Early in the month I was doing some laundry while Mike was doing dishes, and I walked down to my ugliest laundry room in the world in order to move the clothes through, when I was confronted with this terrible, horrible, no good very bad sight:
Our main line was backed up and my laundry room had flooded. Again. Gross. Sorry for the photo, it had to be done. Y'all need to understand just how dire the situation was.
We've had some issues in the past with our 50 year old home's main line to the sewer. Shortly after we moved in, the floor drain would flood the room a little when we did laundry. Gradually it started flooding more each time... no good.
We had plumbers come and look at it -- they climbed on the roof with a snake and cleaned it out, but they said some older homes just have problems like this that come back repeatedly, and worst case scenario we'd have to replace the main line (ouch! expensive!). I cried a little inside when they said that. A year and a half later it happened again and we called more plumbers. Even when the line was clear it was always slow, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I walked downstairs to a flooded laundry room again.
Both plumbers recommended a powdered enzymatic cleaner that is supposed to introduce enzymes (duh) and helpful bacteria to the pipes to really clean them out instead of just cutting a hole through the gunk like a snake would.
Geek moment time out: think of your plumbing system as similar to your digestive system (sorry -- again, it has to be done). Helpful bacteria are necessary for proper function in your gut, and when you use a heavy duty chemical drain cleaner on your pipes or take an antibiotic for an illness, all that helpful bacteria gets killed too. This can lead to drains that clog again faster or in the case of our body, tummy troubles. So if you can solve a slow drain with an enzymatic cleaner and then do routine monthly treatments to keep it clear, it's a healthier alternative but it's also better for the system in general.
Back to the story. I was using the enzymatic cleaner and it helped but it never eliminated the problem in the main line -- it seemed our issue was just too large. I cried inside some more.
Finally, this month when I had standing water that took hours to clear and I wanted to kick my house in its imaginary face, I started googling and found this product:
Instant Power's Main Line Cleaner. I started reading reviews about how it was some sort of miracle cleaner for frustrated homeowners. And I saw that it was guaranteed. I didn't want to get my hopes too high after hundreds of dollars spent on plumbers who couldn't fix it... but I still dropped everything to run to the store and pick up a bottle for $10.
I brought it home and anxiously watched the clock until evening; see, just like an enzymatic cleaner, this product is best used when you're not going to be using sinks, showers, toilets, dishwashers, etc. for several hours -- overnight is perfect. Right before bed I poured the entire bottle down my laundry room floor drain and said a prayer to the plumbing gods.
Fast forward to the next morning: I boiled a berzillion pots of water and trudged downstairs to flush the drain as per the instructions. I poured the first gallon into the drain... and it went down. It wasn't instant but the water... went down the drain... in front of my eyes. I was intrigued.
It wasn't draining slowly, but it also wasn't draining incredibly fast... so I decided to test the line and see if I needed another bottle (as some reviewers said their lines needed two treatments). Mike and I turned on all the faucets in the house at once and flushed the toilets... and at first it looked like it was going to start backing up through the floor drain again, but then we heard a big gurgle and saw some bubbles from deep in the pipe like something was knocked loose, and the drain immediately emptied and never filled back up.
Holy plumbing miracle, Batman.
My floor drain has been dry for a week, which is amazing. We've had zero back up, we can run the dishwasher and the washing machine at once, and my life is complete. Or at least I don't want to kick my house in its imaginary face anymore. Success!
(I received nothing from this company, they don't even know I exist... I just found an awesome product and wanted to share it with you guys!)