Unclog Drain With Hot Water
If you need to unclog a drain that's slow or not draining at all, you
have two options. You can do it yourself or call the plumber. Calling
the plumber (me) isn't always convenient. And I do charge for a service call.
Many of my customers have told me that they put boiling water down their
slow kitchen or bathroom sink drain, sometimes with baking soda.
Where did they come up with that idea? My wife showed me several plumbing
advice websites that actually recommend doing that. Well, that's a bad
idea for several reasons.
Don't try to unclog your drain with boiling water and soda
- For starters, the Universal Plumbing Code (UPC) prohibits the
introduction of water hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit into a waste
and vent system of any kind, anywhere, without some kind of cooling-off
station. The main mission of the UPC is to keep you and your family
safe. The plumbing code also protects you indirectly by protecting your
- Baking soda is actually a kind of salt. It's bad for cast iron pipe, and smooth-walled plastic pipe doesn't need it.
Using enough boiling water to unclog a drain could damage your pipes.
Unless you use gallons of boiling water, it's going to cool off as it
flows down a room temperature plumbing system. If you do use gallons of
boiling water, you are likely to distort the tubular drains and their
seals under the fixture. The plastic pipe shrinks away from the washers causing the drains to be weepy, leaky, and unreliable.
- If you pour baking soda and
boiling water down a drain after you've used a chemical drain cleaner,
you run the risk of starting a chemical reaction. It could throw the
water and the drain chemical back in your face.
- If you pour boiling water down a fixture that is china (like a toilet or sink) you may fracture the fixture.
- Most important, you run the needless risk of a severe scald or steam burn.
I say needless risk because the answer is obvious-
Hot Water- the natural drain cleaner!
Hot tap water, that is. Use all the 140 degree water that you want!
If a couple of sinks full of 140 degree water don't unclog the drain,
then it probably needs to be snaked. At least when you or the plumber puts a cable in the drain, they're not going to get drain
chemicals all over themselves.
If you want to run hot water
down a drain once a week or even monthly to prevent clogged sink
drains, than go for it! It will help keep the pipe walls clear of the
solid fats that are a problem in some drains.
I just don't understand the reason why people recommend boiling water to unclog a drain! If you keep your hot water under 140 degrees, use the hottest tap water you have.
a lower temperature of hot water will help keep your drain clear. It
will just take more of it. If this seems wasteful, just think how much
more wasted time and money a trip to the hospital would be. Or how much
the repair of a cabinet would cost after it got a load of boiling water
when the P-trap failed.
Back to Clogged Drains from Hot Water To Unclog Sink Drains
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