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Thread: Acid in line

  1. #1
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    Default Acid in line

    So I go to a job last Saturday, sewer stoppage. As soon as I arrive homeowner advises me that I have to work from fresh air vent on side of house as trap is covered behind a wall. I say OK, I'll give it a shot but no promises, we may be opening the wall. So I'm snaking the line and as I'm pulling it out my arm gets splashed. All of a sudden the burning is really noticeable. I asked whats in line and homeowner says nothing but a little draino. I say no way and continue on (my mistake). As I'm running the line my hands are getting hotter and hotter and as I pull my cable out its turning colors and I notice an odd coating on it. Now my hands are so hot I take my gloves off and throw them on the floor. I start wrapping up because fuck this lying SOB, I'm leaving. He asks me to try from another drain and I basically tell him to go f himself. I put equipment away and leave. Drive to a friends garage about 4 blocks away to wash cable off. Now gloves have holes in them and their smoking. I use yellow ugly gloves by the way. I washed the cable off and believe it or not its been fine (Spartan cable). The moral of my story is always to remain alert and beware of lying customers. By the way,there is a small burn on my arm.

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  3. #2
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    Shoulda slapped him with the burning glove. He'd be forced to duel. There was no chemical odor or other type of hint as to what chemical it was? Usually when they are lying they leave the bottle in the garbage pail in plain sight and continue to swear up and down they didnt use chemical. Just dont get it, why lie?

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    No smell which is odd, usually it smells like rotten eggs. I think he lied because he knew he was wrong for not saying anything to begin with.

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    I have gotten into the habit of pouring a 2# box of baking into the lines to check for acid. If there is I will charge them and tell them to try and flush water with a little baking at a time until no bubbles and then call me back. Seweratz said, I think, that you might want to bend the cable before putting it into the next drain Something about it being porous and getting the regular cables brittle.

    I would also back charge him for new cables!

    I wrote the word s o d a and it inserted the emoticons....lol
    Last edited by Gettinit; 07-13-2013 at 10:41 AM.
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    Always assume the customer is lying....
    Because they are and they do....

    They only question is how bad they are lying and what the hell did they throw in there...

    If you want you can use a wide range ph test strip and take a reading of the liquid in the drain. A ph of 7.0 is neutral and what water should be, a ph of 0 is the strongest acid, and a ph of 13 is the strongest base or, caustic. Either is capable of burning you and is corrosive. The ph test strips are cheap, fast, and easy to use...

    The color change instantly tells you whether you should clean a drain or, notify the EPA there is a new Superfund Site for them to cleanup before you do anything. You can then show the test strip to the customer and either tell them you aren't doing the work or, there is an extra charge. Small changes in ph of 6-8 may be completely normal, while 3-5 and 9-11 says they put something in there, while 0-3 & 12-13 says there is some really strong stuff sitting there smoking in the drain.... It's up to you what you want to deal with...

    Here is one type of test strip that does about 100 tests for $5.25... They are available at many places, drug stores, box stores, pool supply places, industrial supply places, hardware stores....
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  10. #6
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    When i suspect chemical i usually put an old cable i keep in the bottom of my sink bucket in it, if it starts to change color I tell them I know theres a chemical in here if you want me to snake the line they are paying for the drain and my cable. If they agree I give them the cable in a plastic bag. They now own it. I dont want it. If they agree and still dont want the cable its my funeral home cable after that.

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    I've encountered drain cleaning acid before but this was something entirely different. Smelled different, almost like Pro Poxy. First time in my career this has happened and hopefully the last.

  12. #8
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    Exclamation Drain (acid) chemicals in drains

    How many of you have had a problem with drain (ACID) chemicals damaging or
    destroying your sewer cables ?


    And what did you do with such a cable ?


    Toss it out, cut off and add new end to keep using ?
    Last edited by Jerry Mac Hodge; 10-15-2014 at 01:35 PM. Reason: ADD TITLE

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    If its not my 1/4" cable....more than likely if its concentrated enough I will just pitch the cable as it will start breaking easliy....
    You can't scare me...I'm a plumber!!!!
    You Can Fire Me...But You Can't Tell Me What To Do.
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