Finding a Kitchen Clog


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Old 03-05-06, 08:05 PM
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Finding a Kitchen Clog

Before calling a plumber, I want to do what I can to find the problem with the kitchen drain not draining/draining very slow. First, a few days ago I noticed a foul, sulphur-like odor coming from the sink but wasn't having any problems with drainage so I just dumped some baking soda down the pipes and washed it down. (btw, no garbage disposal, single sink with just one drain)Then this evening, the water backed up and wouldn't drain. I removed the j-trap and thought I had the problem licked as a huge clump of stuff came out and the pipe drained. Wrong! After letting the water run a few minutes, it backed up again. I stuck a coat hanger down the main drain pipe as far as the hanger would go without encountering anything. I read on this forum that I can try next using a drain snake, 10'-20' - is that right?

Since I don't know what a drain snake is, I'm not sure how to use it. Just stuff it down and if it never stops after it's length, I should call a plumber? If it does get stuck on something will the snake push it out of the way? Would it be better to just call a plumber? I have no idea how a kitchen drain is setup or what else could be the problem. So far, no problems anywhere else in the house, thank God but I'm very nervous.

Thanks
 
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Old 03-05-06, 10:23 PM
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Since I don't know what a drain snake is, I'm not sure how to use it. Just stuff it down and if it never stops after it's length, I should call a plumber? If it does get stuck on something will the snake push it out of the way? Would it be better to just call a plumber? I have no idea how a kitchen drain is setup or what else could be the problem.
I think that all things considered, you should call a plumber.
 
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Old 03-06-06, 08:27 AM
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Well, actually, a few minutes online and I can see that it would be really silly to call a plumber without snaking it first. It drains and then fills up again in a few minutes which means it's in the main drain shaft coming out of the kitchen, more that likely.

I just thought maybe someone could give me a brief description of the use of and practicality of a drain snake since I have not used one before but have unclogged a lot of pipes, fixed plumbing myself in the bathroom, just haven't encountered such a deep clog before. The rest of the house is fine, no other sinks clogged.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 03-06-06, 08:53 AM
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Remove the piping as close to the wall as possible. Pull 5 or 6 inches of the snake out and push it into the pipe. Try to assure that it goes down and not up the vent. Release the thumbscrew and push more auger into the pipe. Tighten the thumbscrew each time you are going into the pipe. When you hit a clog, pull about 6" of the snake out of the canister and, while pushing, turn the crank handle. Keep doing this until you are through the clog. Then push and pull the auger to help clear out any more of the clog. Remove the auger and reassemble the piping and test. I have included a link with a picture of a Drain Auger. You can get them at Home Centers also. Good luck.

http://doityourself.com/shop/reamers.htm
 
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Old 03-06-06, 03:37 PM
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how old is the house?
 
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Old 03-09-06, 08:46 AM
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Thank you so much for your help. Here's what happened (btw, house was built in 1949)... I used a hand auger and it stopped at a tee about 2-3 feet in so I called rescue rooter. They brought their mega-machine and found tree roots. 3 hours and 2 machines later, the prognosis was pretty bad. They did a scope with a camera and showed me the old clay pipes going out from my house into the alley and how the roots were coming in at the joints and one area where the joint was coming apart due to the roots.

So much for a simple clog. The rescue rooter guy told me that the auger I had was useless going into the large drain under the sink, that it would have only worked on a "simple" clog. And now I know how those augers work after watching this guy use the electric ones, pretty interesting, the camera part was fascinating but also gross! Like an endoscopy or something.
 
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Old 03-09-06, 10:30 AM
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Your Rooter man was correct. The canister augers are only made for simple clogs. This is the type most people have in their sink drains. They will usually only work well in 2" and under pipe sizes. I am glad you brought up the camera. It's great to know what you are faced with. I used to do a friends main line every year. We knew it was tree roots but he did not have the money to replace the line. This has been a number of years ago and I heard the new owners had to replace the line due to the pipe seperating and preventing an auger from traveling through the pipe any longer. PVC is great for drains as it is smooth and roots easily slide under or over it rather than growing into it.
 
 

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