Frequent user of drain unblocker

r_c

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Maybe not a DIY question, but I hope you plumbers have a view on this ...

The drain in our walk in shower regularly becomes very slow to drain (maybe every 6-8 weeks?). We pour drain unblocker down it, leave it overnight and in the morning the shower drains perfectly again. All good!

This is our go to unblocker (you see, it's "ultra powerful"!):
https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/gol-ui...buster-bathroom-sink-plughole-unblocker-300ml

But I read something saying that I could be damaging my pipework with regular use of (ultra powerful) products like this. And I'm not doing the environment much good either.

Is there a better option I should consider for a drain like this that regularly needs treating? Is there one that doesn't damage the pipework, and isn't so bad to the environment ... and still works :)
 
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I would say the pipe is pretty well gunged up, all you're doing with that stuff is melting a hole through the middle of the gunge, which soon fills up again. Its a short term fix, given its only lasting a few weeks. I also think I can speak for many of us on here who would gladly see that stuff banned from Public sale, it is lethal stuff, and too often is used for sinister purposes.

My guess would be your best course of action now is to mechanically clean the pipework out with a Plumbers Snake or similar, or look to engage the service of someone with the specialist gear for cleaning out small bore waste pipework. Once the build up inside the pipework has been removed, the full bore of the pipe will once again be available and I would expect you to have many months of trouble free showering!

If you get someone in, warn them what you've used previously, if you DIY it, goggle, gloves and long sleeves as a minimum, that stuff will burn through skin and tissue without a second thought.
 
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That unblocker is a lower concentrated alkali/bleach. The high powered ones are high concentrated acids. Don't get me wrong it needs to be handled with care and it you will get caustic burns from it but it's kinder to pipework. Acid based cleaners can melt/deform the pipework as it overheats.

That being said, you should really find out why the trap is clogging up every 6-8weeks, sounds like it's soap 'n' stuff building up and the fall on the waste might not be the the best so it's not self cleaning.
 
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Buy yourself a wet vac and suck the crap out. The Wickes one is currently only £39. I use a full pack of Blutac wrapped around the end of the nozzle to get a good seal to the plughole.
 
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r_c

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Thank you all for your comments.

(BTW, it case it's not obvious from my question, I am a home owner that doesn't know a lot about plumbing/building/[insert more topics here] - and I very much appreciate your suggestions.)

I'm not sure I can get a plumbers snake into a shower waste like this. If I take the shiny metal piece off, there doesn't seem to be a lot of wiggle room to be able to get anything in there.

The waste pipe goes under the shower tray (and floor), goes through an external wall (immediately by it) and comes out above our garage. Then it runs long horizontally for maybe 2m before entering the soil stack (see photo). I wonder if as you suggest the fall on this is not ideal and could the reason for poor drainage. I see there is a sort of cap on the end and will see if that can be opened to allow me to have a peak into that long pipe.

A wet vacuum + blue tac was not a suggested I expected to see. :)

 
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Yes, that cap is what's called a rodding eye, and allows that length of pipe to be cleared if it gets blocked. Cant tell from that pic how much fall is on the pipe, min fall would be around 20mm/metre, ideal is 40>50mm/meter.

It's a common issue with floor standing shower trays where the waste has only a certain amount of space to obtain the proper fall. Either that or if the pipe is not supported properly it can sag over time creating a dip where the gunge can accumulate.
 
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Yes, removing the cap should allow you access both ways with a snake or even a piece of curtain wire, give it a good workout in the pipe, ideally with the water running to flush out the gunk as you loosen it up.
 
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A wet vacuum + blue tac was not a suggested I expected to see.
About 4 years ago I bought a small wet vac from B&Q for £15 in a sale, havent a clue how I ever got on without it, always had a large wet vac but the tiny one is fantastic for rad valve changes, cleaning F&E tanks, catching water when working on boilers, great tool
 
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