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 sulfuric acid
Author: luvy616 (FL)

Is it a good idea to use sulfuric acid to clear clogs or is it harmful to the pipes? My landlord keeps using it to fix clogs and it has only been a temporary fix in the bathroom where it works for awhile and then starts draining slow again. The kitchen was clogged really bad and he used a lot to finally clear it up and it has worked well now for a 2-3 months.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: SMSPlumbing (PA)

Here is some reading:

"Chemical drain cleaners use extremely corrosive chemicals to clean drains. These chemicals "eat" through materials such as hair, soap, grease, etc. These drain cleaners can be harmful and require careful handling and storage. Some ingredients commonly found in these drain cleaners include sulfuric acid and lye. The chemical reaction caused by these chemical drain cleaners dissolves the materials that clog pipes and hinder proper drainage. These chemicals can be dangerous as they are generally skin irritants and can cause serious burns or blindness. The toxic vapors from some of these chemical drain cleaners can also be harmful.

Chemical drain cleaners when used regularly can corrode or damage the plumbing connected to the drains. Additionally, chemical drain cleaners in high enough concentrations can harm the microbial bacteria necessary to help maintain septic systems.

Further, the use of chemical drain cleaners can be harmful to the environment as these toxic chemicals are flushed through the drainage system and eventually into the ground or well water."

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

Its usually after the fire department is called about noxious fumes does the landlord begin to realize how dangerous Sulfuric Acid can be. I hope your unit is well ventilated during the process of clearing the drains. Much depends too on the concentration of the sulfuric acid. Remember, its his building, but your health.

Best Wishes

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: dlh (TX)

i never recommend chemicals to clear a drain but do recommend enzyme cleaners to maintain them

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PLUMBERS "Protecting The Health Of The Nation"

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: packy (MA)

i had a customer with a severly restricted shower drain. the house was built on a slab with no access to the drain except thru the shower itself.
no combination of drain snakes and no amount of coaxing could get a wire thru the drain.
i never do this but i poured 1/2 gallon of acid down the pipe.
it may have eaten a hole in the pipe but i have had no call back in over 3-4 years.
i know, i know. but consider the alternative. jackhammer the floor, destroying a nice tile shower and probably the tile in the whole bathroom.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: hj (AZ)

It may work to unplug drains, but it is also a very "strong" acid so it can damage the pipes, especially the ones under the sink inside the cabinet.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: dlh (TX)

to scared to climb on the roof and snake through the vent?

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PLUMBERS "Protecting The Health Of The Nation"

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: luvy616 (FL)

Thanks for all the info everyone. At first the son told us that there was a broken pipe under the house somewhere because when he had a friend of his out there with a snake they got it to a certain point in the dining room and the snake wouldn't go any farther. They did this because the it would take hours for a sinkful of water to drain in the kitchen and water was seeping out the front of the house (where the kitchen is) onto the front porch. The son said they weren't going to fix it because it would cost a fortune.

The the father (owner of the house) came with sulfuric acid and put 2-3 bottles down the kitchen drain until he got it draining good. Put another bottle or two down the bathroom drain. It seems they are taking the easiest cheapest route, but the most damaging one. I don't understand why anyone would want to do that to their own house. After he got the drains going he said now the problem is solved and if it backs up again he will know we did something to cause it. He really had no reason to say that to us because it was backed up when we moved in. His 2 sons (19 and 21) were living in the house before us.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: greekguy7 (IL)

It's the landlord's property and he decides how he wants to fix it, whether right or wrong. If you are not happy, you can always move and hope the grass is greener on the other side.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: luvy616 (FL)

Of course he can do what he wants. But using sulfuric acid over and over in the house seems to be a health hazard from what I can tell. I just don't want to be blamed later when the problem returns or the acid causes new problems.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

The integrity of a waste main is not based on the amount of chemical one places into it, but rather if it is defect free. That can only be proved to all with a sewer camera and video tape of the run. Other wise its word against word and she said, he said.
Only human waste and grey waters should enter the waste system. Coffee grounds, health products and grease of any kind should NEVER be placed in the sewer or waste lines.

Your landlord has their rules and options and you as a renter and consumer are bound by your written agreement or contract. You can leave as well and leave the next repair for the next unsuspecting tennant.

Best Wishes

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: hj (AZ)

All the acid did, regardless of how much he used, was to open enough of a passage so the acid could drain out. There is absolutely NO guarantee that he "cleared the drain, so if it clogs again you caused it."

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: njmike (NJ)

Packey, What about dropping a snake through a vent on the roof?

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: packy (MA)

what do you think i am? santa claus?
i don't go on roofs..
anyway, everything else in the basement was draining fine. toilet, lav and washing machine.
so i doubt the vent would have connected to the spot where the stoppage was.

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 Re: sulfuric acid
Author: luvy616 (FL)

Thank you everyone...I appreciate the plumbing lessons! Happy weekend to everyone!

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