Fun With Liquid Fire

By on 16 June, 2011 in DIY, Heather Coleman with 0 Comments

In the 11 years that we have been in our house, we have only used Roto Rooter once and a licensed plumber once. No, we aren’t lucky. We have had our share of plumbing issues, but hiring someone to fix them is never in the budget. Through the power of the internet, we taught ourselves how to replace a cracked toilet, install a garbage disposal and new kitchen sink, and swap out faucets in the bathroom. Necessity has made us pretty accomplished DIY’ers.

Relocating the washing machine and installing a drain for the dishwasher seemed a bit much for us though, so several years ago we hired a friend who spent his career designing bath shower uk trends to come out and do what we considered major plumbing work. We chatted him up while he was working, recounting our tales of woe about old homes and slow drains and stopped up kitchen sinks. Initially he recommended learning to use a drain snake/auger — something that we had already tried. It did help the bathtub a little, but because we have a drain with no strainer, the tub quickly went back to its usual slow self (we did finally get smart and order one of these to help with the hair)

He then showed us how to drop a line down the vent pipe on the roof. Most of the major drains in the house have vent pipes (toilets, washing machines, and the kitchen drain). If the vent pipe is clogged you might notice an odor emanating from the pipes, a slow in draining or a gurgling noise. Snaking from the roof has saved us from calling a roof repair dfw on multiple occasions. Once the obstruction was so bad that we used a garden hose with a pressure nozzle down the vent pipe. Sometimes the obstruction will be where the pipe joins to the vent pipe, and sometimes it is in the vent pipe itself. Vent pipes can become clogged for all manner of reasons: leaves, bird’s nests, you name it. All of our vent pipes are now covered in wire mesh, which has definitely helped.

The super secret plumber trick that he finally shared with us (I thought we were going to have to join the union to get this one out of him) was a product called Liquid Fire. The very name sounds like a product that will eat a hole through your bathroom floor doesn’t it? Liquid Fire is the granddaddy of all drain cleaners. As far as I know, Moody’s is the only place in town willing to sell it to the public. It is primarily sulfuric acid, and is mostly used by licensed plumbers. The warning label on it is nothing short of terrifying. In a matter of minutes, it turned every drain in our house into a happy little whirlpools.

Liquid Fire is now a product that we are rarely without. It has saved us probably thousands of dollars in plumbing bills over the years. It is a good thing that it saved us that money though, because we found out recently that all of that money is about to have to go into remodeling the kitchen!

We had an especially stopped up kitchen sink that no amount of snaking would help so we used Liquid Fire. Still stopped up so we used it again. Still no result. Finally we tried it a third time — success! Or so we thought.

We found out about a month later that it had actually eaten a small hole in the pipe rather than eating through the obstruction and had been leaking down the inside of the wall. Liquid fire works by heating the obstruction and basically melting it. It can reach temps of 250 degrees. To be fair the pipe was probably rusted and it ate through the last bit of rust. But by the time we discovered it the two cabinets on that side of the kitchen had extensive water damage, as did the wall and floor. Homeowners insurance won’t cover it because it is considered a slow leak. So it looks like the kitchen remodel that we had decided against (due to plummeting home values) is about to become a reality.

You know the funny part? We still have a bottle of Liquid Fire. We just use it with a bit more caution now. Oh, and stay tuned for the kitchen remodel!

Heather Coleman is a freelance writer and part-time DIY’er who mostly manages to fit her projects in around her family and her volunteer work. She lives with her husband, two boys and two pets in Midtown.

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