Bathtub Clog of the Year

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by MikeyB, Dec 28, 2008.

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  1. Dec 28, 2008 #1

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Greetings:

    In my rented home, I am experiencing a bathtub clog like no other. If the tub is 1/2 filled, it should drain in about 5 hours. I've researched other websites, articles, tips as well as some of the other postings here on the "House Repair" site which met with no success.

    Below is a list of items utilized at different times:

    1) Vinegar & Baking Soda
    2) Drano
    3) Liquid Plumber
    4) Boiled Water
    5) Two Plungers - One to seal the overflow & one for plunging the drain.
    6) A straightened metal hangar to push any clog through - which by the
    way, went into the drain and/or overflow for about 1 foot & no further.
    7) A drain auger cable - again stopped at about 1 ft. upon insertion.

    The tub drain does not have a strainer or pop-up stopper and the
    overflow plate is just a cover with 2 vents. There appears to be no
    trip lever installed.

    Of course, the next step is "Joe the Plumber"...... :)

    ANY help is greatly appreciated & thanks in advance,

    Mike
     
  2. Dec 28, 2008 #2

    Daryl in Nanoose

    Daryl in Nanoose

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    sounds to me like something was droped in the drain thats why you can not desolve it out. Is there no access to the drain at all.
     
  3. Dec 28, 2008 #3

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Nice job Daryl. I think it may be time for the roooter man.
    Call a plumber.
     
  4. Dec 28, 2008 #4

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Mr. Daryl:

    Thank you for the prompt response. What I did was actually remove the drain strainer so that I may access the piping in the hopes of dislodging whatever is down there. Since I had the strainer originally there, I have to rule out that something big accidentally slipped down the pipe.

    Regards,

    Mike
     
  5. Dec 29, 2008 #5

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

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    Hello Mike:
    Hang on! Don't call the Plumber yet, there is still hope.
    First of all, it sounds like you put the wire and snake into the tub drain. That part is called the 'tub shoe' (somebody got the idea you could put a small foot in the drain hole and down into the pipe) which is attached in a straight tee with another drain pipe. That straight tee stops everything mechanical you can put in there.
    Take the overflow cover off and thread the snake through that hole. It goes straight past the 'shoe' and down into the trap; that's where the troble is. Ninety nine percent of the time the blockage is hair and it sounds like you may have a lot of it. You will notice right away the snake goes much further into the drain and you may even feel the hair ball when you hit it. Just keep cranking the thing and pulling out a handfull of hair once in a while. The snake will go through the trap easily as it gets unblocked and will go until it hits the main drain (branch). It should go 2 1/2 to 3 feet before it hits another tee and feels blocked.
    Don't use any more chemicals in the drain until you complete the snaking operation; you don't want to put your hands into the chemical. As a Plumber, I don't recommend chemicals because I get into them when you call me. However, when you are satisfied the auger has pulled all the hair it can get you may want to pour in a cup of liquid plumber to clean up any detergent residue and start with a sparkling clean trap.
    Then, pat your wallet and say 'I just saved you $75' and take the wife out to dinner.
    Glenn
     
  6. Dec 29, 2008 #6

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Mr. Glenn:

    Thank you for the information! I had thought (scary as it is) ... that when I ran the snake into the Tub Shoe and was hitting blockage, it was the main problem itself & NOT the vertical piping (aka: Tub Drain & Waste Overflow Tube).

    Later on this afternoon, I will run the snake into the overflow tube again and
    crank away to see what I catch.

    I'll post another reply as well.

    Regards,

    Mike
     
  7. Dec 30, 2008 #7

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Mr. Glenn:

    Well......I gave it a good shot! I ran the snake to about 3 feet, but very
    little debris came out Now, it DID look like the "oil well a bubblin'" on the
    Beverly Hillbillies, but that was it! Nothing else

    The drain is still stopped up. I'm gonna have to tell the wife that were
    having "ramen noodles" for dinner so I can call "Joe the Plumber".

    Regards,

    Mike

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  8. Dec 30, 2008 #8

    triple D

    triple D

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    If we found out what year the house was built, would that change any responses? Maybe there is an old lead trap on tub drain a few feet down. Has anyone ever heard of one of those causing this magnitude of clog?
     
  9. Dec 30, 2008 #9

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    The lead traps I have always seen are big and sweep pretty good but not usually an issue. The pipe I would be worried about would be galvanized. It closes down and you are not getting it apart in the line.
    I would give it another shot with the snake. 3 feet is not far enough in my opinion to give it the cleaning out it may need. The pipe could be clogged right at a T or Y which goes into the main line for the bath which may be up to 8 feet away. Run that thing as far as it will go.
    Good luck.:)
     
  10. Dec 30, 2008 #10

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Triple D:

    According to the records, this house was built between 1960 & 1963.
    Would that help to determine the type of piping & design utilized?

    Regards,

    Mike

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  11. Dec 30, 2008 #11

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    InspectorD:

    Later today, I'll crank the snake again. I was happy I made it 3 feet
    thinking that I had it cleared out, but this one is a tough nut to crack.

    I'll post updates as I go.

    Regards,

    Mike
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  12. Dec 31, 2008 #12

    triple D

    triple D

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    In that year I dont believe it would have lead traps. I myself cant get a snake through a lead trap, because the entrance and exit points do not line up. So in your situation it doesnt help. Go with the insp. and keep sending her in, and make sure your doing this when tub is full. Good luck again....
     
  13. Dec 31, 2008 #13

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Triple D:

    Tnx for the input; I have a friend of a friend that has the "Cadillac" of
    plumbing snakes to do the job. I've been cranking away on it with my
    tools, but I'm getting nothing but blisters & cuss words! I'll post back
    when the job is complete.

    Regards,

    Mike

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  14. Dec 31, 2008 #14

    kok328

    kok328

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    I've never seen a clog that could stand up to concentrated phosphuric acid or concentrated sulfuric acid. Just don't breath the fumes and/or leave in the p-trap too long or it will burn a hole right through the pipes.
     
  15. Jan 2, 2009 #15

    MikeyB

    MikeyB

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    Well alrighty then, the job is complete! I had a friend w/ a snake attached
    to a power drill that fixed the problem. This was the only way to resolve it
    I guess; Of course, I don't know much in regards to concentrated phosphoric acid or concentrated sulfuric acid but I will definitely keep this suggestion handy!

    When the snake was put through, it met some resistance at about 3-4 feet
    and was due to small flakes of tub coating. When the tub was refinished, whoever did it failed to do it properly thus causing it to peel in minute pieces.

    Thank you for all of your assistance & know that this posting will hopefully
    assist someone in the future.
     
  16. Jan 2, 2009 #16

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

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    Glad we could help, and that you shared your results. More power always works.
    We''ll be around.:)
     
  17. Feb 1, 2009 #17

    MoreTime

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    there are what we call drum traps and are not legal anymore but i would try some Liquud fire (sufuric acid) (Beware of burns) this will open a drain in a heart beat if its hair or soap. but i say again be careful the tub needs to be drained of all the water. good luck
     

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