Wonky (and slow) kitchen sink drain


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Old 12-01-22, 05:06 AM
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Wonky (and slow) kitchen sink drain

Double sink with traps on each basin join into one drain pipe going straight back. A few days ago, both sinks began displaying backing-up water - clearly not a individual trap, but downstream of them. When I investigated, I found that the pipe goes into the wall (about 8in), then left about 28in, then down about 28in, then out from the wall about 4in, then right about 6ft to a wye into the main drain. What were they thinking? There is no pitch/slope on the six-foot section, so that is my first suspect, but I've been unable to get a snake to reliably enter that section -- past all the elbows is my suspicion. Any suggestions?

A number of years ago, when someone ground up a lot of potato peels into that drain, they seemed to clog in the wye - I snaked UP from the cleanout to the wye and got a boatload of guck loose, FWIW. I'm reluctant to think that wye is plugged again because of the mess it made when the clog cleared :-)

We've been in this house for over 30years and I'm getting less impressed with the plumbing by the year/month/day/hour.
 
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Old 12-01-22, 06:26 PM
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Not sure what you're using for a snake but with that many fittings you need one that turns.
The auger turns and the snake will travel thru the right angle fittings.

For a good basic snake that should work well there....... Ridgid Kwik Spin snake.
It's what I use and works well and is fairly easy to get around corners.
The one in the link is strictly hand crank. They also make one that you can use in your drill.
 
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Old 12-01-22, 11:15 AM
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Not surprising there's a clog with all those bends. Also the drop before the main drain/stack is not (never been) code compliant since it can cause the trap to be sucked dry. But you already know that's it's wrong...

What were they thinking?
Probably changed the sink location a few times over the years. What kind of piping is it?

There's no simple answer. You need to get a snake through the pipes. Maybe a smaller one would get through the bends easier. You could also try an enzyme cleaner... but it's sort of a last ditch attempt IMO.

When you say it comes out of the wall for 4", is it still in the kitchen cabinets? If needed, could you cut the pipe there, abandon the rest, and run a new pipe to the kitchen sink?
 
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Old 12-02-22, 07:35 PM
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The 3/8" snake can be difficult to rotate by hand. Not to mention all the extra flying around the room.
I have a similar one and have only needed to use once instead of the 1/4" one.
The self contained 1/4" snake is a pleasure to use.
 
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Old 12-01-22, 12:54 PM
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Thank you, Zorfdt. The drain comes out from the wall about 4in in the basement laundry room, which is where I can then see the level 6ft section. Last night I started dropping an enzyme cleaner in every evening, but was thinking a smaller snake might be useful after posting my question. Current one is 3/8in.
FWIW, I'm pretty sure the plumbing is original. It's PVC from 1975, when the house was built. We bought in 1988 and had to do a lot to make the place workable, but no plumbing was done then.
 
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Old 12-02-22, 08:20 AM
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The region where I think I'm getting hung up.

Thank you PJmax.

The snake I have is a 3/8in diax50ft coiled-steel thing, somewhat like https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-Koba...ger/5013102023 without any Lowes branding. I am able to rotate it within the pipe up to a point, after which is seriously stops moving forward. I haven't been able to pull any material out with the hook at the front, though, so my suspicion is that it is hitting a corner that it can't negotiate. I was looking at 1/4in dia snakes at my local hardware store, very similar to the Ridgid model you linked; hand-powered is preferred, so this is a useful recommendation. I would estimate I've reached the last elbow and that there is not sufficient flexibility in the 3/8 snake to negotiate two quick bends. The piping is 2in Sched 40 PVC and it appears that the last two elbows are just too close. I'll pick up a smaller diameter snake this weekend and have a go at it with that.

Two days of enzyme cleaner haven't altered the outflow rate yet :-( though I'm not very suprised.


pipe comes down against skirt joist, inward through joist about six inches, then turns right for a six foot level run.
 
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Old 12-24-22, 10:16 AM
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Many thanks to the responders. I managed to get one of the self-contained 1/4" snakes through all those elbows, though only pulled a little blob (of hair!) out. (It appears that the upstairs tub drains into the same bits of pipe, which "explains" the jog to the left from the sink.)
In any case, the drain is running much more freely so I'm treating for a while with an enzyme treatment to see if I can keep it open. (And my apologies for the delayed responses - several weeks of Nutcracker performances interfered.))
Thank you again.
 
 

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