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Old 03-07-2012, 08:06 AM   #1
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Hello,

I'm hoping to get some advice on freeing a clogged upstairs bathroom sink drain. This drain has been draining slowly for a number of years. I have been able to improve the situation by plunging it. Lately, plunging has not helped matters. Right now, the drain is clogged completely. It appears to me that, to dismantle the trap requires that the plastic pipe be cut as there is not much room to work.

I removed the stopper mechanism and tried to free the stoppage with a non-motorized plumber's snake. After much effort, I was able to get the snake through the trap. The trap appears to be clear. Shortly after the trap, I was stopped cold. Try as I might, I was unable to go any further. I assume that, as the 1 1/2" copper pipe enters the wall, it takes a 90 degree bend towards the cellar. I'm thinking that the clog is further down, perhaps where the copper pipe meets the soil pipe.

I have several questions:

What is commonly found as far as plumbing is concerned behind the wall? I'm wondering why I can't push the snake any further. The house was built in 1965 and the plumbing looks to be up well installed. What could be stopping the snake? Shouldn't the pipe make the downward bend and go straight down towards the celler?

I'm using a manual snake that allows very little circular movement. Would a motorized device, such as would be found at Lowe's, work better (clear corners, etc.).

Thanks for your help.

DJ

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Old 03-07-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


This works for me:
remove the stopper and the aerator
buy an adaptor that mates garden hose threading to adaptor threading
put a garden hose between the faucet and the drain and pack the drain with rags to make a gasket
put on the hot water slowly at first and then run it full until it runs cold
repeat every few years as necessary

However, one time for a clogged kitchen drain I had water/vegetable bits/whatnot coming out of the vent pipe on the roof so I clogged the vent pipe with one of these inflatable drain plugs that they sell to check for leaks in shower pans.

Few of these clogs can resist 50 PSI.


Last edited by Yoyizit; 03-07-2012 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:05 AM   #3
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


How about a picture of the under sink area. I've never seen a trap that was as hard to remove as you say it is.
Once the traps off the snake can be fed right into the nipple sticking out of the wall and fed into the elbow right behind the wall.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:29 AM   #4
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


I've been doing some research. The toilet in the bathroom is directly to the left of the sink. Do I understand correctly that the elbow behind the wall will go towards the toilet and connect to the soil pipe that goes from the toilet to the cellar? Since the toilet works fine, it makes sense that the stoppage is in that short, nearly horizontal connecting piece? Of course, I can't see the connecting piece, but it has to be as I described. That only makes sense. Am I correct?

Thanks
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


I agree with previous posters, I have never seen a trap that could not be removed relatively easily. You must have a very unusual arrangement, and a picture would be great.

That said, I have used the following technique several times on my bathroom sink. Plug the holes in the sink as previously described. Boil about 1 gallon of water. Add baking soda to boiling water, and use that to plunge through the drain. The boiling water is pretty good at removing soap clogs. Caution is if your pipes are really old and brittle, the boiling water may damage them. This has never happened to me, but something to consider.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:48 AM   #6
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Ok, I'll see if I can post a picture, but am I right that the copper piece coming out of the wall jogs to the left and toward the toilet soil pipe? That would put the clog between the sink drain and the toilet? That would be the distance of only a few feet.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dwlodyka View Post
Ok, I'll see if I can post a picture, but am I right that the copper piece coming out of the wall jogs to the left and toward the toilet soil pipe? That would put the clog between the sink drain and the toilet? That would be the distance of only a few feet.
It's possible? Is this a 2 piece bathroom?
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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What is a two-piece bathroom? I have a toilet. a sink and a shower in the bathroom. It's second floor; the only bathroom on the second floor. Does that help?
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:52 AM   #9
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Quote:
Originally Posted by dwlodyka View Post
Ok, I'll see if I can post a picture, but am I right that the copper piece coming out of the wall jogs to the left and toward the toilet soil pipe? That would put the clog between the sink drain and the toilet? That would be the distance of only a few feet.
2 common ways to plumb a sink are down or sideways as you describe. Chances are good that yours goes sideways to the toilet stack.
You really need to remove the trap to access the 90 or tee thats keeping your cable from turning the corner. Use a drop head on the cable end or a slight bend at the end of the cable works too- align the bend to the fitting's turn and apply pressure. It should move around the corner. I'd use a power machine, not a hand spinner.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:43 AM   #10
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Posting this again as I don't think that it registered the first time.

I was able to manuever a hand-operated snake into the sink through the stopper hole. I got approximately six-feet into the drain before I met wwith an obstruction. When I brought it up, it came up with the tip of the snake covered with a foul smelling substance that was hard to remove. It seemed to be hair and I don't know what. The drain is still clogged. I would have thought that I'd have hit the toilet stack by now. Apparently the sink drain meets the stack further down into the wall?

Am I on the right track here?

Thanks
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:52 AM   #11
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Quote:
Originally Posted by dwlodyka View Post
Posting this again as I don't think that it registered the first time.

I was able to manuever a hand-operated snake into the sink through the stopper hole. I got approximately six-feet into the drain before I met wwith an obstruction. When I brought it up, it came up with the tip of the snake covered with a foul smelling substance that was hard to remove. It seemed to be hair and I don't know what. The drain is still clogged. I would have thought that I'd have hit the toilet stack by now. Apparently the sink drain meets the stack further down into the wall?

Am I on the right track here?

Thanks
Hard to say without looking at it. Sounds like your hitting a tee where the trap arm ties into the vertical pipe and your line is full of sludge. The spinner is probably just poking a hole through it. A pro would pull the trap and use a power snake- they're more aggressive.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:41 AM   #12
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Still don't get why you are snaking through the sink instead of after the trap; it will make life much simpler to go after the trap IMO.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:49 AM   #13
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


Bob,

I took pictures of the trap, but do not have a cable at the office to doownload it. Bear with me on this. I'll see what I can do when Iget home. I know that it's better to eliminate the trap when snaking. But what a mess came up with that snake. I can still smell the stuff...
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:54 AM   #14
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


I've been there. If you take the trap off you'll be able to get more gunk out it as well as make it easier to snake. It is amazing how much that stuff can smell.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:44 AM   #15
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Seeking help with clogged bathroom sink drain


I hope that the picture comes through, I had to reduce the size.

As you can see, the pvc upright is too tall to allow it to swing around. To remove the trap, I will have to cut the upright pvc to allow clearance to unscrew the pvc from the copper fitting coming through the back of the cabinet. Can you see another way to remove the trap?

The trap will have to be removed, as all of the twists and turns greatly reduce the amount of force that I can apply to the blockage.

Bob, does the picture help?
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Trap view.pdf (85.7 KB, 111 views)

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