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Keyo77 08-14-2007 07:01 AM

Slow drains, clogging toilets
We moved into a condo two years ago (Lifestyle Communities) and I noticed right away that the sinks fill up fast (un-stoppered) and drain slowly. The toilets clog frequently as well. This is a 3-level condo with 4 bathrooms and we have this problem in all the bathrooms. The two bathroom sinks used most frequently clog constantly. These are newer condos, only 3 years old when we moved in. Any ideas?

KUIPORNG 08-14-2007 10:31 AM

sounds like need to cleanup the main drain....need to call plumber... unless you want to do the snaking yourself... I tried snake many times... never succeed... may be need to use those professional snakes which is powerful and long... but then if you have the snake... you need to know where to do it.. which is again professional knowlege....if it is only one sink... I would suggest to DIY... but sounds like you are having issues everywhere... it is time to pay...

Mike Swearingen 08-14-2007 12:37 PM

You either have a partial clog in the main drain line or in the main vent stack on the roof.
If you want to DIY, you will first need to rent a long, heavy-duty plumber's snake. To clear a vent stack, go up on the roof with the snake and a water hose with sprayer to snake down the stack, and then flush it down with the hose sprayer.
The main line (which I think is your problem) should have a clean-out plug on it. Open it up, and snake from the clean-out to the sewer main line to clear it.
Another way to help sluggish sink and tub drains is to use a good enzyme-based drain cleaner like DrainCare (NOT a caustic drain cleaner like Drano). Do not use a drain cleaner in a may damage the wax ring seal.
An enzyme-based drain cleaner will cling to the clogging build-up of organic gunk (hair, grease, makeup, etc.) and eat it out overnight. You just run warm water in the drain, pour in a good slug of DrainCare, let it work overnight, and then flush it down with very hot water. I use a kettle of boiling water to first get it going, and then run the hot water full blast until it runs free well. You may have to do it more than once, if the build-up is really bad.
Try snaking the main line first.
Good Luck!

Keyo77 08-14-2007 05:24 PM

I had a feeling it was something in the main line or stack. It seemed too coincidental that all the drains are slow. The toilets are more of an annoyance since plunging does the trick but it happens on 3 toilets out of 4 at least every other day. I have tried several different drain cleaners on the sinks but they've all been draino-types. I'll try the enzyme one next. I'm not too concerned personally about the cost of a plumber since I'm a tenant but I'd like to save my landlady some money if possible. Thanks for all the suggestions!

Mike Swearingen 08-14-2007 06:25 PM

If you're renting, the sooner that your landlady has a plumber come out and clean out your main drain line the better.
Using caustic type cleaners might work O.K. on a total clog, but they generally will just flow past a partial clog and don't work well at all on the type of problem that you have.
I think that enzyme drain cleaners are the best. Any time that one of my drain gets a little sluggish, I hit it with DrainCare and that always corrects it.

Keyo77 08-14-2007 07:48 PM

Where do I buy DrainCare Mike?


Mike Swearingen 08-15-2007 04:31 AM

The big box stores usually carry it, and some local hardware stores. It comes in liquid and powdered form, but I use the liquid. DrainCare is just one of the brand names. You can use any enzyme-based drain cleaner. They aren't that hard to find, but not as easy to find as the caustic types, which I never use.

Keyo77 08-15-2007 07:37 AM

Thanks Mike, I'll get some today.


slakker 08-15-2007 02:53 PM

Just a followup question on the enzyme cleaners... they usually say to add 1/4 or 1 cup (small amount anyways) into the drain... but this usually only sits in the trap and not into the main lines...

Would it be recommended to pour a lot more in, just to ensure that the fluid gets past the trap and into the main lines? Just wondering if that'll damage the drains in anyway...

Mike Swearingen 08-15-2007 05:17 PM

That's another great advantage of enzyme vs. caustic drain cleaners. Enzyme cleaners will not harm your fixtures or lines, while caustic cleaners can.
A normal "slug" of DrainCare would be about 1/4-1/2 cup, which is good for a drain trap, which is where most build-up begins. You can pour as much as you like down the drain. It will coat and cling to the gunk and dissolve it away into a liquified gel that can be easily flushed down with hot water.
Works for me!

slakker 08-16-2007 11:07 AM

Cool... I'm going to buy a bucket!!! :thumbup:

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