How to troubleshoot clogged pipe?


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Old 04-28-20, 09:50 AM
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How to troubleshoot clogged pipe?

My kitchen sink clogged all the time. Every time it clogged, I had to use an auger. The auger didn't really pull out anything either. However, I noticed that it has to go beyond 25feet to clear up this clogged. The sink do have a food disposal. So, what else can I do besides using an auger every time it clogs which is every 2-3 months.
 
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Old 04-28-20, 10:08 AM
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Get a camera and see what is causing the clog. you can rent a camera to go down pipe to see what is the problem. Usually a bend or crushed pipe that has to be fixed.
 
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Old 04-28-20, 10:27 AM
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Pugsi is correct. But I'll go one step further. Buy endoscope. Their cheap and you'll use it for many other things.
Now to the clog itself. I also had (have) a similar problem. My kitchen sink (with disposal and dishwasher) has about a 35 foot run with several major elbows. Without warning the sink will clog. About half way down the drain line I installed a coupling that can be taken out. This way I get to clean out the drain pipe from both directions and be sure it's clear.


The cause is most likely the disposal. I'm dead set against them. My wife now agrees that it was mistake installing it. We never use it. No matter how small the waste gets chopped up, it will settle and stick in the drain line. Stop using the disposal and most likely the clogs will stop.
 
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Old 04-28-20, 10:41 AM
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Any recommendation on the endoscope?
 
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Old 04-28-20, 12:45 PM
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I went to Amazon or e-Bay. You don't need to be very particular. Their cheap so if they break buy a new one.

Here's what I bought. I think it was e-Bay

10/5m 6LED Android Endoscope Waterproof Inspection Camera Micro USB
Video Camera (282422852317)

Paid $10.00 for it.

Here's the specs:

Specifications:
2 in 1 OTG&Micro USB lnspectlon Borescope Camera
Lens Diameter: 5.5mm 7.0mm 8.0mm Optional
Resolution: 64OX48O(5 5/7'Omm) 1280X960 1280x720 (8
SensorSize:'ll9 inch
Frame Rate: 30fPS
View Angle: 67 Degree
Waterproof Level: lP67
6 LED With Light Control Button
length: 1 m 2m 3.5m 5m 1 0m OPtional
Power SupPlY: 5V DC Via OTG USB Port
Computer Operating System: XP WinT WinS Vista
PhOtO FOTMAT: JPEG
Video Format:AVl
Operating TemPerature 0C to 70C

You don't need anything special. Waterproof is nice and a long length is good.
This particular one can be used with cell phone or directly on computer. Right now I have mine connected to my 3 D printer and view the printing on my computer.

 
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Old 04-28-20, 05:31 PM
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Can you tell what kind of piping you have in the wall? (not what's between the sink and the wall)

Old galvanized steel pipe has a tendency to catch grease and kitchen gunk over the years and end up with a decent clog. A snake tends to create a small hole in it that closes up again soon.

You either need to get a snake with a larger head or another method to actually get the grease cleaned out.
 
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Old 04-28-20, 07:12 PM
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Those snakes (usually flat blade) with a bullet heard on it will do the trick. Not cheap but worth the price.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 05:54 AM
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Something is definetely wrong if you are getting clogs that frequently and in the same location. Have you tried looking or guessing where the clog is located? Is it underneath the house in a crawl space or basement where it's accessible?
 
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Old 04-29-20, 06:44 AM
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I've purchased the CobraŽ 1/4" x 50' Cable Drum Cleaning Machine. I don't think his particular model allows me to change the head.

The pipe I have is PVC and it goes down to our basement. The basement has drop ceiling so it's easy to get access to if need to. What I have done before was, I purchased 15feet manual auger and it didn't work so I have to get a longer than 25feet. However, this time it seems to be closer than 25 feet since the auger seems to be stuck or harder to push in at about 10-15 feet. Is there a way to measure or tell from how much I've pushed the snake in? Again, I don't know exactly where the clog is. It seems to me that the clog may come from the ground scraps of our food disposal. I already got a new food disposal as well but nothing seems to change.

The issue with cheap endoscope is that the wire/cable may not be stiff enough to push down a pipe.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 06:58 AM
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I already got a new food disposal as well but nothing seems to change.
That is the source of the clogs.

Take your snake and push it as far as it will go. Then mark that spot on the tape with chalk or marker, or paint. Pull it out and measure the length. That will tell you how far the clog is. Then cut the pipe and install one of those couplings I referenced earlier.

BTW... you can attach a stiff rod or coat hanger to the endoscope to give it some stiffness. Or attach it to the snake.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 04:14 PM
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First, I'm not really a garbage disposal fan - I don't get people who go over and slide whatever is left on their plate (chicken bones, bread crust, half a plate of spaghetti, the fat trimming from their steak, etc.) into the sink/disposal, but anyway, with a garbage disposal, many people don't use them correctly (not saying that anyone here is not using theirs correctly, though, so don't hate!). You have to have the COLD water running full before you turn it on, then turn it on and let it run for a bit to grind up whatever's in there, and then continue to let the water run for like a minute or more afterwards to wash all those ground up particles farther down the drain line. Too many people turn off the water immediately after they shut off the disposal, and all those particles settle in the trap or not too far down the line. So get in the habit of doing that if you're not already.

Second, yeah, getting a scope or rerouting the piping may help, but also may not really be necessary. By the way, how are you getting an auger past the disposal? Are you taking off the trap and going from there?

For a simple thing you can do right now, try this:

Dump a half cup of baking soda down the drain - if you pour it into the disposal, that's ok, it will be a cleaning for the disposal...or if you are taking off the trap, then dump it down the pipe after the trap - try to get it down deep. Then pour a cup of white vinegar in after it. It will foam, so let that go for 5 minutes or so. Then, get some dish detergent, you can go buy a cheap generic bottle just for this purpose...and squirt like a quarter of the bottle down the drain. Then take a gallon (use an old milk jug or whatever) of hot water (not boiling, that could cause problems, but as hot as comes out of your faucet) and pour it strongly down the drain. The dish soap acts as a lubricant and can dislodge a slug of crud wherever it is in the line. You might need to do the soap/hot water thing a couple times.

If you are having recurring blockages, it may be due to incorrect (or just heavy) disposal use coupled with possibly too many elbows in the line, like others mentioned, so doing this soap/hot water cleaning once every few months may make any rerouting or scoping unnecessary. This same treatment works wonders on a clogged toilet as well. Give it a try. It's quick, easy, and costs almost nothing.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 04:31 PM
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JD, your method may work. But for all the work involved I'd rather take the sucker apart and snake it to be absolutely sure the clog is gone. Put that coupling in there and you good for the life of the house.
You're correct about how many people use disposals. No disposal is better than using it correctly!

The clogs I get about once every two or three years is kind of unique. I'll get a plug the size of the pipe ID. And literally all of a sudden. No slow draining water. Just an immediate stoppage. If comes out like a hard piece of plastic. Almost as hard as a hockey puck. And I do believe it's partially caused by the long run and several elbows my kitchen sink must follow. Not as often since we no longer use the disposal.
 
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Old 04-29-20, 06:57 PM
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And I bet those elbows you're talking about are short 90°s, aren't they? I don't know why builders/plumbers/regular people use those. There's almost always room for a long sweep 90°, or two 45°s separated by a short run of straight pipe, either of which will significantly lower the risk of clogging.
 
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