I have a bathtub drain that is draining too slowly - See Pix


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Old 02-09-21, 06:11 AM
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I have a bathtub drain that is draining too slowly - See Pix

I have a bathtub drain that is draining too slowly, I've tried a few actions, see below, not getting any improvement in drain flow. With 5 gallons of standing water in the tub, when I push the drain lever down it still takes a full 60 seconds for that water to drain, no difference.

Chemical Actions: I've used several treatments that I have poured down the drain, let them sit for a 30 mins to 2 hours, and then flush them out with warm water, including a ZEP enzyme treatment, Pequa, straight Vinegar. No difference.

Auger: I then used a power auger with a 1/2" head on it and bent the head a little so it spins a little wider than the 1/2" and power augered down the drain (using a power drill) for a length of 3 feet. I felt no clog resistance, and when I pulled it out there was no debris stuck in the head.

Any good ideas of something else I can try? Or could this just be the normal rate of water draining? Would the rate of flow be faster if I enlarged the drain holes in the drain cover a bit?

Thank you!


 
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Old 02-09-21, 06:13 AM
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Has it always been draining like this, or just recently?

Snaking it 3 feet isn't very far. Maybe get a 25-foot snake and try that?
 
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Old 02-09-21, 06:49 AM
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Several things. Tubs by comparison to the volume of water they hold have a relatively small drain. With the trip lever open and just running the faucet at medium to large flow, does the water drain without a large puddle forming in the tub (or does the tub actually fill with this set up?). Assuming the drain pipe is actually clear all the way to the main drain are you sure the trip lever plug or cylinder is properly adjusted to allow full flow through the drain? Do any other drains nearby such as sink drain slow?
Dan is correct 3 feet is nothing when snaking a drain. You want to go at least 15 feet or more to properly clear the pipes. Another possibility as a very shallow slope of the tub drain. Not unusual.
Last but not least, remove and discard the strainer and buy a thing call the TUBSHROOM, or similar. It will catch all particulates including hair and keep the drain very clear.
 
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Old 02-09-21, 08:05 AM
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Where did you run your drain auger? Did you remove the stopper assembly and run the snake down through where the tub's overflow or did you run it down the drain in the bottom of the tub? It must go down through the overflow to avoid the sharp 90 bend and stopper assembly. Quite often removing the stopper assembly is enough to clear some clogs.

 
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Old 02-09-21, 08:57 AM
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Dan, I think the drain is slower. I own and live in this 100 year old multifamily, and am doing preventitive maintenance before a new tenant moves in. I will try a long snake.

Norm201 Yes the rate of large flow of water into the tub is faster than the draining at the same time. Hmmmm yes maybe I have to adjust the trip lever plug if that is not fully pulling away when I push the trip lever down ...

There is indeed a nearby sink that behind the wall its drain joins the bathtub drain and from there that singular pipe plunges vertically from the second flr to the basement. This nearby sink drains at a rate of 1 gallon per 6 seconds. Which is faster than the tub which is 1 gallon per 12 seconds (5 gallons per 60 seconds).

Thank you both for your experience and insights!
 
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Old 02-09-21, 09:03 AM
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Also as PD suggest the best to snake a tub is through the trip lever/overflow section.!00 year old house. What are pipes made of? Have they been updated? It would not surprise me if the tub section was never updated even if the rest of the pipe was.
 
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Old 02-09-21, 09:52 AM
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Hi Pilot Dane,

I put the auger through the drain hole, and got three full feet of snake through it, which means I got it through the p trap right? This bathtub/shower unit must be 20 -30 years old. Its a big plastic bathtub/shower assembly.

Got your point about the overflow assembly. Proceeding with the FOG (FEAR OF GOD) I will remove the cover plate, pull out the stopper assembly. I will then check for bathtub drainage rate, if it improves the 1 gallon per 12 seconds it drains at now (60 seconds for 5 gallons). I will be ever so careful as to not shift the overflow pipe or stress it, If the stopper is seating too low based on me checking closed and open drain flow rates, I might adjust the stopper to come up 1/8" or so if it is too low?

Again with the FOG factor and that overflow pipe, if I do not have to disturb it with vibrating auger cable, maybe better to return to using the same auger but through the drain which I have already shown I can do? If something happens to that overflow pipe from my actions, there is a huge ripout that would have to happen to replace it.
 
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Old 02-09-21, 10:18 AM
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If you remove the trip lever assembly then you may as well snake through the overflow and skip the flow test until after. You'll get better effect from the snake since it won't need to make the extra 90 bend. What's this about a vibrating auger. That seems like overkill. Just hand crank snake 15 to 25 feet will do the job.
 
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Old 02-09-21, 10:37 AM
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No, with only 3 feet of snaking you probably were stopped at the trap or some other fitting underneath the floor. Snaking a drain line is a bit like fishing. You have to feel the line/snake to determine what's going on at the working end. If you hit an obstruction keep turning and try differing amounts of pressure. The big thing to avoid is keep cranking away if it feels like the tip has snagged or caught on something solid which can twist the auger into a kinked knot.
 
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Old 02-09-21, 12:00 PM
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Pilot Dane and Norm201, Thank you. Very helpful. I will go back and work on this the next time the tenant leaves for a few hours.
 
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Old 02-14-21, 08:32 AM
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Hi, only now have I been able to return to working on this in my tenants apt.

Update, I have carefully taken out the bathtub overflow plate and mechanism. By the way I then drained 5 gallons through the tub drain with no improvement in the flow rate, so I know the overflow mechanism is not partially blocking the tub drain flow. I will push a snake through it and go 15 feet and see what happens! Question: Note the overflow gasket is slipped somewhat. The slippage is not from my actions as i was very careful plus there is much pressure holding the gasket in its present position. Is it OK to leave the gasket this way? see slipped gasket

I also note that this dedicated drain drops two floors to the basement flr and that once that vertical drain pipe goes under the basement flr and goes horizontal towards the main, this section has flow, but is restricted. Not sure if that is the source of the bathroom tub drain slowness above but I will use MAIN drain cleaner over night on that and try to flush this out. Why might this have restricted flow? Because of accumulated hair and soap sludge. Mostly hair...

Best,
Homeowner Dave
 

Last edited by dvarga; 02-14-21 at 08:45 AM. Reason: trying to be more precise
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Old 02-14-21, 11:55 AM
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Tub overflows are almost never watertight. You should try to get the gasket back into position as best as you can. If it is not in position and the tub is overfilled then the water can flow down the outside of the tub and not inside the overflow pipe.
 
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Old 02-19-21, 09:41 AM
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OK, thank you all for your input. Thx for your paitence. I made some progress and got some insight thanks to you all on this 2nd flr 20 year old bathtub on the 2nd floor that seemed to have slow drain. Here is my journey.

Besides multiple chemical plumbing treatments poured into the tube drain, I used an augar with a 1/2" head that I bent, and went down the drain, down the p trap and 15' DOWN, and from the basement went UP that dedicated drain pip 15'. No issues there. However while in the basement I found that this pipe that continues downward under the basement concrete, that meets the main sewer line under the concrete was almost plugged up. So I used main drain cleaner over night and flushed it out in the morning and that drain flow increased significantly on that portion, however that did not affect the bathtub drain flow rate of 5 gallons per 60 seconds.

Back to the tub. I EVER SO CAREFULLY unscrewed the overflow plate and took out the entire mechanism. I then poured the 5 gallon bucket of water in the tub and it still took 60 seconds to drain. Ok so the overflow mechanism was not the problem.

I looked at the overflow tube and noticed the tube was not centered and the gasket was even more so not centered. OK I am not messing with this and I called my trusty plumber. He came and said (1) the drain flow for the tub was 'within normal', and (2) as with this enclosed tube shower unit we did not have access to the overflow from the back, that he was going to silicon the gasket to the overflow pipe and the gasket to the back of the tub and silicon the overflow plate to the tub, and then tighten the screws to the over flow plate. And that is what he did. I think I have gone as far with this as I can and it is in a decent place.

Thank you immensely for all of your insights and guidance!
 
 

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