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Old 02-20-2015, 02:12 PM   #1
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Best way to clean out shower drain?


House built in 1965. I live in southern calif. When I shower with water pressure on full blast I notice water starts pooling around drain but if I back it off to 3/4 pressure the water drains fine so I think the pipe is narrowing on the inside with a combination of soap and body hair.
If I use to much toilet paper after a BM the toilet will not flush properly and backs up requiring a plunger or just wait it out and eventually the water drains slowly out but the contents remains requiring a 2nd flush which sometimes empties everything or fills up the whole bowl again. Sometimes the static head pressure of the water will give it enough pressure to empty it. If I dont use too much toilet paper each flush it empties fine.
This morning I went "under" the house and took the cleanout plug out and about a foot in I can see the see the piping connected to the soil line from the cleanout plug that is "outside" the house. About two feet in I can see the piping for my shower drain/toilet.
I had my daughter run the shower and I could see water draining but it was coming out more like in separate streams versus a big gush so I am guessing there is maybe a build up of soap and body hair. I tried in the past to put a pressure nozzle in the shower drain and get it to move the buildup but I am thinking once it solidifies it needs to be cleaned out with something that will cut and clean the inside of the pipe. I am just not to comfortable messing with pipes this old. Plus the whole house drains fine. I use this shower everyday so I feel if I get something inside the drain pipe that will pass through the trap and from there its only another 18" of horizontal pipe before it dumps into the short vertical drain for the toilet bowel sitting right next to the shower.
I also had my daughter flush the toilet bowl and obviously there is more water coming out all at once but it came gushing out with no problem.So I am wondering if that buildup either in the shower drain trap or horizontal drain pipe or both is extending into the vertical drain pipe for the toilet and making it difficult for everything to pass through after a bowel movement.
What tool can a homeowner use to clear out trap and horizontal drain pipe?
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:22 PM   #2
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I agree with you, sounds like a partial clogg somewhere. Is the trap acessible and removable or all glued.

You could snake through or remove the toilet.

Please wait for the plumbers to respond they see this all the time and will know the best course of action. Thanks.

Last edited by jmon; 02-20-2015 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:30 PM   #3
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Original trap from 1965 which is cast iron. I tried to run a small hand turning snake through the shower drain but it only goes so far and wont go any farther. It doesnt feel like I am hitting some kind of buildup with snake. When I pull the snake back it looks like its going in about 18" which makes me think its struggling with the turn in the trap. When I pull the snake back out it doesnt have anything on the end of it like hair.
And I think the toilet is fine. Even if I took the toilet off I could only run the snake down the the vertical pipe and I think the problem is in the horizontal pipe just past the trap coming across from shower drain just before vertical drop for toilet. I am thinking maybe I should keep adding a monthly dose of one of these environmental products that gradually eats it away over time.The shower drain works okay now so if it works maybe I should not mess with it.

Last edited by Pawl; 02-20-2015 at 05:43 PM. Reason: additional information
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:01 PM   #4
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I agree, if everything is working leave it alone until you're ready to replace all the old cast iron with pvc. Old cast iron can be very brital and you may cause more problems/damage by snaking it. If you have to hire a plumber, make sure he's insured just in case. Most of the pro's are insured, but some handymen and rooter companies are not.

Had the same problem a few years ago. 100 year old bungalo, all old cast iron everywhere right to the street, not draining well. Had a master plumber and his 2 young helpers replace all cast iron with pvc all the way to the street. Stayed at a hotel for few nights until we had a working dwv system again. Wow! it was a lot of work and money, hope you don't ever have to go through it.
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:07 PM   #5
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I use Bioclean the little suckers eat all that scum.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:27 AM   #6
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As far as the tub, I have to clean the tub drain once a year by removing the over flow and linkage and clean all hair from drain.
As far as the Toilet, Not all are built good. The best flushing Toilets that I know are Toto Drake, and American Standard Champion 4 (The Golf Ball Toilet). I threw a 1 month old Toilet in the trash that came with a Modular Home and replaced it with a Toto. It took 3 flushes to evacuate the bowl.I forget the Brand.
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