Kitchen Sink Won't Drain

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Old 01-04-13, 06:43 AM
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Kitchen Sink Won't Drain

Over the last three months my kitchen sink has been draining slower and slower. Last week I tried the baking soda, white vinegar and boiling water home remedy. That did not work and the sink went from a very slow drain to not draining at all. I've tried plunging multiple times along with hot water repeated for a few days and then my wife poured bleach down the sink. Still nothing. Despite more plunging and hot water, I called a few plumbers and they all said it needed to be snaked (costs for hudson valley area of ny were $185, $175 and $165 +$85 an hour after 1st hour).

I called a hardware store and they advised to give the draino max gel a shot as it's most likely grease. If that doesnt work he suggests I come in and purchase a snake saying it's real simple to use. (I know nothing about plumbing and have never used a snake)

I spoke with a friend of a friend who is in the plumbing business and he said that for about $100 he'd come by and pour an industrial drain declogger - he mentioned sulfuric acid w/buffers that make it harmless to pvc pipe (all my plumbing is black pvc pipe)

I went with the hardware store's advice figuring Drano Max Gel is the next step before snaking or plumber. I poured it in the sink last night after first clearing out all the water. After about 1/5 of the bottle the drain was filled to sink level, so I stopped with the drano, let it sit for an hour then poured hot water into the sink. The water level in the sink went down and I thought it was working, but it never drained completely. A few hours later I poured a little more drano and waited an hour and then poured some more hot water and let it sit overnight.

This morning I emptied the sink down to the drain as I did not want to leave the drano in the sink all day. Should I be concerned about it being it sitting in my pipes all day.

I have a single sink and a dishwasher (the dishwasher is also filled with water and overflows into the sink when we run it). There is a full and half bathroom on the same level with no problems and a full bathroom upstair with no problems.

I live in a townhome and we have a sewer system. The water in my area is hard and we have no water softener (plumbing is approx 12 years old).

So this is where I'm at - Would snaking do it? Is it simple enough to do myself? Should I buy a hand crank one or rent a mechanical one - especially if I never used a snake before. Should I knuckle under, call a plumber and anticipate a $200 to $300+ cost that I am in no position to afford right now? What's my most effective and econoimcal soluton based on your collective experience.

THANKS!

CJ
 
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Old 01-04-13, 07:40 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
If the clog is not grease or similar, liquid solutions won't do much or anything for you. Being a kitchen sink, grease is a common issue.
In your post, you mentioned that 1/5 of the bottle filled the drain. That means the clogged area is pretty close.
If you look under your sink, is there a pee trap right below the sink? Odds are that is where the clog is.
Most of the sinks I've worked on (not a plumber) have threaded pipe going from the drain to the pee trap, and/or connecting to the other sink (if double sink). If this is the case, you could try disconnecting the pipe and clear out the clog (or replace if it's hard as packed).

If you have a chance, could you post a couple pictures of the area under the sink. Try to get one or more that are clear enough to allow us to see where things are connected.

If everything is glued under the sink, a snake can work, but may only be a medium term solution.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 07:44 AM
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The problem with a town home is the line from the kitchen to the stack may be a considerable distance.

Plunger may work, have you tried it? Often you need to close the vent though and in a town-home I don't think your going on the roof.

Additionally as a plumber the worst thing was putting the chemicals in there. They often do nothing, and when the plumber comes he is forced to snake a line with dangerous chemicals. With a spinning snake its often scattered and sprayed on the plumbers ares and in his eyes.


With all the money you spent on drain cleaners, snake rental, or magic potions, it would of better been spent on a professional to do it right. Also most homeowners manage to get the trap off to snake but many cant put the trap back together with out leaks.


Like I said the snake you rent may not reach the clog. Then your back to square one. Pros have snakes 50ft, 100 ft....etc.

If grease it may be better to jet the line then snake so chose your options wisely.

After its cleared and grease was the issue, then use a bio type product monthly to keep the line clear.

I am sure after all is done you will watch what goes down the drain....

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 08:58 AM
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it's a simple set up one sink, dishwasher to the left. p trap into a wall - i have an unfinished basement and when looking up where the sink the pipe comes down into a t section with the right going off to connect to other larger diameter pipes and the left goes to the wall (same as the one the oven's against in the kitchen) and up.

I had the p trap empty previously so I know the clog is further along the line. The drain pipe from the sink comes down about a foot dn when goes to the right for another 20+ feet where it connects at an elbow.

Since the drano is already down there and not out, I am thinking of buying a $15 snake and have a go at it. Problem is, not sure about the chemicals in the pipe, sink trap, etc...how adviseable is it to snake a drain after drano? am I at the point where I need a professional - I'm pretty certain the blockage is somewhere between the drain and where the pipe meets the others as there's no problems with any of the other sinks, toilets, shower / tub on the same level as the kitchen sink. Only sink and dishwasher are backed up.


I'm obviously inching toward a pro, but want to be as econoimcal as possible while at the same time limiting damage to myself or my plumbing.

Thanks for your reply. I won't be home til later, but can take photos then and post if that will help.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 09:03 AM
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My kitchen sink with a 50' length was draining real slow so I dumped 3 jugs of drain cleaner and plunged till I was blue in the face, waste of time I think. Only was to get it open was with a snake.

Careful though, stuff happens. My daughter heard her 6'7" husband screaming like a child whilst he was trying to unclog the toilet in the basement, apparently using a snake that cranks or maybe a power one.

Anyway, that snake came flying out of that toilet spraying, ah, material all over him and the basement....he wasn't amused.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 09:14 AM
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I grew up in an actual house with over 3 acres of land that abutted state land so I'm feeling an awful lot like a fish in a bowl in these townhomes - wife's a city girl so this was a compromise.

at any rate, i do have a side concern and I'm wondering if this is a possibility and may be connected to my problem. a little while ago I had complained to the HOA as the landscaper kept running over this green pipe (about 4 to 5" diameter)with a white cap on the small lawn in front of my home. Since it is a townhome complex, we have our own sewer system. I was told that this was a vent cap. At any rate, the landscaper's solution to me asking him to stop running it over was to cut it below grade and recap it and bury it. It's been like that for the last 6 years or so. I'm pretty certain I have a vent going to my roof (see above descrip) but am wondering what this cap is since it is about 12 feet opposite my basement wall where the main drain pipe exits. Any ideas?
 
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Old 01-05-13, 08:28 PM
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I have similar clog on my kitchen sink and bathroom sink, disassemble the trap and clean the pipe worked for me.
 
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Old 01-08-13, 08:05 AM
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UPDATE:

This past weekend I purchased a 25' hand crank snake. I removed and cleaned the trap and inserted the snake into the wall pipe. the pipe curves right, then down through the floor and then perpendicular back for about two feet and then off to the left where it extends left horizontally to a pipe that goes up through the floor (and behind the oven in the kitchen) and right for a length of about 30ft until it reaches the other wall where it bends to connect to the larger pipes.

After working with the snake for a few hours, I was not sure if I was hitting a solid clog or if I was not maneuvering the snake correctly. It's a coil snake with a corkscrew at the end. I have to maneuver this into a pipe, then right, then down, then back and then somehow at the t intersection, right again to avoid going up the vent stack.

After using the snake, we managed to get half of a bottle of drano down and waited an hour before pouring hot water. The water went down as well, but then back up again. When I plunge the sink, there's a big suction sound with the water going down, then it slowly comes back up again, but seems to go up and down before settling.

Here's what I've done so far:

Three weeks ago - originally poured baking soda and white vinegar down the drain, waited 1/2 hour then boiling water. Clog still there, except went from slow to slower to completely stopped. A day after that my wife poured some bleach down the drain. It went down, but drain is still clogged.

Two weeks ago - picked up drano and poured 1/2 bottle down drain, waited, hot water - still backed up.

Last Weekend - picked up snake. worked snake for 2 hours - either hit blockage or not making my way into pipe correctly (I know I got to the lateral part in the basement as I had someone down there listening (full unfinished basement w/all piping exposed). After snake poured rest of drano - waited - hot water. Drain not as bad as before, but still not draining.

Next day, no water in sink - it drained. Decided to add water (did not drain) and plunge again. Still getting great suctioning sound with all water going down drain after plunging, but it still comes back up, swells and ebbs then settles. The water which comes back up is soapy / foamy.

This is where I'm at. I'm not sure what to do and would appreciate some advice as my budget for a plumber is not there.

Is the concoction I have in my drain ok to leave there for a week or two?

Should I try snaking it again?

Someone mentioned I should throw phosporous or caustic soda in the drain, but with what's already in there, I don't want to add any more chemicals?

How would I know if anything is wrong with my vent cap?

Is it possible to have a vent cap on the roof and one outside the home in the ground?

Do I have to bite the bullet and call a plumber? For them to snake the drain I got three prices $175, $185 and $195 (NY state). I also had someone come out and offer to send a camera down to see what's going on - that would cost $75. Do these prices sound reasonable?

 
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Old 01-08-13, 09:14 AM
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I would say the clog it right at the fitting where that line connects to the larger line.

What material pipe?

You will never get it down with that hand crank snake.

If you have access and the pipe is PVC you can cut the pipe near that fitting. Add a clean out, then snake from there. You can actually snake both ways if needed.
 
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Old 01-08-13, 09:45 AM
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pipe is black plastic - I thought about that as the simple and easiest cut to the chase solution - I'm not a plumber (never even used a snake before), so am not sure how involved this would be - I also wondering as to what a plumber would charge for that - do you think this is my only solution?
 
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Old 01-08-13, 09:57 AM
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If you are going to do it yourself it would be the solution IMO. Cut the pipe and install a cleanout then snake.

Watch for acid from all the chemicals you put in there.

Use no hub connectors if you have no play to glue the CO.

Plumbers prices vary.
 
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