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afelton89 08-15-2006 06:07 PM

Tub drain very, very slow. please help!
Our tub won't drain and we end up standing in a few inches of water every time we shower. At first Drano helped but it no longer works. We took out the drain stopper assembly but that has not improved things. We checked the vent on the roof. We have run a snake down the pipe but got nothing. We have used boiling water, baking soda and vineager. Nothing has worked and we are still standing in a couple of inches of water, even after a short shower. Any advice ??

redline 08-15-2006 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by afelton89
We checked the vent on the roof. We have run a snake down the pipe but got nothing.

How old is the plumbing in the house?
Did you run a snake down the tub drain pipe or the vent pipe?
Do you have access to the tub drain pipe from below?

afelton89 08-15-2006 08:59 PM

thank you so much for responding!!

The house was built in 1959 so I assume 47 years? We ran the snake down the tub drain and also through the overflow/tub stop pipe. We have an access panel giving us access behind the shower and we could get underneath the tub through some already messed up ceiling of a utility room.

Should we rebuild the drain?

Ron The Plumber 08-15-2006 10:11 PM

You might not have ran far enough into the drain, it could be plugged up down the line past the point you have already ran. Try running the entire line.

J187 08-16-2006 07:09 AM

Did you try plunging the drain? Covering up the overflow and plunging the train like a toilet? What are you using to snake the line? If you're going to clear a blockage that won't plunge out, it's likely you'll need an auger, you may have to rent one.

Mike Swearingen 08-16-2006 09:55 AM

First, try using a good non-caustic enzyme-based drain cleaner such as DrainCare. It clings to the scum (hair, soap, body oils, etc.) and eats it out, rather than flowing past it with little to no effect like a caustic drain cleaner.
Caustic drain cleaner usually works best only on a total clog in my experience.
CrainCare won't harm the tub finish or the pipes, but it will dissolve all organic crud and scum out.
Just run warm water down the drain, pour in DrainCare and let it eat overnight, and then flush it down with very hot water. I usually start with a kettle of boiling water followed by the hottest water from the faucet until it flows clear.
If the drain is badly clogged, you may need to do it more than once, but it has always worked for me without all of the snaking and plunging.
Good Luck!

Quarterinch 09-03-2006 07:48 PM

I'm a 4th-year plumber and we had the same problem when we bought our house last year. You said in your post that you removed the stopper assembly but did you remove the little chrome ring that the assembly screws into? Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, (or you can buy a tool specifically for removing it at the Home Depot, etc) you can spin it counter-clockwise, threading it out. When I removed ours, the problem was immediately evident as the p-trap was clogged with hair. You can then just pull all of the hair out.

I fixed a clogged sink drain the same way; just take apart the trap and pull out all the hair. For me, those Mr. Drano, liquid drain cleaners are a last resort.

Just a note: it's a good idea to silicon around the hole before you put the threaded piece back in the tub drain.

Krichton 09-08-2006 09:04 AM

I have the same problem right now with a clogged drain but it's for my sink. I still can't get it to unclog even though I replaced all the pipes including the really old p-trap and cleaned out the rusted wall pipe it was attached to. If Draincare will do the trick I'm heading to my local homedepot today. However I have used a product like liquid plumber already without too much luck.

Ron The Plumber 09-09-2006 08:39 AM

Hi Krichton

The line in clogged with greasy scum, it will take a long snake with cutter blades to clean this out, you can rent one or call a drain cleaning company. Rental yards have crappy cables, not fun to work with.

handypilot 09-10-2006 10:47 PM

If it's your tub, the odds are it's hair in combination with soap scum. I'm married, with three girls (Please pray for me!:wink: )...three of them have long hair, they share the same tub/shower, and the last piece of galvinized drain pipe in the whole house is off of this bathtub! I see this problem often! This is what I do:
  • I take my shop vac, stick the hose in the drain with a rag around it to seal, plug the overflow drain, and turn it on. If the hair clog doesn't come out right away, then I lift the hose out slightly and stick it back in , in rapid succession. This causes rapid changes in the suction airflow, and helps dislodge the clog.
  • If this doesn't work then I try the same shopvac technique, but with it blowing instead of sucking.
  • If that doesn't work, then I get out the snake, but on my particular drain it's impossible to get my snake past a certian point.
  • If all else fails, use chemicals! and if you use chemicals, go all the way! The best product I've ever used was Rooto, a sulfuric acid drain cleaner that sells for about $9 for a 32oz. bottle. It will disovle anything...from hair, to chicken bones, and rags. Though it will also disolve procelin and metal, so you need to get rid of any standing water and carefully poor it down the drain with a plastic funnel, and make sure the fluid doesn't back up out of the drain. If i've used the Shop Vac before this, then I make sure I've sucked out as much water out of the drain as possible to avoid diluting the acid. Follow the direction carefully on the bottle!!! This chemical is VERY STRONG and DANGEROUS!!!:thumbup:
  • If this drain cleaner doesn't work, you need to call a plumber to fix it!

Nayna 09-15-2006 10:41 AM

We had this in our house and since it's 5 girls sharing, it turned out to be a huge mass of hair - looked like a dead rat. We plunged and also put a plug unblocker foam down it - the most expensive, strong one we could find. Took a hell of a lot of plunge work, but we got there in the end. Maybe it's just something as simple as that?

dwhittington 05-21-2007 09:12 PM

Shop Vac
Wow! The sink in my master bath has been slow for years. My house is over 30 years old, so who knows how long this problem has been going on. I've lived here for almost 10 years, myself.

Anyways, I had never really bothered to do anything about it. This week, I decided I have had enough and was going to address the issue. Shortly before heading out to the local home improvement store, I googled the problem and found this thread. Less than 5 minutes later, my problem was resolved. I blew the drain line out with the Shop Vac and the drain runs just like new.

Thanks to all who have posted to this thread.


nmiller311 05-20-2012 06:19 PM

The shopvac technique was thr best ever. I have had a slow drain for a couple weeks and nothing was working. Snakes, plunger, chemicals, nothing. Five minutes of setup and ten seconds of shopvac and the clog was sucked up to where I could see it and snag it with a snake. I will definitely be using that method in the future if it slows down again.

Blondesense 05-21-2012 01:36 AM

I know this is an old thread, but for anyone with a similar problem I would recommend a Zip-it.
It is a fast, easy, economical, and ecological way to clean out your bathroom p-traps. No chemicals.

And for the mods: No, I don't have any financial interest in the company, just a satisfied customer.

oh'mike 05-21-2012 03:22 AM

Those Zip strips do work well---dandy invention---

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