Author Topic: Plumbing question  (Read 7193 times)

PloddingInsight

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Plumbing question
« on: May 02, 2014, 07:40:26 AM »
Hello good people of the MMM forums.  I'm a long time reader of MMM & the forum, but this is my first post.  I'm trying to save a little cash by fixing a chronically clogged bathroom sink by myself, although I am not what you would call a "handy" guy.  Repeatedly pouring liquid plumber products into the sink has only slightly helped the issue.

I watched a youtube video that showed me how to remove and clear the "P trap" under the sink.  Unfortunately the P trap was quite clear and water flowed through the sink into the bucket I was using quite easily -- so the problem seems to be beyond the P trap, somewhere in the wall.  I'm considering my next move.

I already have something like this tool: 

http://www.amazon.com/Superior-Tool-DrainStick-Sink-Cleaner-Drain-Clearing/dp/B000ANWRVC/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1399037486&sr=8-3&keywords=unclog+drain

However, unlike the sales language at that link, the packaging for the one I have only talks about toilets, so I am a bit reluctant to stick it into the pipe under my sink, which may be smaller.  I really don't want to get that thing stuck inside the pipe if it goes around a sharp turn.  Is this a rational thing to worry about??

Should I go ahead and stick my tool into this dark hole?  (sorry)

Or is there another course of action you recommend?  I would love to hear how a badass mustachian would tackle this issue.

sherr

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 07:53:25 AM »
Any snake (that one or another) should work fine in a sink drain just as well as a toilet. The only problem I can foresee is that if you have one of those sink drains with the drain stopper that pops up out of it the mechanism for that may get in the way, but you could simply start further down by taking out the p-trap and sticking it into the pipe that goes in the wall.

Before you go out and buy something else you may want to try simply plunging it a bit; worked like a charm on my (previously) chronically clogged shower drain.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 07:58:19 AM by sherr »

PloddingInsight

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 08:55:26 AM »
Hey that's a great idea.  I did not think of using the plunger.  I will do that first and then try the snake.

Greg

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 09:40:51 AM »
That tool is only 12" long, and will only reach into the drain from above that far.  Using a plunger will help with a p-trap clog, but it sounds like your problem is further down the pipe. 

A longer, crankable plumber's snake is your next thing to try.  You can rent them.  In your case, I would snake it from under the sink with the p-trap and lateral pipe removed from the pipe in the wall.  The only draw back is that you'll have a hard time determining if you've made progress until you put it back together and see how it drains.

Milspecstache

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 07:18:38 PM »
If you snake the drain go ahead and try to snake the vent as well.  I've had plumbers tell me before that sometimes the problem is a clog in the vent line.  To do this you would just feed the snake up vs down once you pass it into the pipe in the wall.

electriceagle

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 07:25:47 PM »
You should be able to get a long snake with a crankable handle from your local big-box hardware store for $20-25. No need to rent one; buy it and you've got it forever.

paddedhat

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2014, 02:33:07 PM »
Before you go any further, are you 100% sure that you do not have a hair clog ABOVE the P-trap? The most common place for a hair clog in a bath vanity is on the hardware of the pop-up stopper. This assembly creates restriction and all kinds of places for hair to hang up. I typical can clear these clogs by removing the trap, the lever on the back of the tailpiece that controls the stopper, and the stopper. On most sinks this can be done without tools , and talks less than a minute once you do it a few times. Then it's a matter of pushing a wad of paper towels or a small washcloth down the drain assembly and pushing a really nasty wad of hair into a bucket. It's a gross job, but it's also quick and easy. You may be chasing a clog in the venting system that does not exist, while missing the fact that the tailpiece is totally clogged. Hey, have fun....... I used to love showing this nasty shit to my kids, since it typically happened in their bathroom. It got my dear daughter to the edge of puking a few times. Ah. the joys of being "Handy". Don't forget what Red Green says, "If the ladies don't find you to be handsome, they better find you to be handy"

Nords

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2014, 11:21:02 PM »
Then it's a matter of pushing a wad of paper towels or a small washcloth down the drain assembly and pushing a really nasty wad of hair into a bucket. It's a gross job, but it's also quick and easy.
Or better yet, one of those 36" plastic bristle brushes that's used for cleaning refrigerator coils. 

You only have to take out the plunger and not the P-trap.  If you put the plunger lever back in (to seal up the drain pipe) then you can run hot water down the drain while repeatedly scrubbing the refrigerator brush up & down inside the drain piping.

Rube

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2014, 11:36:34 PM »
I second the above the trap possibility. A couple of weeks ago I stuck my finger in at the wall pulling crap out only to realize the main nastiness was in the drain. Pain in the ass to put the pull up bar back on but otherwise easy.

Leisured

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 01:23:49 AM »
Plungers usually work fine for me, and I do not have a pop up stopper. Assuming that the pop up stopper is clear, I suggest pouring say half a cup of baking soda in to the bottom of the basin, and add hot water. The frothing mixture flows down the drain, disturbing sediment on the way.

Moomoo

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2014, 11:17:11 AM »
I've been told that the following is risky, but it's always worked for me when other things did not.  Anyway, caveat emptor....


Get some wet rags and seal your garden hose (if it's long enough and you have a garden hose...) into the drain.  Turn the water on, hold the rags in place, wait 2-3 minutes.  The advantage to this is that you can get clogs that are too far or too difficult to get with a snake.

Good luck!

Nords

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 01:42:20 PM »
I've been told that the following is risky, but it's always worked for me when other things did not.  Anyway, caveat emptor....

Get some wet rags and seal your garden hose (if it's long enough and you have a garden hose...) into the drain.  Turn the water on, hold the rags in place, wait 2-3 minutes.  The advantage to this is that you can get clogs that are too far or too difficult to get with a snake.
Heh.  If that hose pressure shoves the clog past the P trap and into the drain piping, but doesn't break up the clog, then you can turn your roof vent into a water fountain jet...
http://the-military-guide.com/2013/01/17/save-money-by-fixing-your-own-plumbing/

PloddingInsight

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 06:26:31 AM »
Thanks everybody for the great comments.  Yes, I'm sure it is not above the P-trap.  When you remove the P-trap, the water flows through just fine.

I tried plunging the sink.  It turned up a lot of gross bits, but no improvement in draining.

I picked up a long snake on clearance for $18.  Only problem is it needs a drill to crank it, and I totally forgot that I left my drill at the office.  So today I will bring that home after work, and try out the snake.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2014, 06:10:50 AM »
Success!  Thanks everybody.

Oh man it was so nasty what that snake pulled out of my plumbing.

Greg

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Re: Plumbing question
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 09:19:54 AM »
Congratulations.

Yes, plumbing clogs are nasty.  The gross thing is most of the clog came from humans in the house.  Hair, body oil, etc.