Pressurized Eggplant: A Plumbing Tale

Since I don’t wish to name names, allow me to say that anyone who is currently married to me is hereby advised not to dispose of eggplant down the kitchen-sink garbage disposal.

Last night, water from the dishwasher backed up into the kitchen sink and downstairs bathtub. Foul gray water, full of sediment and eggplant. Down in the basement, the kitchen pipe meets the bathtub pipe before it all flows into the giant outflow pipe, and the semi-shredded eggplant had jammed up tight in that particular spot. Everything else in the house bypassed the clog, so we still had a functional upstairs shower, two bathroom sinks, and both toilets. But once I had isolated the clog, I realized there was no easy way to attack it.

The Pipes:

As you can see, the bathtub drain pipe is one twisty mofo, and the chance of successfully feeding an auger down to the clog was zero. I tried plunging the tub drain to no avail, which meant that one of two remaining options–an option I did not like–was opening that white safety cap that juts off the side and feeding the auger in that way. Opening that cap, however, would release the hideous water stuck in the pipe, and said water would need to be caught in a big garbage can or something, and I would assuredly be a gray-eggplant-water-soaked mess by the time it was all over.

Option #2: CRL Power Plumber. I’ve used this stuff before and it’s miraculous. The can is full of non-toxic pressurized gas. You invert the can over the drain, press down, and blast the trapped water against the clog. The gas is super-cold; ice crystals appear after use, and you can apparently get frostbite if it hits your skin directly. I love it dearly.

I wasn’t sure it’d work this time. The clog was way beyond the drain (see pipe picture above), and the blast would have to move the water down the long twisty tub drain and then, at the t-junction, have enough oomph to blow in both directions and still affect the clog way off to the left.

Worth a shot. I removed the bathtub’s drain cap and overflow-drain face plate. Then I stuffed the overflow drain with a wet cloth to contain the pressure, put the can over the tub drain (there was still backed-up water in the tub, which is actually ideal when you’re using CRL), and blasted away. It took half-a-dozen attempts but then I heard that glorious sucking sound, the water began to move, and lo:

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