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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ho what fun, I hate working on urinals, this one had a slow drain. I tried my slick milwaukee m12 urinal snake it would not go all the way through the trap. I tried my milwaukee m12 sink snake with 25' of cable it would not get around the first bend in the trap. I cut the nice bulb end off of my new cable and bend it and tried to adjust it different ways to get through the trap no dice. The urinal was calked to the wall with silicone or some type of clear adhesive. After puttering around for like an hour and a half trying to clear the drain, I told the owner he needed a new urinal. I will give him an estimate tomorrow when I find out what parts cost. There are two urinals and they don't match so one has been replaced before, so a new urinal similar in size and shape should be np big deal. I know I could of spent at least another hour removing the urinal from the wall trying to clear the trap and snaking the drain and reinstalling the urinal, but I do not know if it would have fixed the problem. So I decided to save some labor and replace the urinal.
 

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Not knocking you, but how often is it actually the porcelain? Sure I’ve seen cracked toilets and cracked urinals, some with chunks missing. But what can possibly “go wrong” on the china itself and why do people let it explain a problem like a drain issue. Like do traps become porous and I’ve just never heard of it?

I guess I will say as a plumber it makes more sense for me to put my time into replacing something and get paid for that, but in the big picture some elbow grease and a small scrub brush will fix anything “wrong” with any vitreous clay fixture that I have seen or replaced.

I have seen a few hack job urinals in bar basements that got plumbed in with a 90 on its side. Aka a dirty arm. Seems to crystallize them shut pretty quick.
 

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Between grease traps and urinals, I’m not sure which is worse.

I will mess around with fishing stuff out if it with various tools for like 10 minutes (gum, pennys, urinal mint chunks, etc.). Then try muriatic acid, it will break down urinal mint chunks and any crystallized piss in the urinal. Then, it is getting pulled. Usually you need to jet. The piss kind of crystallizes in the pipe and needs to get blown out of there. Think of it a bit like a grease line.

Good luck!
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
Nice Head, what’s in the bag?
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When I was an apprentice, the company I was working for had a contract with Cadillac Fairview, which Owned/managed most of the major Malls in the city of Toronto.
We were always being called out to stopped up urinals in the busy malls, that couldn’t be cleared via the C/O, and when they weren’t stopped up we were snaking/flushing their drains as per reg maintenance.

-nothing is worse in this business then peeling a dirty urinal off a wall to snake the drain only to struggle to get it back on the wall, and hook up the flush valve.
Then clean up that nasty mess and put dirty cables in your truck, all the while having that “stink” on you, in your nose and your truck for days.

oh yeah, soldering copper drains for urinals isn’t much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Get a gallon of Muric Pool Acid pour into Urinal give about 30 Min's and it will clear out
Guaranteed
When I was in the Air Force and we had a clogged urinal we would pour down a 5 gallon container of some type of acid that was used to clean cooling towers it really smelled strong and usually worked. The main problem with urinal stoppages back in the 80's in the Air force was scented soap cakes and cigarettes' buts.
 

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You gotta do what you gotta do. No way I am going to second guess a guy for saving his sanity and "taking the easy way out" so to speak by replacing something instead of servicing it, especially on a disgusting job like this. If the customer doesn't like it he can call someone else. I don't always have to be the hero just to try to impress my peers, especially from my armchair.
 

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Not knocking you, but how often is it actually the porcelain? Sure I’ve seen cracked toilets and cracked urinals, some with chunks missing. But what can possibly “go wrong” on the china itself and why do people let it explain a problem like a drain issue. Like do traps become porous and I’ve just never heard of it?

I guess I will say as a plumber it makes more sense for me to put my time into replacing something and get paid for that, but in the big picture some elbow grease and a small scrub brush will fix anything “wrong” with any vitreous clay fixture that I have seen or replaced.

I have seen a few hack job urinals in bar basements that got plumbed in with a 90 on its side. Aka a dirty arm. Seems to crystallize them shut pretty quick.
Depending on water quality, but faily common where I am toilet traps and jets get constricted by calcium buildup, the jets you can clean with a pick but the trap really isnt serviceable, cant chain knock a toilet lol, the way i decide that is if it wont flush with the the tank water but it doesnt seem clogged i will pour a bucket of water down it and if that flushes it then new toilet time
 

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When I was in the Air Force and we had a clogged urinal we would pour down a 5 gallon container of some type of acid that was used to clean cooling towers it really smelled strong and usually worked. The main problem with urinal stoppages back in the 80's in the Air force was scented soap cakes and cigarettes' buts.
What was your afsc? I was water and fuels.

We would use the acid for the pool, muratic acid. It foams up and smells horrible but will clean the urinal out like new. Just flush it out a lot to get all that acid out when you’re done. A fan would be helpful to keep the fumes out.

I have heard people use the javelin urinal treatment. I see it at Ferguson. I’ve also used sizzle before and it works but the acid is a lot cheaper. I can get two gallons for $10 or a quart sized bottle for $20 I think
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Depending on water quality, but faily common where I am toilet traps and jets get constricted by calcium buildup, the jets you can clean with a pick but the trap really isnt serviceable, cant chain knock a toilet lol, the way i decide that is if it wont flush with the the tank water but it doesnt seem clogged i will pour a bucket of water down it and if that flushes it then new toilet time
Thanks dave helpful info.
 

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According to the SDS, Javelin is hydrochloric acid (HCl); muriatic acid is also HCl.

The concentration of HCl in Javelin may be higher or lower that that which you get from the pool store.

Either way it will dissolve calcium and piss crystals. It will also dissolve copper dwv over time.
 

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When using muriatic acid, it's best to have plenty of ventilation. It does work though.
Years ago, we did a bathroom remodel at a local college with a bunch of 25+ year old urinals. We disconnected the tapped tees and looked down the 2" waste lines and saw the calcium build up. What looked like Quikrete was about a 1/2" thick on all sided and was just as hard. A chisel bounced off it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Okay I bought a quart of javelin at Ferguson for about $20 bucks. I also bought a gallon of Muriatic acid. I poured the acid about 1/2 a gallon in the urinal a waited about 45 minutes. I flushed it it worked a little better, than I filled it up and used the kenetic water ram a few times, now it works a lot better. The customer is happy job is done.
 
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