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Thread: Sulfuric Acid question

  1. #1

    Question Sulfuric Acid question

    A few days ago, a plumber came out to fix our clogged kitchen sink. Without telling my wife, he poured a bottle of sulfuric acid down the sink. My wife said she smelled fumes and said smoke came out when she opened the cabinet below the sink a few hours later. The next day, a different plumber from a different company came out and said we should throw out all opened containers of food, toaster, and coffeepot, and wash everything in the house, and only then it will be safe to move back in the house. We have been staying in a motel for 5 days now, and this has cost us hundreds of dollars. Are we overreacting? Should we take the original plumber to court over this?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Acid is a pretty drastic step...it is almost always better to snake the line. If the drain pipes were metal, there may be a hole in them.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    Also, I think the name of the acid might have been Clobber. I know that it ended with an "er".

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default acid

    You overreacted by about 5 days. You don't say how the odor got into the cabinet, but would normally only happen if there were a break in the pipe. If it was just fumes and odors then there was no hazard other than needing a good airing out. If there was actual liquid spill then toss or rinse off anything affected. The second plumber was using hyperbole to scare you and impress you with his opinion that the first plumber did not know what he was doing, which is not a valid argument. Snaking the line should have been the first option and then the Clobber if conditions warranted it, which is seldom the case.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I have never used clobber on a drain!
    Never will either!
    http://www.herchem.com/MSDS/detail.CFM?msds__MSDS=16
    Last edited by Redwood; 05-17-2008 at 07:25 PM.

  6. #6

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    Once the acid did its job, the first plumber should have flushed the line with cold water. Moreover, he never should have left if there was still acid fumes lingering. However, you should also have known to run cold water and to air the place out. It's just common sense.
    If there was an acid spill, that's another story, and the first plumber should be responsible. In any case, throwing out your toaster and coffee pot was totally unnecessary, as was moving out of your house. The second plumber may have done more harm than the first with his advice. Did the second plumber even do anything?

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I can not picture any circumstance where acid should be used. If a snake will not open a line then acid won't either.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default acid

    If the drain is seriously corroded a snake may not pass through it, but acid might emulsify and let it flow away.

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