Slow draining tubs and backing up

Old 12-04-07, 06:31 PM
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Question Slow draining tubs and backing up

I recently bought a 4-plex built in 1938 (2 units upstairs and 2 units downstairs). Both of the upstairs tenants are complaining that their bathtubs are draining VERY slowly. Additionally, when one of them uses their tub the bathwater drains(backs up) into the other bathtub. Could this be a clogged drain? Or, is it a vent pipe problem? [One of the dnstairs units is vacant and the other is in the final stages of remodelling so I'm not aware if they are having this problem]. Please help. Thanks
Old 12-05-07, 03:46 AM
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Drains and vents are undersized by todays standards, which make clogs easier to form. It could be the vents, but I would suspect a partial clog in the drain line. Usually hair build up. You may be able to loosen the mess by plunging, but try one of those bio-enzyme type cleaners in both drains. Use the shock treatment on the label. I don't recommend caustic drain openers. If the clog gets worse, think of the guy that has to work around that stuff.
Old 12-05-07, 03:49 AM
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We remove a lot of hair clogs from bathtubs.
Old 12-05-07, 04:32 AM
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If one tub is backing up into the other, the clog is in a common line before it gets to the lower units. Either that, or, yes, you could have a vent occlusion. But if the lower units are clearing well, it is unlikely.
Old 12-05-07, 06:04 PM
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Smile Slow draining tubs and backing up

Upon closer inspection I found that there is indeed a shared Y-type drain that the upstairs bathtubs drain into. I am not certain but it appears that the downstairs bathtubs also drain into the same drain. I have tried a plumbers helper (plunger?) but the problem still persists. I am trying Drain Care by Zep but product instructions state not to run water in drain for 6-8 hours so I can not test yet.
Thanks for all of the helpful information - I'll keep you posted.
Old 12-10-07, 07:23 PM
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Did you have any luck?

I am having the same problem in my kitchen sinks.... I really can't afford a plumber. Please let me know!

Old 12-12-07, 09:58 AM
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The most effective device I've found for clearing hairgunk out of drains is a thin plastic thing about 18" long with sharp hook-like edges, each of which is about 1" apart; you just slide it down the drain and withdraw it, going all around the drain several times in a circular fashion. It's only a few bucks and I found it at Home Depot or Lowes, a few years ago.

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