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Old 12-03-2012, 12:39 PM   #1
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slow draining bathroom sink


i just had my bathroom remodeled:tub, sink, toilet, etc. Work completed around mid-october. Almost from day one, I've had a problem with sink drainage. It backs up after running the water for only about 8-10 seconds and takes several hours to drain. I've removed the p-trap (it was clean), inspected the discharge pipe below the sink, and snaked the outlet pipe (got the snake through for about 30 inches. It still backs up. The toilet flushes and the tub drains normally. It's just the sink.
I find it hard to believe there is a clog anywhere in the sink pipes. Are there reasons other than clogs that would cause this to occur?
Appreciate any responses.
John

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:31 PM   #2
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Did you pull the drain plug out of the sink and make sure it's not all gummed-up with dried caulking, paint, mortar/thinset/grout etc.? People sometimes have a habit of cleaning tools in the sink at the end of the day.

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:41 PM   #3
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Hello,
All pipes on the bathroom side of the wall are clear. I also snaked the pipe behind the bathroom wall. There were no obstructions. There is currently about 3 inches of water in the sink (since 2:20 PM).
Could some kind of air pocket be preventing drainage? (I'm not a plumber so I'm not familiar with a lot of terms, but it seems like enough air pressure in the pipe behind the wall would cause the sink to back up.)
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:01 PM   #4
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Where's the guy who did the work?
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:04 PM   #5
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I guess it's possible, but not probable. I actually had to replace a tub trap once because the tile guy washed all his leftover grout down the drain and it solidified in there. Another possibility is that when the pipes were open (no traps during the renovation) someone may have stuffed something in the open pipe because of sewer gas/smell. I'm wondering if that "something" (like a rag, fiberglass insulation etc) may still be in there - just further down the line now.

Any problems in any of the other fixtures in that bathroom? Are the drainage pipes accessible or visible from below?
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:39 PM   #6
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I did have a problem with the tub and toilet drainage. That was due to a clog in the sewer line which I unclogged by running an old garden hose down the vent stack from my roof. It took about 20 minutes of snaking the pipe but eventually I heard the telltale whoosh of water draining into the sewer line. When I checked my tub, it had drained properly. The toilet also flushed properly and I haven't had a problem since. I thought that would have taken care of the sink as well.

There was a rag in the discharge pipe during renovation but, I assume, it was sufficiently fit tightly enough that it would not have slipped into the pipe behind the wall. The contractor (BTW, he is a general contractor, not a plumber) is pretty meticulous about his work. I doubt he would have done anything to cause an obstruction.

I can access the pipes below the floor. My basement has a drop ceiling. The pipe behind the wall in the bathroom connects to a larger pipe just below floor level. I'm not sure I want to disassemble that pipe though. It's about twice the diameter of the bathroom pipes. May I ask why you inquired about it?
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbkenn331 View Post
I did have a problem with the tub and toilet drainage. That was due to a clog in the sewer line which I unclogged by running an old garden hose down the vent stack from my roof. It took about 20 minutes of snaking the pipe but eventually I heard the telltale whoosh of water draining into the sewer line. When I checked my tub, it had drained properly. The toilet also flushed properly and I haven't had a problem since. I thought that would have taken care of the sink as well.

There was a rag in the discharge pipe during renovation but, I assume, it was sufficiently fit tightly enough that it would not have slipped into the pipe behind the wall. The contractor (BTW, he is a general contractor, not a plumber) is pretty meticulous about his work. I doubt he would have done anything to cause an obstruction.

I can access the pipes below the floor. My basement has a drop ceiling. The pipe behind the wall in the bathroom connects to a larger pipe just below floor level. I'm not sure I want to disassemble that pipe though. It's about twice the diameter of the bathroom pipes. May I ask why you inquired about it?
If the pipe is accessible, it may have a cleanout plug on it that will allow you to get in and auger it out from there.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:26 PM   #8
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Thanks. I'll check that out.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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Is it possible that the pipes were pitched incorrectly?--
Still ==much of the water would drain----

I ran into an odd one once---the P-trap--trap arm was to long and was hitting the back of the T---I found that when I removed the trap to rod the line inside the wall-----

When the wall was open during construction--did you take a picture of the rough plumbing?
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:11 PM   #10
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Oh Mike,
I suppose the pitch could be off. What were you going to say about what you found when you removed the trap to rod ("snake???") the line inside the wall?

No, I don't have any pictures of the rough plumbing.

I'm going to try an experiment to see how much water the line holds before it backs up. I know that the lines under the sink are clear. I'll drain the water from the trap so there is no water in the line and measure the length of line from the base of the sink to the wall. Assuming the line is 1-1/2 inch pipe and is roughly 24 inches long, the volume inside the line is about 42 cubic inches which should hold roughly 24 ounces of water. If the water starts to back up short of 24 ounces, then it's not getting past the trap at all.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:18 PM   #11
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I'm thinking you still have a blockage that your cable missed- sink line
Or, as Mike mentioned, the trap outlet is hitting the back of the tee- where it drops vertical
Third possibility is the builder removed/capped the vent in the wall so now the trap is unvented and air locks.
Is this a vessel sink by any chance? Lot of bad drainage stories with them
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I removed the trap (again) and snaked the line again. It took about 5 minutes to move the snake more than 15 inches. I thought I was having trouble making that 90 degree turn through the pipe as it turns from horizontal to vertical. Or maybe it was an obstruction that I didn't fully clear the first time through. I was able to advance the snake about 48 inches (last week it was about 40 inches). This time appeared to do the trick. Water is draining properly.
Thanks again.

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