the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur
plonq

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On how I turned an annoyance into a disaster and then saved the day

Since the weather outside was frightful, and since I had cleared all of the walks the day before (well, atara helped. A bit.) I set myself a modest list of indoor chores to tackle during the day. The first was to vacuum the living room, dining room, computer room and halls. It started off well enough until we discovered that the hall outlet and microwave oven, as well as half the lights in the house are all apparently on the same circuit. With that lesson learned, I postponed that chore until after dinner.

The next chore was to scoop the basement litter box. Not too much that can go wrong with that one.

The third was to clear the bathtub drain, since it had become blocked with hair and other sundry materials over the past few months and was running very slowly. Some tweezers and vigorous plunging made short work of that, and it also tied in nicely with my next task which was to clean the bathtub itself. It was at this point that I discovered we only had about a teaspoon of scouring powder remaining. I made good use of what we had left and actually managed to do a passable job of cleaning the tub. After, as I was cleaning myself another task revealed itself to me; our bathroom sink drain has been giving off unpleasant odours in the mornings, and has been running progressively slower over time. Semi-regular flushing with vinegar seemed to be keeping the odours in check, but it was not making the drain run any faster.

It was obvious to me that the trap had become befouled with hair, soap, small rodents and anything else that might fit down the drain over time, and I reasoned that it was probably due for a sound plunging. I ran the water until there was a good bit backed up in the sink, plugged the overflow with a piece of cloth, grabbed the plunger and set to work. It is not an easy thing to plunge our bathroom sink because the tap overhangs the drain, and the shape of the sink is not conducive to good plunging. It was a real trick to get a good downward thrust without geysers of dirty water jetting up over both sides of the sink, but I persevered and my efforts soon bore results. I had succeeded in turning a slow drain into a completely stopped drain.

I worked, and I plunged, and I cursed, and I cajoled but no amount of blasphemes would cause that drain to flow again. I finally admitted defeat and decided that it was time to employ more serious measures. I cleared everything away from under the sink, grabbed a bucket and set to disassembling the trap. Twenty minutes later I wandered into the computer room, informed atara that our bathroom sink was out of order, and filled halfway with black soupy water, and then sat down to play some World of Warcraft.

Today on our way home from work we made a side-trip to Canadian Tire so that I could pick up one of those cans of compressed-air drain cleaner. This stuff worked amazingly poorly on the blockage in our kitchen drain - the one for which we had to tear apart the basement ceiling and replace a long section of pipe last year - but I figured it was worth a shot. I had a hunch it would work much more effectively on the sink in the bathroom, and it turns out that I was right. It took a couple of tries to get the overflow drain properly plugged, and to position the can at just the right angle under the tap, but on the third try it blasted the trap cleaner than it's been in years. Our bathroom sink has probably not drained this readily since it was new.

Best part is that nothing exploded. I did not end up with a plonq-shaped halo of drain sludge on the wall behind me and a cat embedded in the ceiling. It just worked.
Tags: bathroom
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