The Worst Job
I used to think the worst job around the Manor was unblocking the sewers.
Nah! That’s child’s play. All I have to do is run a hosepipe in through the kitchen window, through the back lobby and out the yard door. Then it’s a simple question of opening the manhole and squirting a jet of water to liquefy the … er … contents while poking said contents with a stick. Gravity eventually takes over and the job’s oxo.
No. The worst job is definitely unblocking the kitchen sink and its plumbing.
The sink has taken to emptying itself at a snail’s pace so I knew I had to do the nasty. I tackled it this afternoon.
First of all, I have to get at the pipes. This involves emptying shelves of nearly empty bottles of God know what and packets of stuff that no one uses. Then I have to insert a tray of some kind to catch any water that will pour out when I crack the joints.
Naturally all the pipes are at a tricky height. I have to kneel and crouch down to see them but then I can’t get the leverage so having grasped the various screwey things I then rely on touch and feel. It is complicated down there. There is the main drain which has one of those lever yokes instead of a plug. This means a complicated joint. Then there’s the overflow pipe which hasn’t worked since the rats ate it. Then there’s another drain from the little draining basket, and they all meet together in a maze of connections.
Anyhows I managed to dismantle the maze. Sure enough it was clogged with gunk. I used to laugh at the idea of gagging at a smell. I laugh no more. It wasn’t just the smell, it was the slime and the grease all mixed with hairs that are probably the result of the carpet cleaner. I had to scoop this out by hand and it was not pleasant. At least I remembered not to chuck any water into the kitchen sink and so had to wash every part in the bathroom. I won’t make that mistake again.
I reassembled it all with great difficulty. Trying to slot all those joints by touch is not easy. I filled the sink with hot water to flush any remnants and opened the drain.
It was still blocked!
I disassembled everything again and this time removed the plug/lever contraption under the main sink. I gagged again. It was so far beyond disgusting. I’m going to have major nightmares tonight about semi-liquid slime greasing itself along the floor towards me.
It’s done now. I reassembled everything [on about the fifth attempt] and did the test again. It empties reasonably quickly so whatever I did seems to have worked.
I think I’ll skip dinner tonight though.
A bottle of Mr Muscle is often a good investment.
Next time, get a 1kg bag of soda crystals (about £1), pour as much as you can down the drain-hole, ideally half the bag, then boil a kettle of water and pour half the boiling water down after the crystals. Use the other half-kettle to brew some tea, sit down with a pipe and enjoy both at a leisurely pace. After that, boil another kettle of water and pour all that down the hole – there’s every chance the blockage will now be cleared as if by magic.
Thereafter, every month or two, do the same thing as a preventative measure – it clears the build-up of grease that’s the primary cause of kitchen-sink blockages.
I’m a bit nervous about shoving any kind of chemicals down the drain as it only heads out to a soakpit under the lawn. Some years ago that collapsed and had to be re-dug out which was a foul job.
I gave a friend some caustic soda pellets for a slow sink he had. The landlord had to dig up the floor to replace the pipes which just collapsed from the experience.
To this day we swear we know nothing about the incident.
Important not to confuse ‘Caustic Soda’ and ‘Soda Crystals’ – very different chemistry and risks.