Clogged sink, new clean out, lessons learned.

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  #1  
Old 02-22-13, 06:00 AM
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Clogged sink, new clean out, lessons learned.

So... The night before hitting the road for a family road trip, the kitchen sinks wouldn't drain. The dishwasher had actually added water to the sink which indicated to me, it was clogged after the dishwasher connection.
Busy getting the van ready for the drive, I sent the wife over to the hardware store (~200yrds from the front door) to get a snake as we don't have one.

The way the sinks are configured is pretty standard. The two sinks connect together in a tee, with the exit going down into a pee trap, then through the floor into the basement between the joists. The dishwasher is connected after the pee trap, just before it goes into the basement. In the basement, someone installed 2 45' elbows, which creates a long radius 90' (basically).

Tried using the insanely long snake the wife bought (50ft I think) through the access port in the pee trap, with no success. The snake my wife had bought had a very small end on it, so it really wouldn't grab anything.
Frustrated, I went to the hardware store and picked up a 45' tee, threaded cap, union and was going to cut out the lower 45' elbow and replace it with my new parts to create a clean out access point.

Apparently my wife had also bought some sort of liquid plumber solution. Not the wally mart brand stuff. This stuff came in it's own bag (nasty stuff). She tried using it while I was on my way to the hardware store and it failed. Didn't know this until I started cutting btw.

Not wanting to smell like a sewer, I was wearing gloves, but the few drops of water that splashed past my gloves did burn.
LESSON LEARNED; Do NOT use liquid plumber or similar. Doesn't work and you'll loose a plumber as a friend.
After removing the 45' elbow and a bit of pipe (and washing my arms a few times), I installed the new 45' tee and let the glue dry.
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I gave it a couple goes with the snake, but didn't feel any major restrictions other then a bit of resistance from a few joints in the pipe.
Put the plug in and gave it a test, which failed.

Last go at it before I give up and will deal with it when we get home.

Standing under the clean out (with bucket in hand), I slowly turn the plug, turning it only slightly when the water drips started to reduce. Just a hair more of a turn, and out come the plug (out of my hand that is ).
a 1 1/2" pipe sure holes a lot of volume. I was soaked and smelled kind of funky.
Lesson learned: Attach a leash (strink or chain) to the plug and the pipe so the plug won't go far on you. The pressure blew the plug from my hand, bounced off the concrete wall ~5ft away and then rolled on me.

Really not having a good time, I added a bend to the end of the snake so it would grab a bit more. This did the trick. Found the resistance. Even though we are very careful about grease going down the drain, the previous owners may not have been and stuff does get down the drain and stick to it. Put it all back together and life was good (after a good shower of course).

Recap on lessons learned;
- Do not use any liquid plumber products. They don't work and burn when you get it on your skin.
- Make sure there is a leash on your clean out plug, so it won't fly away or fall on you. Recommend ~6" or so.
- Make sure your snake has a decent end on it. The one I had was a ~1/4" coil with the end being no larger, just stretched a bit to scew into the clog.

Total cost:
~$10 for the snake
~$5 for the 45' tee, threaded cap, female threaded piece (already had the ABS glue, add ~$4 for glug).
 
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  #2  
Old 02-22-13, 06:14 AM
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I think your point about the drain cleaner product is an important one. I know you've been around the forum long enough to see all the people that really want to believe in it because it's easy and they don't have to get their hands dirty.
 
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Old 02-22-13, 07:17 AM
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I agree. Right or wrong, I happen to believe that bacteria additives can be beneficial, at least for those of us on septic systems, but when a line is plugged, there is no magical way around it, other than to open it up, and chemical drain cleaners only serve to create a detriment at that point.
 
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Old 02-22-13, 07:28 AM
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Although my adding a clean out is a bit above and beyond, snaking is really easy and anyone can do it. Only make sure to get a snake that has a slightly bigger business end on it.
If there where more commercials informing folks about how easy a snake is to use, no one would ever consider those fluid cleaners. Not only will the snake punch a hole in the clog, but it will rough up the settled grease and what not that has accumulated along the pipe walls over the years. Rough that up, and the water current will was it away. The inner walls of the drain pipe (1 1/2" pipe) had about 1/8" worth of crap stuck to the walls.

Even my clean out is a very easy to do job if you already have access to the pipe. Tools used (not purchased) was a hack saw, rubber gloves (need to preserve my office hands) and a bucket. After test fitting the pieces, apply the glue, fit and walk a way for a few. Now if I have another issue, I just have to remove the threaded plug and I have an easy to snake access point.
Work time was ~10minutes. Dry time before using was ~ 2 beer (or a dozen trips to the van with travel stuff).


On a side note, the wife is going to be the one dealing with the next drain issue should one come up. I'll supervise and provide the guidance she needs. That's her punishment for the chemical burns.
 
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Old 02-22-13, 11:02 AM
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Do not use any liquid plumber products. They don't work and burn when you get it on your skin
The previous owners of my house must have really believed in those products. After I moved in, I noticed a drain line was leaking - I had to replace about 20' pf PVC because it was melted with holes here and there. I don't know if they used a lot of it at one time or if it was from years of using it ..... and you know, if it will melt PVC, you sure don't want it on your skin
 
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Old 02-22-13, 12:36 PM
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marksr,
The stuff my wife used was bad. I knew right away (even diluted), when I got some on my arm.
 
  #7  
Old 03-14-13, 11:24 AM
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You mentioned that the dishwasher was connected after the p-trap. This is incorrect and can let sewer gasses enter the house. It should be before the p-trap.
 
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