Unclog a vent stack without a drain snake?


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Old 03-23-11, 09:26 PM
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Question Unclog a vent stack without a drain snake?

Here's a head-scratcher...

I bought my current house almost a year ago, and knew before I signed that it had a vent stack problem in the kitchen. So far I've just been living with the gurgling but I know I need to get it fixed.

Here's the catch. The vent is not a straight shot up, because there's a window behind the sink that it has to go around. I can see in the attic (single story) that it takes a few other turns up there even after it goes around the window. All are tight turns and the pipe is narrow metal threaded supply-type pipe, maybe 1". I don't think a drain snake would make it through the 90 degree angles as they are not sweeping turns like with normal drain pipe.

Is there any way to clear a stack using vacuum? I don't want to try to flush it nor used compressed air, because presumably it's never been under pressure and heaven knows what's behind the wall - I think this house was plumbed by kindergarteners based on the rest of the house (leaking copper supply pipes, PVC drain joints that just pull apart and grow mold... but I digress). Good news is I can get at the vent from under the sink or up on the roof. There's no trees near the stack so I'm at a loss for what could be clogging it.

Any thoughts on how to get this unclogged without a snake/auger and without risking flooding my attic?
 
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Old 03-23-11, 10:06 PM
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Usually when there is a window the sink arm goes into the wall then left or right until it clears the window. Then the vent goes up.

I would think from your description that you have galvinized pipe. I would bet its not the vent but a partial clogg, since galvinized closes up after years of use. Especially kitchen lines.

I also would say its at least 1 1/2 pipe although the vent may be 1 1/4.

Any way a hand held power snake should be able to tackle both the vent and the line. Its a small enough cable. The trick is to make sure you run it on high speed and let the snake work.

Often I snake frome the sink, and when I hit the tee in the wall I usually can make the snake go up the vent or down the line. This is years of experience, and its all feel to know the resistance and which way the snake is really going.

After use some Dio/enzyme stuff monthly. No acid.

I feel a snake it better for your kind of pipe, but jetting may be an option. Heck pour some bio stuff down the vent and flush with a hose. Repeat a couple times if need be.

Good Luck.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 03-24-11, 07:43 PM
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Thanks - I think the galvanized pipe is smaller than 1 1/4" but no matter. I need to take the drain pipe apart anyway due to an unrelated leakage in the drain, so that'll give easier access to the vent from under the sink and can try a snake, I guess it's worth a shot.

Now I'm curious though... You say galvanized closes up - What causes that and will a snake be able to power through it?
 
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Old 03-24-11, 07:50 PM
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Heres what a kitchen sink line may look like. I have seen them like this often.



Mike NJ
 
 

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