Author Topic: Slow shower drain - recommendations  (Read 1266 times)

MsPeacock

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Slow shower drain - recommendations
« on: February 28, 2017, 06:12:16 AM »
My shower drain has been slow for quite some time (as in years). I'm generally able to get it moving with a couple quick plunges (specifically pushing the plunger down and then pulling it up hard). No one else in my house seems to be able to master this technique and as a result they end up standing in a couple inches of water while they shower.  The drain has a built in grate that is about an inch below the floor of the shower, and is not removable.  There is a removable grate at floor level, that we keep in place other than when plunging the drain (it catches hair and such). The openings in the fixed grate are too small to run a snake down the drain. I did use some thin plastic dohicky that had a pieces of Velcro on it - didn't fish anything significant out that way. I have put Drano type stuff down it many times, with no notable change to the drain. Additionally, my boyfriend tried sticking the shopvac to the drain - it made no difference whatsoever.

No other drains have any issues in the house.  (2 other bathrooms, various sinks, laundry, etc.)

Any suggestions or ideas about what might be the source of the problem and how to go about solving it?

Is it possible there is a bend or curve in the drain pipe that could catch an air bubble and keep the water from draining - which is fixed by my super-secret super-power plunging? Something else?

As far as I can determine the drains are not accessible without tearing out walls in the finished basement, or tearing apart the tiled shower floor...

Quint

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 07:18:36 AM »
Depending on how small the openings in the drain are maybe try something called a Zip-It.  Only costs a few dollars. 

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Zip-It-Bath-and-Sink-Hair-Snare-BC00400/100665735



GuitarStv

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 07:20:35 AM »
Use an extender bit to drill the pointless lower grate open, then snake the drain.

lthenderson

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 08:24:44 AM »
Do you have a tub/shower? if you do, snaking through the drain in the bottom is usually not going to work. In order to reach the P-trap where the clog is most likely, you will have to remove the drain trip lever plate and remove that assembly. You then put your snake in that hole and feed it down through the P-trap underneath. I linked a diagram showing what I mean

http://www.homerepairforum.com/images/drawings/2004-11-18_lazypupSnake_a_tub_drain.jpg

Alternatively, I have pretty good success using Drain-o or equivalent to dissolve organics. I get the gel kind, pour it in and let it set for 15 minutes and then pour boiling hot water down the drain to flush everything out. Using cold water isn't nearly as effective.

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 10:13:16 AM »
Shower drains clog because of built-up soap residue.  And depending on the soaps and shaving creams you use, so do bathroom sinks.

Before using Drano or anything harsh, try baking soda and vinegar.  There's plenty online on how to do it.  It really does work! 

Livingthedream55

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 08:48:43 AM »
Depending on how small the openings in the drain are maybe try something called a Zip-It.  Only costs a few dollars. 

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Zip-It-Bath-and-Sink-Hair-Snare-BC00400/100665735
Try this first!



VeggieGirl

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2017, 02:20:44 PM »
I just dealt with a slow bathtub drain myself. I tried everything - the zip-it, baking soda and vinegar, plunger. Nothing worked, just about to give up and call a plumber when I tried Instant Power Hair and Grease Opener, a non-acidic drain opener from Home Depot.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Instant-Power-33-8-oz-Hair-and-Grease-Drain-Opener-1969/100144566

I followed the directions on the bottle and left it to sit overnight, the drain runs great now.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2017, 07:47:05 PM »
For a harmless way to clear drains, you can try hot water and a plunger. Fill a bucket with the hottest water you can get from the tap, pour it down, plunge. Repeat.

Hot water can help move along a clog without harming anything. Drano and similar chemicals can be pretty harsh.

MsPeacock

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 07:14:22 AM »
Thank you!

The drain will work normally when I quickly plunge it just as it starts to fill up. No one else seems to have mastered this technique. Anyhow, it makes me wonder if the issue isn't a clog but some other thing, trapped air for instance, that might be causing the pipe to back up. I don't know if this is something that is possible or not. I'll try the other recommendations here.

AMandM

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2017, 09:22:07 PM »
Do you have a tub/shower? if you do, snaking through the drain in the bottom is usually not going to work. In order to reach the P-trap where the clog is most likely, you will have to remove the drain trip lever plate and remove that assembly. You then put your snake in that hole and feed it down through the P-trap underneath.

I had a similar problem to yours, OP, and I removed the drain trip lever plate (didn't know it was called that, I called it the overflow cap).  That's when I discovered that the rod connecting the lever to the plug was broken, and the drain was half blocked by the plug, which couldn't be moved.  I was able to jiggle it so the water now flows freely, but we can't plug the tub until I get in through the access panel to fix it.

chaskavitch

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Re: Slow shower drain - recommendations
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2017, 06:12:03 AM »
Do you have a tub/shower? if you do, snaking through the drain in the bottom is usually not going to work. In order to reach the P-trap where the clog is most likely, you will have to remove the drain trip lever plate and remove that assembly. You then put your snake in that hole and feed it down through the P-trap underneath.

I had a similar problem to yours, OP, and I removed the drain trip lever plate (didn't know it was called that, I called it the overflow cap).  That's when I discovered that the rod connecting the lever to the plug was broken, and the drain was half blocked by the plug, which couldn't be moved.  I was able to jiggle it so the water now flows freely, but we can't plug the tub until I get in through the access panel to fix it.

Rubber stopper!  Neither of my drain trip levers work, so that's what we use :)

https://www.amazon.com/BrassCraft-SF3706-Stopper-2-Inch-Drains/dp/B00K4ECI02