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FearfulOfAsbestos 03-07-2008 11:21 AM

Tub drains slowly. Toilet water into tub?
Hello. I have a question.

Our tub drains slowly. Not ridiculously slow, but enough to where the water is about ankle deep by the time I am done showering. I dont see anything nasty floating in the water or anything.

I rarely smell anything bad in the water either. However, today, I noticed a slight hint of sewage smell at the end of my shower as the water was draining. It wasnt strong. Just a slight hint of it. Infact i leaned over near the drain to be sure I was smelling it.

Anyway, this water thats backing up. Would that most likely be just from a simple tub drain backup? Or could it also be tied it with the toilet line?
My main thing is, is it possible I am standing in toilet waste water? Or just my own dirty shower water?

Also, I live in a duplex. Could the tenant upstairs toilet water pass through the same lines, to where i could be standing in his waste water? Hes a bit dirty, and i would be scared of possible hepatitis.

Like I said, it normally just looks like soapy water. I dont ever really notice anything nasty that would seem like toilet waste.

It almost never smells. I just noticed a slight smell today, and thats been in.

And I have never seen anything back up into the tub when flushing.

Please let me know if this sounds like a simple tub drain problem. Or if this is a real health issue with possibly standing in toilet waste water.
Thank you!

glennjanie 03-07-2008 02:43 PM

Hello Tom:
The typical problem with a tub drain is hair caught in it.
If you take the overflow out (2 screws) and pull the pop-up out with it. You will probably find some hair on the pop-up stopper. Cover the overflow hole with a wet hand towel and use a plunger on the drain. Be very forceful, but if that doesn't work, its time for a small drain snake. Just insert it in the overflow hole and work it down into the trap, then start turning it colckwise to pick up the hair. I am very cautious about using chemicals in a drain because there is a 75% chance you will have to work in it mechanically anyway and there is a chance of chemical burns.
Yes, the upstairs drain could be in with yours but would not back up on you unless the main sewer is blocked. If you don't get any gurgling sound in any toilets or sinks you can assume the main is open.

FearfulOfAsbestos 03-07-2008 04:21 PM

Thanks for the reply!

The only gurgling I notice is from the tub itself as it slowly empties. But that just sounds like the water is slowly passing through whatever slows it down.
I havent noticed any gurgling in the sink or toilet.

I also tried flushing the toilet as the tub was draining to see if anything weird happened. And it didnt appear it affected the tub or toilet.

So should it be safe to say I am not standing in any toilet waste?

I would assume there would often be bad odors from the tub if this were the case?


FearfulOfAsbestos 03-07-2008 04:46 PM

Correction on the no gurgling sound in any sink.

Only in the kitchen is there a gurgling sound when the clothes washer downstairs, and when the dishwasher empty. But it seems like it passes ok. The bathroom has no real gurgling sounds. Other than that sound I mentioned that comes from the tub as it empties.

triple D 03-07-2008 08:33 PM

No kidding! We use tweezers on the hair clogs. Just remove the drain pop up as Glenn says (hi Glenn) and start picking out hair, you should pull up a doozy:eek: . Good luck........

Joe_T 03-08-2008 06:39 PM

Look for a Zip It
I highly recommend a product called Zip It which can be picked up at home centers. It is a flat strip of plastic about 20 inches long with barbs on both edges. Cost about $2.00 and does a great job pulling out clogs of hair.

As for chemicals, a quick horror story. My house was built in 1967 and has copper drains. When we bought it we found the pipe from one of our toilets was literally melted away chemically immediately below the toilet. Not sure what they dumped in the bowl but it must have been nasty and a plumber had to replace about 5 foot of the drain that had been dissolved or had holes eaten in it.

davefoc 06-04-2008 12:45 AM


Originally Posted by Joe_T (Post 16757)
I highly recommend a product called Zip It which can be picked up at home centers. It is a flat strip of plastic about 20 inches long with barbs on both edges. Cost about $2.00 and does a great job pulling out clogs of hair.

Interesting. I bought that thing and thought it was useless. I couldn't force it into the drain before it just bent up and wouldn't go down. I wonder now if I was doing something wrong. I have a power snake but I'd rather not use it if something like the zip could retrieve hair balls because the snake wears out traps in the old building that I maintain if it's used too much.

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