Something better than a typical snake?

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by sawsaw, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. Aug 12, 2019 #1

    sawsaw

    sawsaw

    sawsaw

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    Bathtub and bathroom sink are draining very slowly. Presuming there is nothing worthwhile in a pourable form and a snake with a spiral coil on the end has proven ineffective, what will work? I thought a snake-like device with clam-like attachments would work, but my local rental had nothing like that. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Aug 12, 2019 #2

    Geofd

    Geofd

    Geofd

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    this is what to watch for
    1 turn the faucet on.....watch tos see if it starts coming up in the tub if I does you snake it from the sink
    2 if they are separately clogged removed the overflow plate on the tub wet a rag ag stick it in the overflow and plunge away
    3 for the sink remove the plastic pop up usually the culprit is right there needle nose pliers or a coat hanger will work or cover the over flow and plunge away
    there are other things you can try but start with the easy stuff first
     
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  3. Aug 13, 2019 #3

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    Tub trap or tub drain line is full of hair and soap forming a clog.
    Sink and tub drains usually meet up quickly.
    If slow draining, not clogged, enzyme cleaner like Drain Care used several overnights in a row should help.

    Snake with spiral coil is very effective for hair clogs. Advance slowly, move a foot forward, then pull one foot back, keep twisting more than you think is needed.

    Make sure your snake is not running up into the vent, try to listen for snake noise that is too high in the wall, which shows snake is in the vent.
    If so, try snaking counter-clockwise.
     
  4. Aug 13, 2019 #4

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    Also, get a GOOD plunger, a big mother with a big black rubber head with lots of volume and a wide mouth.

    Put ar least five inches of water in the tub or sink, and block the overflow as mentioned by Geofd above.

    Also, top secret plunging technique, is to plunge down hard, wait about five seconds, then PULL UP hard on your good quality plunger like you mean it.
    Repeat, repeat, repeat. Use hot water, and check that you have not blown open your P trap from plunging.

    I have unplugged more drains with plunger hard suction than plunger used normally.
    Pulling up hard lifts the whole slug of water, then it rams it back down on the clog.
     
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  5. Aug 13, 2019 #5

    Matt30

    Matt30

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    **edit

    I somehow double posted and F’d everything up. Disregard
     
  6. Aug 13, 2019 #6

    Matt30

    Matt30

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    Most tool rental places have better quality hand snakes than the hardware stores. Those cables are just too flimsy. See if you can find one with a sturdy 5/16” cable. I like the ones from Rigid personally
     
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  7. Aug 13, 2019 #7

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    Also buy one of these.
    I have one and have used it a million times.
    There is also a fancier version with more aluminum parts, less plastic, but this version fits in a little tighter cabinets etc.

    https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/k26-hand-spinner
     
  8. Aug 13, 2019 #8

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    The cable is 5/16, that extra thickness really helps it keep going without twisting up on itself in the pipe.
     
  9. Aug 13, 2019 #9

    chiraldude

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    I wouldn't automatically write off liquid chemicals, at least if you are on a city sewer*. Particularly if the clog is mostly hair, the Lye/Bleach solutions can be useful. Not very expensive but you have to do some label reading. There are generic brands on the shelf but you have to make sure it has both Lye and Sodium Hypochlorite.
    You have to use a lot of it of course. May have to dump a jug into the sink and 2 into the tub. You have to push out the water in the traps to make sure the full strength stuff gets to the clog.
    Another thing that helps is to flow hot water through the pipes beforehand. The residual heat in the pipes will help dissolve the clog faster.

    *If you have a septic tank, a couple gallons of drain cleaner all at once may not be a good idea.
     
  10. Aug 13, 2019 #10

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    I admit I recently used this trusty stuff in my clogged condo kitchen sink.

    Instant Power from Home Depot

    67.6 oz. Hair and Grease Drain Cleaner

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/100169339

    Someone had repeatedly dumped coffee grounds and pure grease down the drain from other units above me or near me.
    When I plunged, they kept coming up in my sink.
    We cannot have a waste disposal in this building.

    I did not want to wait for Association to eventually send a snaker out, and also all the building’s drains had just been professionally snaked very recently.
    My back was killing me, not up for doing my own snaking.
    And clogs tend to be pretty far away here anyway.
    I was also afraid they would try to blame the clogs on me.

    This stuff worked great. My full double sink was draining only about a few ounces every ten minutes. So I did not use any water there all day, and both sinks finally emptied.
    Then after midnight dumped in a quart of this, and a gallon of very hot water from the bathtub faucet.
    Half hour later I heard gurgling in the sinks, so I ran about five mins of straight hot water, totally cleared up!

    No probs since, has been at least three months.
     
  11. Aug 14, 2019 #11

    sawsaw

    sawsaw

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    Thanks for your commentaries, guys. I ran s barbed mini snake through both p traps and got very little crud. The sink drain line runs into the toilet stack and the bathtub line runs under the first floor joists, and they seem to be almost perfectly horizontal. This, I believe I'm only dealing with hair and soap scum.
    I also tried a plunger on both lines, with little effect. Any other ideas?
     
  12. Aug 15, 2019 #12

    Geofd

    Geofd

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    you gotta sent that snake out as far as you can its further tha the trap
     
  13. Aug 15, 2019 #13

    Matt30

    Matt30

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    Good catch Geoff

    I assumed he used the entire snake, you can’t just run it through the trap.
     
  14. Aug 15, 2019 #14

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    I think he used one of those little three foot long plastic hair catchers, like a Zip It type.
     
  15. Aug 16, 2019 #15

    sawsaw

    sawsaw

    sawsaw

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    Jeff is correct ... I did describe it as a "mini" snake.
     
  16. Aug 16, 2019 #16

    Matt30

    Matt30

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    Oh, my bad then. I assumed it was one of the little cable snakes you see at the hardware store with the flimsy 1/4” cable.

    Find a tool rental place that rents hand snakes.

    First out it down the overflow pipe of the tub. That’s a direct route to the top of the trap. You should be able to push it through the trap while spinning. Go 10-15 ft and try it.

    For the sink, put the snake through the cleanout on the bottom and go the same distance. By that distance it “should be” into 3” pipe.
     

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