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Old 03-10-2009, 10:13 AM  
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Default Kitchen drain clogged under slab

We bought a 40 year old house in Houston last year. It is a retangular house, with a kitchen at the middle of the west side, a washer drain on the northwest corner, two bathroom on southeast side of the house. The city sewer line is north of the house, 50 feet away. One two inch cleanout is on the wall outside the kitchen. No main cleanout can be found.

Last week the kitchen was running slow, and finally the kitchen waste water is coming out from the 2" cleanout (cap damaged). I tried with a hand snake from HomeDepot, but I was not able to get too far. It seems that I cannot pass a sharp turn after two feet. the snake is pretty small with 1/4 inch in diameter.

Do you think I should rent a power auger. Will the power auger damage the small pipe under the kitchen cleanout? How long of a snake do I need to rent, 50 or 75 feet?

I do not have any idea how drain pipes run under the slab (we have slab on grade). I hope the kitchen drain goes north, joins the washer drain, then goes east somewhere to get connected to the main drain. Since the washer drain is still running well, the stoppage could be between kitchen and washing room, which is only 15 feet apart. Are there any plumbing codes dictate how the drainage pipes should be run underneath the slab?

Thank for you help!

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:35 PM  
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Welcome Dave Smith:
Yes, there are codes regulating how drains can be run. One of those codes requires Wyes if they are laying on their side; Sanitary Tees if they are laying on their back or up to 45* from vertical (branch).
With a 2" clean-out on the outside you could rent an electric snake with a 3/8" cable, such as the Ridgid K-400. It will work on drains from 1 1/2" up to 4" which means you could also take the trap off under the sink and run that cable into the sink drain. Bends and traps will give some resistance but, stay after it and the cable will make the bend.
Mechanical drain cleaning is my favorite approach because chemicals damage almost any kind of pipe and certainly cause damage to the Plumber who finally gets called in to finish the job.
If I had your floor plan (sketch) I may be able to show you the plumbing layout with about 80% accuracy. Plumbers have different ideas but certain things remain the same.
The Home Depot may have a K-400 for rent.
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