Jump to content


Drain clog question

  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 PaulS

  • 5,000 Post Club!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,893 posts
  • Joined: Jan-21 2000

Posted December 28 2006 - 12:02 PM

The pedestal sink drain in the bathroom is clogged. Drano won't work so I took off the sink. The clog isn't in the trap but is behind the wall in the vertical pipe to the basement. I can't get the snack down towards the clog. I also can't get off the galvanized clean out cover thing to go up towards the clog. Should I call a plumber.

#2 jerkin

  • Member

  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Joined: Mar-11 2006

Posted December 28 2006 - 12:26 PM

I had something like that happen once, blew it out with a portable air tank.

#3 iphish

  • Way too many!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,836 posts
  • Joined: Oct-15 2006
  • LocationTo infinity and beyond.....

Posted December 28 2006 - 12:29 PM

Drano is a joke, try something else. Search the web under ask jeeves.com
"Drain plugged"

#4 OldCowboy

  • Senior Member

  • PipPipPip
  • 117 posts
  • Joined: Apr-18 2004

Posted December 28 2006 - 2:49 PM

Might try working a piece of soft wire ("baling wire") down the drainpipe as a miniature snake. sometimes you can bend small sections at a time and get down the pipe. MAYBE you can get down the vent pipe from above with a snake to get to the blockage. Other chemicals, as mentioned. I'm wondering how something could have gotten through the trap and jammed further down the drain, maybe there's some other problem in the system.

#5 JimW

  • 5,000 Post Club!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,942 posts
  • Joined: Sep-27 2001

Posted December 28 2006 - 3:45 PM

Maybe try a little heat on the clean out plug?

#6 PaulS

  • 5,000 Post Club!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,893 posts
  • Joined: Jan-21 2000

Posted December 28 2006 - 4:04 PM

I think Sat. I'll try something down the vent pipe (don't think the snake will reach from the roof) and if that won't work possibly a torch to the clean out plug.

#7 DarkSkies

  • 1,000 Post Club!

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,807 posts
  • Joined: Oct-21 2006

Posted December 28 2006 - 4:05 PM

jerkin had good advice. They make a product for home use called "spot shot" or something like that, shots of compressed air directly to drain. Great product for minor to medium clogs, avail in big box improvement or some local hardware stores.

Since you don't have that, you should try to open the cleanout if you have a propane torch and wd-40. Have to heat it up very well. lots of lubricant, and a good plumber's wrench or crescent should move it, and eventually open. Be CAREFUL not to strip the cleanout plug. If it's not moving or moving very little, you need a bigger wrench or greater leverage.

For the future, don't even consider Drano. If you think the insides have a clogged/ minimized diameter, you need a surfuric acid based drain cleaner. Only buy the product that weighs about 10 lbs for a 1/2 gal bottle, and is sealed in plastic marked "for prof use only". Other stuff is a waste of $. However, sulf acid will EAT your pipes, esp galvanized, and melt through pvc. This is a product that you have to pay attention to when using. When smoke starts coming out of pipes and they burn your hands if touched, time to flush. This product is best if applied into cleanouts, as will melt most p traps if not careful.

Since you took your sink out, there should be some way to get a snake or auger into the drain pipe behind. Keep trying, even if you only manage to expose a narrow passage. Then try to go up from the cleanout. Caustic liquids should only used as a last resort.

On a regular basis, a gallon of household bleach poured into every drain about 4 times a year, and left standing overnight, will eliminate most clogged drain calls to Roto Rooter. If all else fails, call plumber or Roto, but be prepared to pay dearly. - Good luck - Dark

#8 dogboy

  • Way too many!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,798 posts
  • Joined: Aug-21 2004

Posted December 28 2006 - 5:22 PM

there is an attachment for a garden hose you might want to try

screw it on the end of the hose, insert it as far as possible into the drain, and turn the water on

there is an outer chamber that fills with water and holds the device in the pipe....then a slow, steady squirt of water works on dislodging the clog

also, i have had better luck with a round, coiled wire snake than a flat one when it comes to tricky curves...there is one i bought that has a slight S-curve handle and a little thumb screw that worked when nothing else did on my most recent clog

hair would be my guess for the most common clog in a bathroom sink drain

as mentioned, malleable mechanics wire that has a small, tight bend in the end just might snag the hairball on the pull stroke, without being so stiff that it will get stuck on something itself

good luck, it took me a few hours to get the right solution the last time around, but once i did it was a piece of cake

#9 speedracer

  • Way too many!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,604 posts
  • Joined: Sep-12 2005

Posted December 28 2006 - 6:08 PM

Bathroom sinks get clogged easily because the water going down them isn't very hot. As a result soap and hair and dirt start building up causing the pipe to get slowly clogged until there is no room for the water to go through.

Using compressed air or water jetting it free is a temporary fix at best. It just removes the most recent softer layers while leaving the older harder stuff intact. Using Drano only softens the clog. It won't remove much of it.

Heres what I would do. Put a coupla large pots of water on the stove until they are almost at a boil. Then pour them into your sink drain. They will melt away the soft layers first, then the harder layers of crud and free up your pipe. After that you want to use a foaming pipe cleaner to loosen the really tenacious crud. Then repeat the boiling water thing again.

Do the boiling water thing about once every six months and you will never have a problem.

You're getting sleepy. ....very sleepy.....

#10 PaulS

  • 5,000 Post Club!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,893 posts
  • Joined: Jan-21 2000

Posted December 29 2006 - 9:58 AM

I went back to the snake and basically snaked every inch even if I didn't feel an obstruction. Took about 2 hours and total hair was less than a golf ball size (which still freaks me out). The drain seems to be fine now.

Thanks to everyone that suggested something, you saved me over $100 for a plumber

Now I have to call the plumber to cancel

#11 Steve in Mass

Steve in Mass
  • Way too many!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 48,689 posts
  • Joined: Feb-20 2000
  • LocationFoxborough, Ma

Posted December 29 2006 - 11:16 AM

Um, DarkSkies.....I wouldn't advise the use of sulfuric acid.....first off, it is very, very nasty stuff....I worked with it routinely years ago (I even designed and built a wastewater treatment system to deal with the effluent from the process we used it in).....and you have also given some wrong information....sulfuric acid WON'T melt PVC......believe me, I know.....we ran it thru PVC all the time in the process I designed........but it will eat thru copper and other metal in very short order. And it also won't dissolve soap, as soap is a lipid (fat), and fats are generally not soluable in acid (that's why oil and vinegar don't mix......)

And if you employ a septic system as opposed to city sewers, sulfuric will kill all the bacteria in the septic tank, causing you bigger problems that the clogged drain.

If you get to the point that you need a strong drain cleaner, you need to use sodium hyroxide (NaOH) pellets mixed with water. With hydroxide, you also need to be careful, because it is quite caustic. And when you mix the pellets with water to dissolve them, the mixture will get very hot from the reaction/heat of dissolution. It will burn your skin (chemically) in short order.....if you should get skin contact, you need to immediatley flush with water until the skin doesn't feel "soapy" anymore, which can take a long time.

But sodium hydroxide will dissolve soap and hair build up in short order, and while it CAN eat the pipes if left in them for extended periods, it takes much longer to do so than acids, and you can flush with plenty of water to prevent that after the clog is dissolved. And while still not great for a septic system, it is not as bad as stong acids, and small amounts can be digested by the bacteria.

One last word.....the air or water pressure things are okay in some instances, but you need to make sure you are using them where the system is "closed"....most bathroom sinks have a vent in the bowl for overflow protection, so if the clog is past the vent and you use pressure in the sink drain, the pressure is just released thru the vent, and won't build enough to clear the clog. The same holds true if the clog should be after the roof vent pipe.....all that pressure applied will just fly up the stack.

Just for future reference, as it seems Paul's problem is solved for now....

SOL Member #174

#12 DarkSkies

  • 1,000 Post Club!

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,807 posts
  • Joined: Oct-21 2006

Posted December 30 2006 - 11:38 AM

Steve, I stand corrected.
You are right, I should have considered the implications more. NaOH does work better in the situation described. I was thinking more in terms of cleaning out drains leading to the main, where sulfuric acid has worked well for me.
Of course, snakes are a good choice (if you have access) before using chemicals. And I didn't consider the damage sulf acid will do to septics because most people here have public sewers. But I should have considered that as well. My bad.

It's always best to work from the easiest to the harshest solution, as even boiling water can be effective when used regularly. -Dark

#13 Ben Lippen

Ben Lippen
  • Way too many!

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18,925 posts
  • Joined: Aug-25 2001

Posted December 30 2006 - 7:10 PM


Originally Posted by DarkSkies

Steve, I stand corrected.
It's always best to work from the easiest to the harshest solution, as even boiling water can be effective when used regularly. -Dark

Dont sweat it DarkSkies.
Good job everyone on this thread

True story, back when I was married I had hair actually longer than my wifes, I learned back then to dump hot water down the bathroom sink every once in awhile.
Tho I no longer have hair issues, read hair , I still throw the colander in the bathroom sink every once in awhile and dump the pasta in it