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Old 12-03-2009, 10:49 AM   #1
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Hi, I ran a search first and found a few good replies but want to see if someone can help me with a theory I had about my house (built in '97).

I have a two-story house and the shower/bathtub is on the 2nd floor, master bathroom.

If that bathtub drain is the only slow/clogging drain in the entire bathroom, does that mean the source of my "clog" is probably isolated to the bathtub drain?

The dual sinks drain fine - I understand that the shower bathtub drain is trying to drain more water (higher flow rate) than the two sinks combined, etc.

So, would using a snake/auger on the bathtub drain probably clear the debris out and "restore" the drain rate for the tub?

I've used a few of the available liquid drain cleaners and it helps for awhile and then the drain slowly becomes "slow" to drain again after another few weeks. I want to fix the slow drain for good.

I'm guessing it's getting clogged with hair/soap (previous home owner was a lady and two kids, both girls - hmmm, long hair? LOL ).


Thanks.

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Old 12-03-2009, 12:33 PM   #2
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Well, here's my progress so far:

Removed the bathtub drain screen (one screw) and found minimal hair in there. Then removed the stopper lever cap (two screws) - is that the correct name for this piece?

I lifted up the plunger device that was rigged with the long "set screw" (to set the stopper level depth I assume?).

Then I tried using a hand held auger/snake by feeding it into where the stopper plate attaches to the tub, but found that it would only travel down approximately two feet before hitting an obstruction.

I did not attempt to force it down lower than that, out of fear for damaging the pipe - so at that 24" depth, I began to crank the handle and found that it did absolutely nothing. LOL

Where do I go from here? Is the culprit of my "slow drain" located further down below in the pipe/drain? Do I work my way up top from the basement or call a local plumber?

Pics: (drain, stopper access, parts)


Last edited by COBRA90GT; 11-27-2010 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:30 PM   #3
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Try snaking through the over flow. Thats the `drain`part that usually below the spout of the bath. You may also need a more industrial snale, one that connects to a drill, so that when it seems it can go further, you `drill` which spins the snake and it will get through. It usually gets stuck at an elbow.
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Quote:
Originally Posted by sbmfj View Post
...Try snaking through the over flow. Thats the `drain`part that usually below the spout of the bath...

Ok, yep - that is where I tried snaking it at, no luck there. A friend told me about a product called the "Clog Buster." Looks like it shoots a jet of compressed water/air down the drain...might have to go out to the hardware store and give that a try.

Here's a link to one on Ace Hardware:
http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...ductId=3294218

Are these things pretty good or a waste of cash?


Any other advice? Thx
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


I have used those hose end clog removers,,,depends on the clog,,if its tree root based not so much good,if it is clogged paper in plastic pipe you can blow it thru,,,great.

It wont work so good for this as there is 2 places for pressure to go till you get down past the trap 't'.

I have had MUCH better luck on tub or shower drains with a simple wire coat hanger in a close bend hook on the end. Then insert as far as you think hair is and wind it around and around to trap hair then pull out gently. Usually you have a pile of hair you have trouble believing was all in that drain,,,it will be alot when you get the main clog out.

If you have access to the trap shaped pipe,,you can take that off first and go at it from both ends. IF you dont have access,,,no time like the present to make one. You can get real fancy disguising it!!
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:10 PM   #6
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Quote:
Originally Posted by 4just1don
...I have used those hose end clog removers,,,depends on the clog,,if its tree root based not so much...

...there is 2 places for pressure to go till you get down past the trap 't'...

Now that I think about it, you're right - there would be another path for the water pressure to escape from (at the overflow) if I tried using the "clog buster" device.

I think my hand held auger/snake was probably getting caught on an elbow or something and wasn't able to reach down "far enough" to get to the actual clog...




Quote:
...I have had MUCH better luck on tub or shower drains with a simple wire coat hanger...

I like the coat hanger idea. I saw something like a flexible coat hanger - the "Zip It," featured on a few hardware store websites. Looks like it pulls up hair from a clog pretty easily with the small little claws on it.



Quote:
...If you have access to the trap shaped pipe...

Access to the trap? Not very accessible in my case. LOL It would require removing drywall directly above my kitchen...not an ideal scenario.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:54 PM   #7
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


access to traps is always good. I would cut a hole in kitchen ceiling drywall and install a cold air register over it and no one would know why. 2 screws and your at the elbow. Face the open fins away from site lines
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:41 AM   #8
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


FWIW, I have a 'Zip It' and it works wonderfully on a slow drain (pulls ALL the hair out). I've used it a couple times in the tub drain and a couple times in the bathroom sink. It even pulled a couple Q-tips out of the bathroom drain once.

For $2 and some change, it's worth having around.

I'm not saying it will or won't fix your particular problem. But good luck with it.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:32 PM   #9
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Well figured I'd post an update - think I have it resolved, for now. With the overflow access/cap (and stopper linkage) removed, running the water brings about regular drainage/flow. HOWEVER, once I reinstalled the overflow cap and stopper device, I noticed a SEVERE flow restriction.

It was as if the stopper (even in the "off" position) was causing reduced flow in the drainage.

I removed the overflow cap (and stopper) and ran the water again - no flow problems!

Upon closer examination of the stopper linkage, there are two 3/8th nuts holding the stopper on a long screw (with a hook). The two 3/8th nuts can be adjusted up or down (think vertically) on the screw to adjust for the "plunging depth" of the stopper in the drainage. Soooo, after tinkering around with installing/removing the stopper and trying several different height settings, I found one that allows for proper flow with the stopper in the "off" position.


BTW - I did some poking around and found out I actually do have an access panel for the tub trap as well ! I moved some crap out of the way in the closet (in the next room) and there was a little access panel staring right back at me. Soooo, if I DID have to remove the trap, I guess life would have been a little easier...hah


Now that I have everything working again, I'm debating on replacing the stopper linkage/overflow cap with a new one (so I can set the "depth" of the stopper a little easier). I think the spring in the old linkage might be a little weak because I noticed a little "play" with it after flicking it to to "up" and "down" positions. Perhaps the "sagging" of the stopper linkage was caused by this weak spring pressure on the back of the overflow plate?
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:25 AM   #10
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Slow and clogged shower drain help


Just posting an update - shower still drains fine. Pretty sure the stopper was set "too low" in the drain path and impeding the flow of water through the drain...

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