Clogged bathroom sink drain

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
Hi -

Without any warning at all, our bathroom sink drain suddenly became fully clogged. I tried plunging and although a bunch of black muck came up into the sink, I haven't been able to clear it.

So I tried with my auger, but I am pretty sure I'm ending up going up the vent. The auger came out way too clean, and the main drain pipe this ties into is only about six feet away.

There is no slip joint where the pipe goes into the wall, so I can't see which direction the auger is going and I can't guide it.

I would have resorted to trying Instant Power Hair & Grease, but there is no water movement for it to get down to the clog.

Any advice for how to proceed?

IMG_20200531_185314.jpgIMG_20200531_124303.jpgIMG_20200531_191334.jpg

Thanks.

Mike
 

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
Thanks for the response. It is 100% not the popup, especially given the popup is currently removed, and the trap was 100% full when removed. And yes, it's not the trap either - totally clear :)

Any thoughts on how to clear this, given my circumstances as shown in the photo?
 

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
I'm not sure that's practical for a number of reasons -

1. The roof has a steep pitch
2. This is on the first floor
3. I see only two vent stacks on the roof, but there are obviously more than two vented fixtures - so how would you snake to the proper fixture's drain? Only the sink drain is clogged. How would you snake to a specific fixture's drain from the roof?
 

Dan the Plumber

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
13
Location
95404
For goodness sakes, just cut off the J bend. Those style of straps are a pain as it is, and heres just another example. When the drain is cleared install a regular slip joint trap
 

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
Hey Dan - that sounds like a great solution! Will cutting off the J-bend assure me of being able to guide the auger downward? Or do I need a drop-head auger?
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
Don’t cut off the bend just yet.

Try rotating the auger the opposite way as you advance, and twist a lot more times, and go forward a few inches then back a few inches.

Usually, clockwise rotation works best but try the reverse.

If this fails, then give the pigtail tip of the auger just a slight bend, like five or ten degrees off of straight.
Then go down there again, twisting more than you think you need to, advancing slowly.
 

Dan the Plumber

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
13
Location
95404
Assuming it goes straight into a santee in the wall, yes. if it goes sideways you'll still have a better chance of making the turn. 90% chance its a santee.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
Otherwise as Dan said, cut the bend off and glue on a trap adaptor nearer the wall, then install a tubular p trap.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
You also might be farther from the clog than you think.
If that auger is only 15 feet, you can get 25 feet or even longer in a drum auger.
It’s hard to find longer than 30 feet in a drum auger, but the older style snake with the zigzag tube crank handle comes in 50 ft, and has a slightly thicker cable also.
HD carries them for about $25.00. Husky brand.
Clean going in, just a little oily, but messy on the way out, lay down some tarps.
 

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
Thanks for the great tips Jeff and Dan!

I don't think I'm going to run into an issue with the auger being too short. I think it's 25 feet if I remember correctly, and this bathroom is very close to the main drain it ties into. I think I only need to get out about 15 feet but will measure it out or hope to get lucky.

Dan - I'm not sure I fully understand your maneuvering suggestions -

>> Try rotating the auger the opposite way as you advance, and twist a lot more times, and go forward a few inches then back a few inches.

It's already a hard angle to work ... are you saying that at the first point I feel it hit some resistance, that tells me it's hitting the tee in the wall, so rotate it at that point? Given I don't do this very often, I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to tell which direction it is going ...
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
You should be rotating it constantly, even when it can be easily advanced.
Never just push the snake in without rotation.

Yes, when you feel the cable stopping at the first restriction, that is likely the tee that goes up and down.
It is usually only a few inches behind the cabinet, but can be deeper, or might be an elbow going sideways first then a tee a ways down.

There is no way to know which way the snake is going, but sometimes when it goes up into the vent you can hear it beating on it while you are twisting it vigorously.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
Rotating the snake cleans the pipe along the way, grabs hair clogs, and helps the coiled tip grab the edges of tees and elbows so it can crawl through them.
Or dig through a clog while grabbing hair inside it.
 

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
Okay - I didn't realize that it should be rotated constantly. I usually feed it through manually until I feel resistance and then rotate, then repeat that process. I will try what you suggest and see if I can tell if there is a difference.

I'm wondering if it's possible for me to put a scope into the J and see which way it's going ...
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
It is pretty hard for me to tell up from down, unless a pipe has water in it.
If you put the snake in past the tee, then put the camera in just short of the tee, then put in some water, the water will flow downhill into the down side of the tee.
If that is the route the cable is shown as taking, you know the cable made it the right way.
 

lbeachmike

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
Long Beach, NY
Ah, interesting point. Given that water is not flowing at all, and given the J-bend, it might not prove worth mucking up the camera. Game-time decision.

I did confirm that my auger is 25 feet, which looks like it will be just about the same distance to the main drain connection from that J.

Thanks for all the help!

If I have to cut the J, I'll probably be checking in for more help :)

Any recommended drop-head auger? It seems like that would make this quite a bit easier ...
 

havasu

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
9,569
Reaction score
1,393
Location
Southern California,
It is times like this that remind me of all the trucks on the road which state, "we will clear any drain for $39.95", and think ....what is my time and frustration worth?
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
316
Location
Chicago suburbs
FYI the hand spinner auger you show is a cheapo, and a good auger with a better cable makes a huge difference.
And putting a drill on yours is just asking for trouble, do not do it.

Ridgid hand spinners are awesome, you can buy from Amazon or many plumbing supply sites.
Price varies from approx $120 to $160.
There is also a drop head version, but I have never needed it.
The fancier version with some aluminum parts costs more, I have the mostly plastic one, still works great after a few decades of many successful missions.
 
2
Top