Sunday, March 3, 2019

More plumbing woes and New Books

Not even 3 weeks since the plumbers and drain people were last poking about my kitchen drain is blocked again. Not completely, but it's taking 5 minutes for about 1/4 of a sink full of water to drain (I timed it). I can't politely express how frustrating this is.

On the back of that I've bought 2 plungers in the last 24 hours. From this I've learnt that A) size matters, measure your plug arrangement if you need a plunger. The first one I bought was to small to be any use.

 B) Not many places sell plungers anymore. Supermarkets certainly don't seem to, local hardware shops are more or less a thing of the past, pound shops had nothing, and Wilko's offerings are not great (I think they're to flimsy to be really effective).

C) Find some instructions on how to use the plunger, probably before you but one because you might want to get some sort of tape to cover the overflow pipe at the same time. Blocking that pipe isn't particularly easy. The wet rag the Internet suggested proved impossible to stuff down the small holes, when I unscrewed the covering the pipe behind it fell back from the sink. Dad suggested bunging it with a cork. Good luck finding a suitably sized cork. After I mopped out the cupboard under the sink and screwed everything back together I ended up using some decorative Angela Harding parcel tape. It wasn't altogether effective, but it sort of did the job.

D) The advice to use petroleum jelly to get a better seal between plunger and surface just means that you end up with a blocked sink covered in Vaseline (not easy to clean). Wilko's plunger cups are quite soft, no amount of Vaseline is going to stop them bending so that air escapes. It also means you can't return the useless plunger because it's covered in bloody Vaseline.

E) All of this takes a surprisingly long time and covers you in an entirely unsurprising amount of water. I would have done better to spend the money on books or biscuits and stuck to my current knitting project where the technical difficulties have proved much easier to resolve.

And if nothing else, at least it's been a good book week with these 3 beauties from the British Library crime classics series and Meike Ziervogel's latest Novella turning up in the post, along with the latest edition of Slightly Foxed, and sufficient Waterstones vouchers to make buying 'Salt & Time' guilt free (because clearly I'm going to need all the money for proper plumbers, though god knows if they fix the problem they're worth every penny).


  1. Oh dear, you are having a bad time of it aren't you? I wish you luck and a good plumber!

    Come the Summer, I need to get someone to replace my drainage pipes; my sink takes a while to empty too as does the bath. It is a straight run from kitchen to bathroom so, in theory, it should be quite simple to fix but you know how it goes...

  2. Did the plumber tell you what was plugging it up the first time? One absolute crucial tip is NEVER pour any sort of fat or oil down the drain because it can congeal into a solid plug. In addition you can try very carefully pouring down some boiling water to see if you can melt the plug. The newest types of plungers are pretty useless and I got one (for toilets) which has a pump up feature which is fine except that the tips are bloody useless and do not stay on. The old plumber's helper (try -- will take time but I bet they have what you need) has a broad aperture to cover the drain, It is a very messy business and I wish you joy. You could also pour in some baking soda (a lot) and then a half cup or so of vinegar, Put a tight cover over the drain so that the bubbles of gas go downward and hopefully through the plug. Also get a little wire screen cup which goes on the drain and keeps the food bits from going down the drain. Keep everything that can cause a plug out of toilet, bathroom and kitchen drains. Tips from America!

  3. Have you used a snake hair-catcher thingy to see if that's the problem - my utility room sink was draining very slowly - and I put my spiral snake hair-catcher thingy down and wound it round and round and brought out masses of gunk, even though there is little reason for any hair to go down this particular sink. I regularly do our bath and shower with this - a brilliant tool for under a tenner.