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Old 02-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #1
lip008
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Default Bathroom sink drain will be the death of me...

My bathroom sink clogged about a year ago. I snaked it with a drill attachment which seemed to do the trick. Two weeks ago it plugged again. The stopper had a huge amount of black and green gunk growing on it. I took off the plastic catch pipe under the sink and cleared more of the gunk out of it. The pipe in the wall goes horizontal to the stack. I scooped out all the gunk that I could get to at the opening of the pipe in the wall. Amazing how much a plastic spoon can sneak in and pull out. Tasty! For the remainder I used the snake attachment on the drill and it worked fine for a week.

Now it's in worse shape than before except when I take it apart there is no gunk built up anywhere that I can see. I used the baking soda/vinegar/hot water fix with no improvement.

I read somewhere that the black gunk is a bacterial problem and tried one of those bacterial eaters with no change. I tried that 4 to 5 times over a period of a week.

I threw in the towel and one local plumber recommended from the hardware store doesn't have evening hours. I'm not talking after 8 or 9pm either. I'm talking at 6pm! He must be rolling in the cash or my business isn't important enough. Typical roto guys want $130 to come out so I'm back to giving it another try.

I want to just replace the pipe unless someone else can suggest an attachment to my snake that spins like a propeller and can cut through the sludge...if that's what's even causing the issue blockage.

I can't get to the pipe from under the sink because the cabinet has a plywood back and there is no budging it without ripping it off the floor along ripping the caulking barrier on the top. Since the lower half of the kitchen side of the wall has a decorative covering I figured I'd take that off and cut through the dry wall to get a look at the pipe.

I was thinking my snake was hitting a bend in the pipe in the wall but the pipe(looks like cast iron) is straight about my arms length in length. The snake seems to make it near the end which is troubling to me as what's causing the clog.

I removed enough of the wall to see a bigger problem. The builder has the pipe wedged in the stud by cutting a wedge out of it where the wedge opening is on the bathroom side! It's only one stud but if I cut through it I still have to deal with the pipe being butted up against the plaster on the other side of the wall. I think it's plaster because I tried chiseling out around the pipe and there is some type of thin metal support made in it.

I have great access to the pipe near the stack but sawing through the pipe and having enough room to work may be a problem. I could try to saw through the plywood backing and the wall in the bathroom and try to unscrew the pipe. I just don't know what's my best plan to attack.

What the heck would a professional do in my case? It's 1.5 inch pipe. Would they use a camera? Would they have a better snake attachment? What bums me a little bit about the professional is from what I can tell is that they have different fees. An hour for unclogging isn't the same as pipe work. If it was the main drain to my house it would be a no-brainer for me to hire someone. I can't believe this arm's length of pipe is causing me so much of a problem.

If anyone finished reading....any help is appreciated!



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Old 02-07-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
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Buy one of those hand crank snakes from the hardware store. Remove the pop up and feed it down the sink drain. You'll encounter resistance at each fitting, especially the trap. I run water down the drain at the same time. It'll drain like crazy when you open the clog.
Without experience it will be a little tricky. Just requires a little mechanical aptitude.



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Old 02-07-2013, 12:19 AM   #3
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True, or if you wanted rent a power auger, 3/8 cable should do the trick. Depends on what ya wanna spend. Power does the work for you and sometimes I find the hand one like rob said can be a bit tricky unless you have experience, and some blockages are pretty tough with a hand auger.

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Old 02-07-2013, 02:29 AM   #4
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If the sink has it's own stack/vent the problem may be farther down the drain then in the waste arm. If it does have it's own vent I would have a plumbing contractor run a cable from the roof vent.

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Old 02-07-2013, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IFIXH20 View Post
If the sink has it's own stack/vent the problem may be farther down the drain then in the waste arm. If it does have it's own vent I would have a plumbing contractor run a cable from the roof vent.
I appreciate all the comments but I don't know how a hand snake will help. I've used a heavy duty snake that I had to wheel in the house the last time around and don't believe it helped much. I believe the 3 feet of pipe in the wall from the sink tie into what I would call a stack and like the idea of snaking it from the roof.

Would my snake attachment for the drill be ok? I want to say it's either 15' or 30' in length. My main concern is if I could do any damage running the snake down the stack from the roof.

When I use the snake attached to the drill I just hit a spot where the snake goes no further regardless of how fast I have the drill going. It's either horribly blocked where the sink pipe in the wall connects with the stack or something is going on in the stack.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:00 PM   #6
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Sounds like your hitting the back of the tee were the line turns down. Try putting a slight bend in the end of the cable. When you reach the point were it will go no farther run the cable slow with a slight pressure on it. Try that in both forward and reverse. That could just save you a trip to the roof.

John

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Old 02-07-2013, 11:36 PM   #7
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Try what John said first, if no luck and you can access your roof look for a 1 1/2'' or 2'' vent above the restroom/lav sink in question , if you find a vent drop a piece of carrot (about the size of a dime ,but a little thicker) down the vent and listen for a splash, if you here a splash then the stoppage is in the drain not the waste arm. reassemble drain under sink and run water until sink backs up before testing the vent/drain. I use bb's to test the vent/drain.

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Old 02-10-2013, 05:01 PM   #8
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Thank you guys for all the advice. I dropped a small piece of carrot down the stack and didn't hear a splash so I gave the snake drill attachment one last try. Figured the block has to be in the pipe. I don't know if the vinegar/baking soda from my last attempt helped or if I just worked the snake better but I was able to break through!

The snake kept on going and going which was a great feeling. When I pulled it out the snake had a glob of hair wrapped around it. My hair is buzzed short...so the hair wasn't mine, and I clean my razor in a cup that I dump outside. Women and their hair!!!! Keeping the snake around that same length I ran it a bit longer. I'm not sure if the pipe has sediment built up around that part because when I get to that part in in the pipe it does take a little jiggling to get it to keep feeding the snake down the pipe.

With everything assembled there is no slow water. Full blast hot and cold go right down! I'm going to invest $30 in one of those USB cameras because I want to see if there is a build up in that section for preventative maintenance. Any suggestion on a particular brand?

Side question....i just drained the water heater tank to get sediment out of it and now the pressure release valve has a drip....can't catch a break! Is this considered a plumbing question that I can ask in these forums?

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Old 02-10-2013, 11:09 PM   #9
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Did you manually open the t&p valve?

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Old 02-11-2013, 03:41 AM   #10
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Yeah i did. Guy at the hardware store told me to tap it with a my wrench or whatever and sure enough it stopped it from dripping.



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