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Home COFSAB Forum Repairs and Maintenance Cleaning Plumbing Stacks

  • Cleaning Plumbing Stacks

    Posted by Mark Hambridge on December 20, 2023 at 5:18 pm
    • Terry G wrote (in another thread):

    “Your question brings forth another critical question. The plumbing stacks in an apartment can become plugged for various reasons. The most common is that garburators lead to a build-up on the walls of the stacks over time. The stacks can become plugged. It is not uncommon to have a significant issue in a building if a stack becomes clogged and wastewater backs up into suites in the structure. That, too, can lead to substantial costs for the condo or even insurance claims if the expense is excessive.

    Routine auguring of stacks would be a wise approach”.

    Our corporation cleans the kitchen waste stacks every couple of years. Starting at the bottom of the buildings, they work upwards (so any clogging waste falls to the bottom of the stack and doesn’t get caught with other waste clogs already in the stack). Auguring from the sink to the stack requires access to each unit’s kitchen. In our old building, some kitchens are opposite one another, so auguring from ‘mine’ across the stack to ‘yours’ cleans both at once. Newer buildings have an elbow or Y connection, so each kitchen has to be cleaned separately.

    After the stack has been cleaned, the waste is removed from the bottom, and the stack is flushed from the bottom to the top, hoping that there are no residual clogs to flood kitchens on the way down…

    Clog prevention is a good practice:

    • Don’t put any oils or grease down the sink (it should go in the compost, according to the City of Calgary).
    • Remove the garbage disposer when it dies (or sooner), and don’t replace it.
    • Clean the sink waste line regularly.
    • We previously used a paste of water and bicarbonate of soda followed by vinegar, washed down with hot water.
    • The plumber doing our auguring (that’s not fortune-telling) recommended ordinary dishwashing soap and copious amounts of hot water. It hadn’t Dawned on me that could be effective.
    • Proprietary strong chemicals can corrode the pipes.
    Bailey B F replied 3 weeks, 6 days ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
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  • Bailey B F

    February 2, 2024 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Mark

    This is a new approach we might try. We educate residents on what to put in drains, but the corporation does not often clean pipes from the Unit to the building stack. Do you have a plumber you recommend that is knowledgeable and price effective?

    Thanks in advance,


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