Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Joy Of Interior Plumbing

There was I, pleasantly sitting at the keyboard and uploading a few photos from our recent holiday onto my Flickr account when I heard Lorna shouting my name from the kitchen. It was clear enough from the pitch and volume of the call that I'd better get through there quickly too so off I went at a run.

Just when she'd been ploughing through the mound of washing that always accompanies you back from a holiday, the kitchen drain decides it's had enough and gets blocked. So we've got water pouring out the washing machine on spin, going nowhere except back up the pipes into the sink and out over the floor.

Quickly deducing that all was not well with the plumbing, I hit the power switch to kill the outflow of water and we got to mopping up so we could start investigating the problem. It was soon obvious that the sink waste drain was blocked; I mean the water wasn't going anywhere. We've got a plunger but all that did was shoot a foul mix of gunk back up the sink overflow.

The next step meant clearing out the undersink cupboard and tackling the amazing mix of twisty bits of white plastic pipework leading to the drain outlet. Oh it was horrible! We've been here for about 15 years and never thought about it before but those u-bends and turns are ideal places for gunk to build up and in all that time, an awful lot of it had done. I got the pipework dismantled and was up to my elbows in really horrid slimey glaur but it was still blocked down below where I could get to. That 15 years worth of food and grease build-up had finally clogged the main drain outlet.

We thought we'd have to call a plumber with all the unwanted expense that would involve but, since, for reasons we can't recall, we had a bottle of Mr. Muscle in the cupboard and I thought I'd give it a try and see if it would clear overnight. By morning, the water level in the drain pipe had gone down so I tentatively poured a few kettles of boiling water down and it seemed to drain away, getting quicker all the time. We've had that bottle of sink and plughole unblocker for years and I think we were pretty lucky we had it or we'd have been saddled with the expense of a plumber and the hassle of taking time off work to get it cleared.

We got back in tonight and put it all back together and got on with the holiday washing. The moral of the tale? Don't leave it for 15 years before you clean out your pipes or you'll end up having as fun an evening as we just did and the joy of having to disinfect everything in sight up to your armpits!

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