Roto Rooter "shock" treatment: $45/Gallon- cheaper alternatives?

I just had to have my sewage line snaked by Roto-Rooter, the people that lived here before me apparently dumped a lot of grease down the drain over the years. He strongly recommended I flush a “shock” treatment down the toilet for a few weeks to break down the sludge that has accumulated. He suggested I buy it from them, but it was $45 for a gallon! I figure he’s probably right that it would be a good thing to do, but is there an effective cheaper alternative to Roto-Rooters’ formula which apparently seems to include a quantity of champagne and truffles?

Well, they sell Rid-X at the local hardware store.

I would not pay $45 for shock treatment.

What works best against grease is an Alkali, or alkaline environment, such as concentrated Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide, with the Sodium type working the best of these two.

It’s the degreaser in oven cleaner and pipe cleaners. Chances are good that Roto is just going to pour a bunch of their own drain cleaner down the drain.

Rid-X is intended for septic systems, not sewer laterals, and is a complete waste of money.

The product referenced in the OP sounds like Roto-Rooter’s “Pipe Shield” product. I’ve never seen any independent testing that shows whether this product actually works or is just literally pouring money down the drain.

On the public side of the sewers, we don’t use any products like this. We clean out sewer lines with augers or high-pressure water jets.

That sounds like prevention, which we are past now.

What **Philster **said, or even easier, I would try a box of dishwasher powder (followed by very hot water), which is also formulated to chemically react with the grease, which is why they recommend not rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher. But IANAPlumber, and my plumber has a house on the lake.

It wasn’t Roto-rooter, but we had a similar company try to sell us a similar product. We declined, but I did look up on the internet what it was - as I recall, it was some enzyme or maybe a bacterial thing that, over time, was supposed to reduce/eliminate grease and other build up in your pipes. There were similar retail products that weren’t much cheaper (no idea what the price was at the time).

IIRC, it was supposed to be a periodic treatment, possibly even for the kitchen drain.

not a lot of help

There are enzyme treatments that will help prevent future buildup, but AIUI they are of limited use to actually break up the initial clog.

Assuming that RR has your pipes flowing and is just recommended treatment to prevent future problems, I’d look into those.

I’ve used one before with good results, but I don’t remember which one it was. I think you treated all the drains daily for a week or so, and then treated them weekly or monthly thereafter.

To treat the drains, you pour down a couple tablespoons of the enzyme followed by a cup of water. The critical part is that this must be done during a time when you won’t be running any water, or else the enzyme just washes away without having time to work. So you’d do it last thing at night or right before leaving for the day.

I thought enzymes worked by breaking down proteins. How will this help with fats?

Close, but no cigar. Enzymes are proteins, and depending on the particular enzyme, it can react with pretty much anything.


Pipe Shield

It’s bacterial cultures. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to remove existing grease clogs.