A little over a year ago, I became a first time homeowner. Super exciting, right? Except, not. A few days after we moved in, we started having plumbing issues. And I’m not talking minor issues here…I’m talking water-coming-from-every-possible-crevice-of-the-plumbing problems! This all occurred despite a “thorough” home inspection and even an extra ($350!) video inspection of the pipes. (That’s a whole other post…but HOW is it possible that they missed this in the inspections?!)
Anyway, needless to say, that was an interesting situation. Thank God the BF has some plumbing experience and was able to come to the rescue. The sucky thing about my house is it’s a slab house, so should there be a SERIOUS plumbing issue, it’s gonna cost $$$ because the slab has to be broken and they have to dig to get to the pipes, replace them and then refill the hole with concrete — LOTS of labor costs! We’re talking thousands of dollars, here. I’m not getting paid for blogging, so I considered selling my soul, but the devil was busy with my home inspectors.
I have NO idea what happened but our big plumbing issues eventually ceased. I think the gods decided to have mercy on me because I was turning to tequila for stress relief and when I turn to tequila – ain’t nothing pretty about that!
One weekend last January we tried a DIY fix-it solution and rented an auger (an electric snake, basically, that can go hundreds of feet into your pipes – that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?:)) The BF didn’t think it did anything because the auger never “caught” on anything like it was busting up any gunk, so we figured it was a waste of time and money. But, it must’ve done something because we haven’t had any more leaking since then. (KNOCK ON WOOD and PRAY to the plumbing gods PLEASE because I cannot relive that nightmare!)
Since then, we have had to deal with the occasional clogged drains. I have to say, I shed. A LOT! My hair is EVERYWHERE and when I wash it, it goes straight down the drain! I even bought one of those hair traps but it doesn’t do anything. On top of my hair constantly falling out, some of the products I use in the shower only compound the situation – washing my face with oil, thick black soap, etc. So, we’re always dealing with standing water by the the end of our shower.
My remedy for this is a magical combination of BAKING SODA and VINEGAR. Remember those old science experiments you did as a kid when you mixed the two together to form a nice volcano…same concept, only imagine the volcano effect in the small confines of a 1.5 inch pipes (or whatever the dimensions are). I keep this stuff handy all the time and because I use it for many other things besides unclogging drains, I buy it in bulk at Costco for hell-a cheap! (Note the sizes: 1.32 gallons of Vinegar and 13.5 lbs of BS – for under $10!!)
Here’s my method:
- At the FIRST sign of slow drainage, I grab about a cup of BS and shove it down the drain as far as my little fingers will reach.
- Immediately following, I SLOWLY pour about a cup of vinegar over the BS. The combination will start to bubble. I usually pour a little vinegar at a time; each time you pour more, it will bubble more.
- Once I feel like the BS and Vinegar have combined pretty well, I grab an old wash cloth and shove it in the drain to trap them in so they’re no longer bubbling into the tub.
- I leave it sit as long as I can. This might be an hour (depending on if I need to get ready for something) or overnight. I don’t think that this will ruin your pipes in any way – at least not any more so than those harsh chemicals that cost WAY too much! I’ve read several blogs about this and no one has mentioned damaged pipes as a result of this. (Please NOTE: I’m no professional plumber! Just know that I’ve been using this method up again 60+ year old cast iron pipes and have had no negative repercussions.)
- Once the time is up, I remove the wash cloth and allow really HOT water to run through the pipes. This helps push that deadly combination further along the pipes.
- Then, I use my plunger (for the BATHTUB only…Yes, I have a special plunger just for the tub) and pump it a little bit. Run some more hot water, plunge and repeat a few times.
- Watch as the water freely flows down the drain…just the way nature intended!
This has been a lifesaver for me since buying the house. At my old apartment, I always called my landlord and I’d have to wait days for him to come snake the drain. Now, I can basically do it on my own with no muscle power at all. So, next time you have a plumber disaster (or a minor clog), give this a try and see how it works. It’s pretty fantastic!