Bathtub snake going in wrong pipe?

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alliecatm

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Homeowner trying to dislodge her own bathtub clog here. To catch you up, I usually use the short (22-24in?) plastic cleaning tool to get hair clogs out of my bathroom drain pipe. It's not working this time, the clog's too deep or big, so I tried using a plunger, which didn't work. I've moved on to trying a manual drain auger/snake and something's happened that stumped me: I went in through the overflow pipe, it stopped against something hard (which I assumed was the trap/some kind of bend) so I worked at it until it went through... and then it stopped against something metal again. Then, I look down, and the see that it made a wrong turn and ended up at the drain opening. I'm honestly not sure what to try next. I tried again, same results. Not sure how to get it to go down the right part of the pipe. Any advice? Am I missing a technique here? My plumbing experience is pretty limited. Many thanks!
 

frodo

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alliecatm

look at your tub. it has a chrome thingy at the top where the lever for the drain is
that is your over flow. remove the 2 screws.....

w_o.png

TIP
If you want to use a plunger on a bathtub.
this is a rubber sink stopper, this is what i use. i drilled to holes where the over flow screws are. remove over flow, install rubber, then use the over flow cover to hold the rubber in place.
you have to plug that opening in order to plunge the tub

rubber_stopper.png

 
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Jeff Handy

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Try rotating the drain auger the other way.
That sometimes will make the leading end choose a different path.

I like to use a plunger more as a suction device than as a water pusher.
Open the tub drain, hold the plunger tight over the drain hole, fill tub with about four or five inches of hot water.
Lift the plunger, let a few gallons of water out, then try reverse plunging by pressing down hard on the plunger then lifting up hard and fast.
This will sometimes work by sucking the hair clog backwards enough that it starts to break up.
Repeat the press and hard pull up many times.
Refill the tub to keep a few inches of water in there, it works better like that for me.
 

Jeff Handy

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You can push down slowly on the plunger.
It won’t matter if water comes out the overflow.
The stroke that matters is the powerful upstroke, lift the plunger up hard and fast from its fully compressed position.
You are trying to suck water backwards through the drain.
Even though the overflow is connected to the vent, and is letting air in that weakens the suction you are creating, if you do it hard enough and often enough it can work.

This only works with a good quality plunger with a large black cup that has a wide rim around it.
The kind with a red rubber cup are usually just a toy, but they will work to help clear a toilet clog after a log jam.
 

Diehard

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Based on what the OP said she did, she has already removed the "chrome thingy at the top where the lever for the drain is". I suppose we could ask if she removed that linkage and plug(Lift Bucket) before she snaked it. Or if it even existed. The fact the snake finally found its way over to the tub drain after hitting something solid is the strange part, I believe. I don't know if any of those Lift Buckets ever go low enough to clear the pipeline to the tub drain.

I think frodo's rubber overflow plug idea is a good approach to getting a better plunger action for suction and push strokes.
I've always found that the suction stroke of a plunger has a much better chance of moving the liquid when the push stroke doesn't work for you.
 

Jeff Handy

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You can also pack a soaking wet rag in the overflow.

Sometimes this can cause trouble later, if there is a crumbling gasket or seal right at the back of the tub wall.
 

Jeff Handy

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1F5FCD23-AFAF-4439-AE22-0AE4EA12E6BE.png This is basically the style of plunger I like.
Although the ones I prefer also have an extra little rim, or flange of rubber around the bottom edge. For extra wide sealing surface.

The handle should be very securely attached, or else when you forcefully pull up, it can come loose and whack you.

For tub plunging, you just fold up inside the projecting part at the bottom.
That is meant to seal better against a toilet trap.
 

Diehard

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I use that one for my toilet for a quick stoppage clear.
Never had a problem with my tub drain.
Made my female neighbors buy screen strainers for their tub drains.
 

alliecatm

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Try rotating the drain auger the other way.
That sometimes will make the leading end choose a different path.
Thanks! A simple solution that I for some reason just didn't think of. Alternating between clockwise and counter clockwise did the trick and it went down the correct pipe. Still haven't snagged the clog though. If I keep at it with the auger, I think time and patience are going to be my best tools until it catches.

I went back to trying the plunger -- both with and without a rag in the overflow pipe (honestly, the force of pushing down just shot the rag out after a few pushes). I think I'm going to head to Lowe's and grab the style of plunger you listed. The seal on mine just doesn't seem to be strong enough for this stubborn of a clog, as a little bit of air burps out from under the seal. Thank you again for your helpful responses.
 
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