaning bladder was not a total disaster, but could have worked out better, in that it shot stinky drain water all over my kitchen. As it turns out though, there was nothing I could have done - I tried the bladder, I tried the snake, and I tried the plunger, and the combined effect of those "repairs" was to fill my dishwater with water from the drain. I tried the phone.

When I had a professional come out, he determined that the pipes were clogged with 50 years worth of bio-matter, and he cut the entire iron mass off in the basement and replaced it with fresh PVC. It will not clog again for decades, if ever. I'll spare you the pictures of the old pipe, but suffice it to say that you can load the pipes with a ton of food waste between 1952 and 2007. It's almost enough to consider a liquid diet.

I may have hastened the process slightly though by putting some spaghetti down the disposal. It turns out that pasta continues to expand when it is in the pipe, and I had made special 18-inch long brass die-cut spaghetti from Trader Joe's (the rough edges really hold sauce nicely), which plugged it up superbly. Sooner or later though, this was inevitable, and at least now I own a drain snake. And that drain bladder? Turns out that if there is nowhere for the clog to go, that water is coming back at you somehow. And that's one to grow on.


meagan said...

so are you ever supposed to put pasta down the disposal, or just not that impressive quantity?

Jonathan said...

Just throw it away. It turns out that pasta and rice are killer for the pipes. Other interesting pipe facts:

a. One of the reasons that PVC will not clog in the way that the old iron pipes will is that, because they don't corrode, they don't build up a separate layer of rough pipe junk inside.

b. Running cold water when you run the disposal helps prevent overheating.

c. Running the water for a little while after you shut off the disposal helps food continue downstream.

Jeremy said...

Hey Meagan,

Wanna share the story about how you clogged the pipes at my house?

Jon - here's a hint, it wasn't pasta.

meagan said...

yeah tina, i WILL share that story since you made it sound like it was my doing when in fact it was your dogs doo-dooing.

bindi, the precious pawelek pup, likes to poop upstairs when aimee & jeremy are on vacation. rather than taking the turds downstairs to the garbage in the garage, i figured that it could be flushed. it was just poop . but no. bindi's poop was far stronger than human poop and clogged, yes clogged the upstairs bathroom toilet.

i had to call adam to plunge the dog poop down the toilet.

needless to say, i haven't been asked to house-sit again.

and jer... didn't your toddler clog my toilet recently????

Jeremy said...

He probably did.

And it wasn't pasta. It was poop.

Aimee Pawelek said...

like how we hijacked this post and made it about poop?

I blame the media.

meagan said...


that's what they get for hanging out with us trashy eastsiders.

Sarah said...

YOu know, I have a great poop story that I was going to post on my blog but perhaps I'll just put it here instead. It seems somehow more appropriate.

Votes - yes? Shall we? Here's the teaser - it involves a baby gate and a squeegeed poop.

Jeremy said...

post it on your own site.

Want a good poop story?

Go to my site and search for "blueberries".

meagan said...

i thought that the blueberry story was lost forever

Jeremy said...

no way - that was something I managed to save!

Direct link to post!