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#1
Old 08-13-2011, 10:22 PM
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Clogged BOTH kitchen sinks (fast help would be appreciated)

Look, I was stupid. We'll just get that part out of the way now.

Kitchen sink has two basins and is right next to the dishwasher. I had just finished up loading the dishwasher and started it. Then, in a fit of cleaning, I threw some shriveled baby carrots and onions into garbage disposal with the water running and turned on the disposal. That part seemed to go fine, until the smell of onion became overwhelming, so I cut up an old lemon and threw one quarter in as well.

That . . . did a bad thing.

The two sinks do communicate with one another. Now, when I run the garbage disposal, water and shredded onion backs up into the other sink. If I let them sit, the water levels between them equalize, though there's no shredded stuff on the disposal side.

Checked the disposal. Nothing in it. Hit the reset button. Runs the same as it has been. Pulled out as much of the shredded onion from the other sink as I could. No sign of carrots. Only sign of lemon is the produce sticker.

Went and got the plunger. Thought about where the plunger had been and also got the bottle of bleach. Poured approximately 1 cup of bleach into the sink without the disposal, raised the water level above the top of the plunger cup (because air compresses while water doesn't) and went to town. All I managed to do was pump water into the other sink.

I've stopped the dishwasher and checked it. Nothing appears caught or plugged.

Now I have two sinks half full of disgusting, onion shred filled bleach water, the disposal runs and runs and runs, and neither sink will clear.

WTF do I do now?
#2
Old 08-13-2011, 10:27 PM
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It has happened to me too. What I did was get the nerve to stick my hand in the dirty water and take a rag and stuff it in one of the drains and hold it there while the other hand did the plunging in the other sink. This will force the pressure down and hopefully solve your problems.

If not hopefully you have a friend with a snake.
#3
Old 08-13-2011, 10:28 PM
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Also, on a whim, I just plugged the disposal sink and plunged the other sink. Got some fizzy bubbles, and some water came out of what I can only imagine is a relief valve next to the faucet. On removing the pluger and the plug, the sinks equalized with a few more fizzy bubbles, and that was all.

I'm fucked, aren't I?
#4
Old 08-13-2011, 10:31 PM
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Fuck.

Calling my bro-in-law with all the mechanical skills. He's not answering.

Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck.
#5
Old 08-13-2011, 10:47 PM
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OMG, answers.com says I have to remove the disposal in order to snake the rest of the drain. Please, Og, tell me it isn't so.
#6
Old 08-13-2011, 11:00 PM
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The good news is that now that you've but bleach in there, you can't do anything until everything drains past the clog. Have a beer.

Tomorrow morning, look under the sink. There's probably a nut at the base of the disposal; loosen it, take of the base of the disposal (oh, unplug the disposal and put the dishpan under it) and see if you can fish the gunk out.
#7
Old 08-13-2011, 11:12 PM
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Your drain is plugged downstream from the disposal. The disposal isn't the cause of, or the soluton, the problem. It's an easy fix, but I am not sure I can explain it to you.

In the cabinet underneath the sink, there's a pipe (hopefully PVC) that leads from the bottom of the disposal that takes the broken down food and water to the sewer (septic field). It will have a collar that tightens and seals the pipe to the disposal exit. You need to put a bucket below that pipe, then unscrew the collar which will release the pipe, and all the scraps and water that are in the sinks/dishwasher will come gushing out (hence the bucket.) If you're lucky, and in my experience you will be about 90% of the time, the plug will be in that section or just past it, and a screwdriver or a coat hanger will be enough to break up the clog. If so, reattach the pipe and run water through the drain for a minute or two. Check for leaks under the sink.

Most of the time this will solve the problem, but if not it is time to call a plumber. A handyman with a drain snake will be cheaper, it really isn't something that requires a plumber in most cases.
#8
Old 08-13-2011, 11:15 PM
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I'm waiting to hear back from Bro-in-Law. Failing that, I will try Lamar's fix. Boy, do I need that beer.
#9
Old 08-13-2011, 11:33 PM
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A possible solution I've heard of but haven't personally used. You run your garden hose into the kitchen and put it into the drain. Wrap a bunch of towels around it and then have somebody outside turn the hose on while you hold it in place (or do it as a solo operation if you've got a good nozzle control). Supposedly the water pressure from the hose is much higher and it'll blast everything down the pipe.

In this situation, where you have two sink drains, you're going to want to close off the other drain as well or you'll end up with most of the water going into one drain and spraying back out the other.
#10
Old 08-13-2011, 11:41 PM
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I'll just chime in to mention that the 'relief valve' next to the faucet is to make sure that when you do something like plunge your sink* you don't send a bunch of dirty water into the dishwasher, but instead back up that.

*It's actually an anti-siphon valve and it's there to make sure that when the dishwasher is done draining it doesn't suck dirty water back down the hose from your disposal...but it'll do this job as well.
#11
Old 08-13-2011, 11:46 PM
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ETA Here's a poorly drawn but really good picture of what that thing is. The dishwasher pushes the drain water up to that point, through this air gap and to the disposal. Then when it's done draining, and the water that's still in the hose falls back down, it sucks air in behind it instead of just pulling the dirty water that's sitting in your drain back to the dishwasher. When you plunged the drain, you pushed all that water backwards towards your dishwasher and got stopped by this (though some probably made it through). You need this because the dishwasher is draining uphill. If your dishwasher draining down to a drain in your basement, you wouldn't need this.
#12
Old 08-14-2011, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamar Mundane View Post
Your drain is plugged downstream from the disposal. The disposal isn't the cause of, or the soluton, the problem. It's an easy fix, but I am not sure I can explain it to you.

In the cabinet underneath the sink, there's a pipe (hopefully PVC) that leads from the bottom of the disposal that takes the broken down food and water to the sewer (septic field). It will have a collar that tightens and seals the pipe to the disposal exit. You need to put a bucket below that pipe, then unscrew the collar which will release the pipe, and all the scraps and water that are in the sinks/dishwasher will come gushing out (hence the bucket.) If you're lucky, and in my experience you will be about 90% of the time, the plug will be in that section or just past it, and a screwdriver or a coat hanger will be enough to break up the clog. If so, reattach the pipe and run water through the drain for a minute or two. Check for leaks under the sink.

Most of the time this will solve the problem, but if not it is time to call a plumber. A handyman with a drain snake will be cheaper, it really isn't something that requires a plumber in most cases.
Here is a video that shows how to unclog a sink drain, although it is a bathroom sink. The steps are essentially the same and it will help you out. Ignore the part at the end about the drain plunger, a kitchen sink doesn't have that.
#13
Old 08-14-2011, 12:39 AM
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I have had some luck plunging both sides at the same time.
#14
Old 08-14-2011, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamar Mundane View Post
Here is a video that shows how to unclog a sink drain, although it is a bathroom sink. The steps are essentially the same and it will help you out. Ignore the part at the end about the drain plunger, a kitchen sink doesn't have that.
Depending on the lay out of the piping under the sink you may not have to remove the disposal. Start by locating the "P" trap and remove it. If it is clear check to see if the drain from the sink to the trap is clear. If it is the inspect down stream. Remember when you remove the trap you will need to catch the water. I would expect the plug to be at one of the fittings, that is 90 degree elbows or "T".
#15
Old 08-14-2011, 12:36 PM
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Okay, this might come across as somewhat complicated but it isn't.

Under your sink...where the dishwasher hose connects to the garbage disposal is a rubber fitting. Use a pair of vice grips or another human being with a pair of pliers to crimp the rubber fitting.

Then fill both sinks about half-way.

Then force a sink stopper or another plunger into one of the sinks...and plunge the hell out of the other.

I can tell you this....after awhile it'll become clear that the plunging seems either easy or very difficult. By that I mean either the water (and plunger) will tend to bounce around or just be difficult to move.

If the former, the waters probably bouncing up a stack (vent) and you'll need to snake the drain.... OR keep plunging

(I cleaned drains for about 15 years and got so good at it that I once unclogged a drain with an empty pepsi bottle)
#16
Old 08-14-2011, 12:46 PM
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Remove the p trap as that is likely where it's all plugged. Everything you keep moving water back and forth from is connected together before your p trap.
#17
Old 08-14-2011, 02:27 PM
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plunging may be difficult to get results because you have four locations where the pressure can go and you want to have only one.

your blockage seems to be after the drains of the sinks combine. with a pail or pan underneath remove the P trap remove it (large pliers or wrench). the blockage may be in the trap.

onions are stringy and can easily clog drains. a small composting pile or container could be used for much vegetable residue.

chemicals is a last resort in clearing plumbing, bleach won't do anything to clear plumbing, though bleach is a hazard to clothes and eyeballs.
#18
Old 08-14-2011, 04:55 PM
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Yep, just crawl under the sink, put a pan down to catch the water, remove the trap, clean out the crud and screw everything back together.

Because you put bleach in there (???), you'll need to use PVC gloves and maybe even safety glasses.

Plunging will just make a mess of everything and send bleach splashing all over.
#19
Old 08-14-2011, 08:13 PM
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So, phouka, how did it go?
#20
Old 08-14-2011, 08:44 PM
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Good heavens just get under the sink and take the drains apart til you find the wad of onion (a notorious drain clogger) All the fittings should be hand tight. All you need is a bucket and your hands. Taking apart and clearing the drains is so easy I taught my kid to do it when he was about 8.
#21
Old 08-14-2011, 11:13 PM
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Oy vey ist mier. This problem has taken on EPIC FAIL proportions.

First, I know bleach doesn't help take out clogs. I poured the bleach in after it occurred to me that I was using a plunger previously used on a shit-clogged toilet. Call me squeamish, but I knew I'd be reaching my hands in afterward and really didn't want to be exposed to the equivalent of raw sewage.

So, I was considering the above instructions and thinking about a run to Home Depot to buy a snake. It's about time we owned one, considering how often plumbing problems crop up. Then, my dad came out of his bedroom to find out what was going on.

Dad is 83, pretty much deaf, and has some really interesting, inflexible ideas about gender roles and his relatives. Things like "daughters are psychologically incapable of understanding plumbing". I explained the problem to him ("Well, Dad, I think there's a block downstream of the sink, because [description], [detail], [explanation]").

Dad spent the next 20 minutes explaining to me all the stuff I already knew, including: the two sink drains are connected, the dishwasher drains into the same pipe upstream of them, one needs to run the disposal anytime one puts any solids down the sink, and the lever thingie works the faucet.

He spent the next 30 minutes doing all the troubleshooting I'd already performed, even after I explained that I had run the disposal, cleared the disposal, reset the disposal, plunged both drains (with the plug in the opposite drain), and that water would exit the anti-siphon valve (thanks, Joey P) but the dishwasher did not appear to have any clogs.

Then, he declared that there was probably a clog between the sinks. While I was explaining that this was not so, because the water level in both sinks would equalize when they were left alone, he went and got a Zip-It - an inexpensive plastic tool for clearing bathroom drains. I gave up when he got it stuck in the non-garbage disposal sink.

Now, I'd informed my mom of the situation, and when she got home, just as Dad was ready to disassemble the P joint and really get into the swing of things, she asked him to wait until the morning. We might just hear from Bro-in-Law the Mighty.

By morning, the sinks had drained, proving the clog was not completely impermeable. Bro-in-Law the Mighty showed up, and I esca- *ahem* decided to make room by taking the dog to the dog park. I also asked Bro-in-Law what he drank, as I planned to pick him up a six pack as a thank you. Turns out, B-i-L was slightly hung over from the previous night, which was why he hadn't returned the message or text and not favor of any alcohol at the moment.

By the time I got back, B-i-L had disassembled the underside of the sink, snaked it all the way back to where the pipe met the wall, and was having a dickens of a time getting the snake to go down the drain pipe and not up the vent pipe. After a while of this, he yelled "uncle" and told us it was time for a plumber.

So, I've had to cancel the carpet cleaners expected tomorrow (figuring they would need access to the sink), Dad is complaining about coffee made with bathroom tap water, and Mom refuses to call a plumber until a weekday, so we all ate dinner out.

I'm afraid to touch anything for fear I'll destroy it, for I am clearly cursed with powers of accelerated entropy.
#22
Old 08-15-2011, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka View Post
Oy vey ist mier. This problem has taken on EPIC FAIL proportions.

First, I know bleach doesn't help take out clogs. I poured the bleach in after it occurred to me that I was using a plunger previously used on a shit-clogged toilet. Call me squeamish, but I knew I'd be reaching my hands in afterward and really didn't want to be exposed to the equivalent of raw sewage.

So, I was considering the above instructions and thinking about a run to Home Depot to buy a snake. It's about time we owned one, considering how often plumbing problems crop up. Then, my dad came out of his bedroom to find out what was going on.

Dad is 83, pretty much deaf, and has some really interesting, inflexible ideas about gender roles and his relatives. Things like "daughters are psychologically incapable of understanding plumbing". I explained the problem to him ("Well, Dad, I think there's a block downstream of the sink, because [description], [detail], [explanation]").

Dad spent the next 20 minutes explaining to me all the stuff I already knew, including: the two sink drains are connected, the dishwasher drains into the same pipe upstream of them, one needs to run the disposal anytime one puts any solids down the sink, and the lever thingie works the faucet.

He spent the next 30 minutes doing all the troubleshooting I'd already performed, even after I explained that I had run the disposal, cleared the disposal, reset the disposal, plunged both drains (with the plug in the opposite drain), and that water would exit the anti-siphon valve (thanks, Joey P) but the dishwasher did not appear to have any clogs.

Then, he declared that there was probably a clog between the sinks. While I was explaining that this was not so, because the water level in both sinks would equalize when they were left alone, he went and got a Zip-It - an inexpensive plastic tool for clearing bathroom drains. I gave up when he got it stuck in the non-garbage disposal sink.

Now, I'd informed my mom of the situation, and when she got home, just as Dad was ready to disassemble the P joint and really get into the swing of things, she asked him to wait until the morning. We might just hear from Bro-in-Law the Mighty.

By morning, the sinks had drained, proving the clog was not completely impermeable. Bro-in-Law the Mighty showed up, and I esca- *ahem* decided to make room by taking the dog to the dog park. I also asked Bro-in-Law what he drank, as I planned to pick him up a six pack as a thank you. Turns out, B-i-L was slightly hung over from the previous night, which was why he hadn't returned the message or text and not favor of any alcohol at the moment.

By the time I got back, B-i-L had disassembled the underside of the sink, snaked it all the way back to where the pipe met the wall, and was having a dickens of a time getting the snake to go down the drain pipe and not up the vent pipe. After a while of this, he yelled "uncle" and told us it was time for a plumber.

So, I've had to cancel the carpet cleaners expected tomorrow (figuring they would need access to the sink), Dad is complaining about coffee made with bathroom tap water, and Mom refuses to call a plumber until a weekday, so we all ate dinner out.

I'm afraid to touch anything for fear I'll destroy it, for I am clearly cursed with powers of accelerated entropy.
In other words what I call "Tuesday" when my dad comes for an extended visit. Wow, I really feel your pain. Love my dad, but he is opionated and no matter the subject his universal rule is "You're doing it wrong". Good luck to you!
#23
Old 08-15-2011, 06:41 PM
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It's the week, now, phouka. Did you get a plumber in?
#24
Old 08-16-2011, 12:43 AM
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Yep. He was here for about three hours.

Verdict: atherosclerosis of the plumbing. There was a grease clog downstream of the sinks. Took him a while to clear it.

So, from now on, every Monday night, we will pour a little degreaser down the drain, run enough water to push it through the P trap, and let it work its magic.

I am so very, very glad it's over.
#25
Old 08-16-2011, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Train Song View Post
Okay, this might come across as somewhat complicated but it isn't.

Under your sink...where the dishwasher hose connects to the garbage disposal is a rubber fitting. Use a pair of vice grips or another human being with a pair of pliers to crimp the rubber fitting.

Then fill both sinks about half-way.

Then force a sink stopper or another plunger into one of the sinks...and plunge the hell out of the other.
This is generally what I do, though I don't crimp the rubber fitting, I remove it from the disposal, and replace it with one that has the opposite end blocked.

Yes, I actually built a "garbage disposal rubber stopper for plunging" device
Yes, I've had to do this many times
Yes, sometimes I want to throttle someone who threw a bunch of inappropriate stuff in the disposal
Yes, sometimes that person is me
#26
Old 08-16-2011, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka View Post
Yep. He was here for about three hours.

Verdict: atherosclerosis of the plumbing. There was a grease clog downstream of the sinks. Took him a while to clear it.

So, from now on, every Monday night, we will pour a little degreaser down the drain, run enough water to push it through the P trap, and let it work its magic.

I am so very, very glad it's over.
Plugged Pipes Rules

  1. If it ain't leaking or overflowing, take a breather and slow down.
  2. Never pour any chemical down the drain unless you are absolutely sure of the problem and the properties of the chemical you plan to use.
  3. If completely flabbergasted, call a plumber.
  4. Learn what to dispose of in the garbage disposal and what not to dispose to avoid Rules #1 through #3.
#27
Old 08-17-2011, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by automagic View Post
It has happened to me too. What I did was get the nerve to stick my hand in the dirty water and take a rag and stuff it in one of the drains and hold it there while the other hand did the plunging in the other sink. This will force the pressure down and hopefully solve your problems.

If not hopefully you have a friend with a snake.
Yep - I've had this happen a couple of times. I don't use a rag, I use the sink drain cover in the non-disposal side, and plunge the other side. It takes a few minutes sometimes. I think the plug is downstream of the sinks, actually.
#28
Old 08-24-2011, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka View Post
Yep. He was here for about three hours.

Verdict: atherosclerosis of the plumbing. There was a grease clog downstream of the sinks. Took him a while to clear it.

So, from now on, every Monday night, we will pour a little degreaser down the drain, run enough water to push it through the P trap, and let it work its magic.

I am so very, very glad it's over.
Every try a cup of baking soda rinsed down with a cup of distilled white vinegar? Seems to work and it's fun.
#29
Old 08-24-2011, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka View Post
Yep. He was here for about three hours.

Verdict: atherosclerosis of the plumbing. There was a grease clog downstream of the sinks. Took him a while to clear it.

So, from now on, every Monday night, we will pour a little degreaser down the drain, run enough water to push it through the P trap, and let it work its magic.

I am so very, very glad it's over.
Three hours?! How much did he charge you?

FWIW, you should never pour grease down the drain. Instead, pour it into an empty 1 gallon container (after it's cooled, of course), when it gets full you can take it to almost any restaurant and they'll gladly empty it into their grease storage pit.
(Most, if not all restaurants, get paid for their used grease these days. You might want to ask first, though.)
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