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babyfishmouth 07-31-2011 12:03 AM

Basic Question on plumbing (planning to unclog bathroom sink drain)
I am planning to try to unclog a bathroom sink drain. The last time we had a slow drain (about 9 months maybe?) we used Drano. I wanted to try something a little different this time. This is my first ever attempt at anything like this, so I am learning the vocabulary as I go. Under the sink I see where pipes are attached some sort of adhesive material (not tape)--this is used only at one attachment. There are two other attachments that I can see, and if there is any sealant used there I cannot see them. I've already started to try to uncouple the connections down there, and the adhesive I mentioned is starting to flake off. Since I don't know what that is, I stopped and decided to re-tighten everything and do a little more research. Now, when I turn on the water, I can see that the connection with that adhesive (gummy, gunky) sealant is leaking; I apparently broke that seal while I was messing around earlier. The other two connections don't appear to be leaking. The one that is leaking is the highest one, probably just a couple of inches below where the sink drain hole is. Anyway, I believe I can still do this job, but I know now that I will need some kind of sealant, at at least one connection, and I'm tying to figure out if I should use tape or dope. The various connections and piping are metal. The reason I wanted to do this myself is because it seems like something that we will be dealing with again at some point in the future, and frankly, my ego--I figured it couldn't be that difficult. I really didn't want to have to bother my super about it on a weekend either, b/c again, it seems like a routine thing. Anyway, my question, I think, is pretty basic, tape or dope, and then, any recommendations for either solution are also welcome. Thanks very very much in advance!

p.s. I'm sure this has been covered elsewhere, so I apologize--I just can't seem to find the answer.

DannyT 07-31-2011 12:14 AM

most traps under the sink do not rely on dope or tape to seal. the nut and washer makes the seal. i used to put a little dope on the mating surfaces of the traps since they weren't always perfectly smooth. putting anything on the threads that the slip nuts will screw onto will not stop leaks as they do not seal on the threads. over the years the slipnut washer can get compressed and the rubber ones will dry out and harden. i would replace the washers with new ones before you put the trap back on after unclogging the drain.

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