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#1
Old 01-17-2014, 04:59 PM
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Well the first bottle of Drano didn't work. Now what?

My bathroom sink is clogged. I don't know why. It clogs a lot, actually, but it usually goes away with some Draino. But this time, no luck.

The bottle I used was this stuff:
http://amazon.com/Liquid-PLUMR-H...ords=hair+clog

Oh, actually, I see it was Liquid Plumber. Either way - useless.

I also have a bottle here with this stuff - Liquid Plumbr Full Clog Destroyer.

http://amazon.com/Liquid-Plumr-0...9995727&sr=1-1

If I add it to the standing water and chemicals from the last bottle, will it explode in a fountain of flaming bubbles? Is there something else I should try? So aggravating. Sigh.
#2
Old 01-17-2014, 05:03 PM
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Can you take the trap apart? Then you could go at it with a "snake", a coiled up twisted wire with a crank on one end.
#3
Old 01-17-2014, 05:03 PM
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Have you tried removing the cap on the drain to see what falls out? Fairly simple to do.
#4
Old 01-17-2014, 05:20 PM
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I would always recommend trying some mechanical means of clearing the clog before messing with chemicals. In addition to snakes you can also purchase for a few bucks a long, flexible plastic thing with barbs that will snag hair and other gross junk and pull it out.
#5
Old 01-17-2014, 05:24 PM
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A word of warning -- you now have concentrated lye (or something similar) in your sink and pipes. That means you should wear gloves and eye protection from now on while dealing with this clog, as even a splash in the eye could be serious business. (This is also why most plumbers don't recommend using this kind of clot buster.)

My first inclination would be to give it more time to work. If that doesn't happen, then you'll have to go with the snake or disassembling the drain. Again, gloves and eye protection. Plungers can also work, but they make splashes, and you don't want concentrated lye solution everywhere.
#6
Old 01-17-2014, 05:27 PM
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What's wrong with me? When I read the thread title I thought it was a suicide reference...

I had a plugged sink like that and the plumber had to come out and snake it.
#7
Old 01-17-2014, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finagle View Post
A word of warning -- you now have concentrated lye (or something similar) in your sink and pipes. That means you should wear gloves and eye protection from now on while dealing with this clog, as even a splash in the eye could be serious business. (This is also why most plumbers don't recommend using this kind of clot buster.)

My first inclination would be to give it more time to work. If that doesn't happen, then you'll have to go with the snake or disassembling the drain. Again, gloves and eye protection. Plungers can also work, but they make splashes, and you don't want concentrated lye solution everywhere.
Thanks for the suggestions, and the safety notes.

I'm reluctant to disassemble things right now because the sink is full of water (and Liquid Plumber). But if I get one of these snakes, I should be able to use that any way, right?

Is the drain cap the plug thing that goes up and down? (Sorry. We are outside my wheelhouse here, but I'm willing to learn.)
#8
Old 01-17-2014, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertmonk View Post
What's wrong with me? When I read the thread title I thought it was a suicide reference...

I had a plugged sink like that and the plumber had to come out and snake it.
Well, I see how you made that connection. Drinking Drano?

But I knew what this thread was about.
#9
Old 01-17-2014, 06:21 PM
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Did you try a plunger? Plug up the overflow drain with a rag and plunge away. Might do the trick.
#10
Old 01-17-2014, 06:26 PM
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Unclogging a sink is ridiculously easy. Put a bucket under the p-trap, then remove the p-trap. Knock the clog into the garbage and replace the p-trap. Done.
#11
Old 01-17-2014, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merneith View Post

Is the drain cap the plug thing that goes up and down?
I think he is referring to the clean out. Looks like a bolt on the bottom of the trap, the J or S shape pipe beneath the sink. Newer or inexpensive traps no loner have them
#12
Old 01-17-2014, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merneith View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, and the safety notes.

I'm reluctant to disassemble things right now because the sink is full of water (and Liquid Plumber). But if I get one of these snakes, I should be able to use that any way, right?
Yes, you can use a snake right away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
I think he is referring to the clean out. Looks like a bolt on the bottom of the trap, the J or S shape pipe beneath the sink. Newer or inexpensive traps no loner have them
If you decide to remove the J trap in the above linked picture, all you need is a wrench/pliers & a bucket (& gloves/goggles). If you can remove some of the water from the sink (bailing it out before you start), there will be less to go into the bucket; otherwise, you might want to have two buckets on hand...& some paper towels.
#13
Old 01-17-2014, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
Did you try a plunger? Plug up the overflow drain with a rag and plunge away. Might do the trick.
This is what I do when my sink gets clogged. But as others have mentioned, be very careful if you decide to do this now with the liquid plumber stuff. It's liable to splash everywhere.
#14
Old 01-17-2014, 09:09 PM
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These things have worked well for me in the past for clogs....I have long hair and I shed a lot. These are awesome for clearing those kinds of clogs. They are super cheap at home depot. http://zipitclean.com/

Definitely be careful with the sink full of water and draino though.
#15
Old 01-17-2014, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamarin View Post
These things have worked well for me in the past for clogs....I have long hair and I shed a lot. These are awesome for clearing those kinds of clogs. They are super cheap at home depot. http://zipitclean.com/

Definitely be careful with the sink full of water and draino though.
Cool.

No more from the OP...is he crawling about on the bathroom floor, blinded and acid burned?
#16
Old 01-17-2014, 11:07 PM
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Unless the entire drain assembly in the house is PVC there is a serious risk of destroying an iron pipe with acid. This happened in my house. The sink drained into a larger pipe that went to the vertical stack. Unfortunately the house had settled and the pipe no longer had a slope. The acid ate a 2" x 8" hole dumping all my shower water into the floor below.

Plunging is the quickest way to move a clog around but that doesn't always work. In my case there was a vent between the sink drain and the clog. All I did was move water up and down the vent.

My suggestion is to put a bucket under the sink trap and remove the drain stop lever from below. This will allow you to pull the drain stop up and out. this gives you better access to the drain and may be the source of the clog. You can then use one of the little plastic drain snakes they sell at stores. Use gloves and eye shields to protect you from acid and have a clean water source nearby to wash anything that splashes on you.
#17
Old 01-17-2014, 11:17 PM
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Even I sometimes give up and call a plumber.

A plumber talked to my High School speech class. Why? The hell do I know, it was Catholic High.
"What do you need to know to be a plumber? How to make the shit run downhill."
"I LOVE it when you use draino!"
#18
Old 01-18-2014, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Unless the entire drain assembly in the house is PVC there is a serious risk of destroying an iron pipe with acid. This happened in my house. The sink drained into a larger pipe that went to the vertical stack. Unfortunately the house had settled and the pipe no longer had a slope. The acid ate a 2" x 8" hole dumping all my shower water into the floor below.
No. The active ingredient in Drano and Liquid Plumber is sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye. It is a base.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 01-18-2014 at 08:04 AM.
#19
Old 01-18-2014, 10:09 AM
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There are, or have been, sulfuric acid based drain cleaners on the market.
#20
Old 01-18-2014, 10:46 AM
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Soap is very basic, too. I'd think to go after wads of soapy hair, an acid would work better.
#21
Old 01-18-2014, 10:47 AM
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Well, the chemicals are already in. Rubber gloves, clothes that are protective (& that you'll throw away after), a bucket & a pipe wrench. Follow Labrador Deceiver's instructions & you are set.
Also, we know that you are frustrated, but please don't take it out on your pipes. Gentle Touch will do. Remember that they didn't cause the clog: YOU did.

Or, if you are really lazy...

SPOILER:
... you could remember that energy speeds up the reaction of many catalysts and that by making sure the standing water is boiling hot, you'll make sure that the toxic waste soup of chemicals sitting in your sink are 'all that they can be'.
You might want to wear heavy shoes though, because when the pipes burn through, your bare feet might dissolve. And no one wants to call you 'Stumpy'.
#22
Old 01-18-2014, 11:00 AM
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Well, you do get to change your name once around here.
#23
Old 01-18-2014, 11:13 AM
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I'm still reading and tapping my foot about this. I've been beset by relations all day and haven't been able to work on it. I picked up a little yellow pipecleaner sort of thing that I haven't had a moment to try out. No movement at all in the sink situation except that the fumes are getting to my head (or that be my mother.)

Tamarin, I looked at those Zip It cleaners but wasn't sure if they would be sturdy enough. Maybe I'll get one anyway just for kicks.
#24
Old 01-18-2014, 11:40 AM
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One of Drano's products actually comes packaged with a little snake. I've taken that as an admission on their part that their product doesn't really do much of anything, and frankly that's consistent with my experience.
#25
Old 01-18-2014, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merneith View Post
I'm still reading and tapping my foot about this. I've been beset by relations all day and haven't been able to work on it.
That's a good thing. You do have to wait until all the Drano seeps through the clog.

Keep adding a couple of cups of very hot water whenever it drain down (not from the tap - that won't be hot enough.) You can also poke at it - gently - with a unwound wire coat-hanger. You should use a plunger first the next time it clogs.

You might want to try flushing some baking soda down it with distilled white vinegar every week, or month, to keep it clean. The bubbling seems to break up the soapy build up.
#26
Old 01-18-2014, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
There are, or have been, sulfuric acid based drain cleaners on the market.
Yes, there are (Liquid Fire is the one you can sometimes find). However, the OP didn't use one, nor has anyone suggested it so far. I didn't want the OP to think he has dumped acid down his drain.
#27
Old 01-18-2014, 04:06 PM
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I had a plumber get his snake caught in my pipe. He must have spent ten minutes yanking on it. It finally came out with the cap from a tube of toothpaste. Something left behind by a previous homeowner.
#28
Old 01-18-2014, 04:31 PM
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yeah safety is a big issue.

a drop of that chemical in your eye would be serious damage.

you need to assume any liquid you now come in contact with with have some of the corrosive chemical in it. you and anyone nearby should have full eye goggles on (the kind you wore [or should have] in chemistry lab in school). gloves are good.

if you get some on you then a dunk in the toilet would help. tub or shower could also be used.

you can run a snake carefully and slowly into it. you want to absolutely not splash it around. the snake as it is withdrawn will have the chemical on it. you will want to rinse the snake after use using the same safety precautions.
#29
Old 01-18-2014, 04:37 PM
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Be careful doing this if you already have drain cleaner in, but using a shop vac has always worked quite well for me, for both the sink and the shower drains.

Just plug up the overflow with a plastic bag, put the hose in the drain, (you may need to put a bag around the nozzle if it is smaller than your drain, but you can also get cone shaped nozzles that will fit any size) and switch on. You should probably also make sure the shop vac is made for water use, but most are I believe.

Be a bit careful with this, as you will be drawing sewer gases into the vacuum once the drain has cleared, so you probably want to have ventilation going, not really that dangerous, as long as you don't keep the vacuum on for a long time, but it stinks quite nicely.

If you don't have one, I recommend getting one for all sorts of utility purposes including drain cleaning.
#30
Old 01-20-2014, 12:04 PM
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Well, it's turned into a job for the Pros - and the Pros are not optimistic.

I tried the little home-user snake that I bought. The problem was that it was too short. Even reaching a couple feet down, I could tell that the obstruction was way downstream. So rather than just buy longer snakes, I called in a plumber. He put his snake down as far as he could - and he still couldn't reach the obstruction.

The main problem is that this house is an antique. The pipes snake around in all direction. There could well be a toothpaste cap down there, but he can't reach it. So he put in some industrial version of draino and said he'd check back tomorrow. If there's still no movement, (and there isn't, that I can see), that means we need to open up the ceiling in the dining room and try to trace the pipes from there. I guess if that fails, there's always arson.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I do appreciate it. And you know, I do have a shop vac ... I haven't tried that yet but I'll mention to the plumber.
#31
Old 01-20-2014, 12:45 PM
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Once upon a time, we had a toilet that wouldn't flush properly. We ran a snake down it with no effect. Mind you, it wasn't totally clogged, just slow.

Ultimately a plumber had to pull the toilet. We found a metal canning-jar lid - the flat circular part that covers the top of the jar inside a detachable ring - sitting just inside the floor drain. It acted just like a flap valve - the snake just tipped it out of the way, after which it would settle right back into place.

The plumber said it was the single most unusual case he had ever seen.
#32
Old 01-20-2014, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertmonk View Post
What's wrong with me? When I read the thread title I thought it was a suicide reference...
...
I had the same thought. I think it's because drain cleaner always makes me think about that poor guy who tried to kill himself with drain cleaner and survived without an esophagus.
#33
Old 01-20-2014, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merneith View Post
Well, it's turned into a job for the Pros - and the Pros are not optimistic.

I tried the little home-user snake that I bought. The problem was that it was too short. Even reaching a couple feet down, I could tell that the obstruction was way downstream. So rather than just buy longer snakes, I called in a plumber. He put his snake down as far as he could - and he still couldn't reach the obstruction.

The main problem is that this house is an antique. The pipes snake around in all direction. There could well be a toothpaste cap down there, but he can't reach it. So he put in some industrial version of draino and said he'd check back tomorrow. If there's still no movement, (and there isn't, that I can see), that means we need to open up the ceiling in the dining room and try to trace the pipes from there. I guess if that fails, there's always arson.

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I do appreciate it. And you know, I do have a shop vac ... I haven't tried that yet but I'll mention to the plumber.
going back to my acid story..... previous to this I use to routinely take the sink apart and run a snake down it quite a distance. It had to be at the junction where all the upstairs waste entered into the down pipe. The whole design layout was poor from the start. Ended up replacing every bit of iron pipe with PVC and in the process was able to install gracefully curving bends instead of the right angle stuff originally installed. If you have an old house it's likely you're fighting this and it makes it very hard to get a snake past all the junctions because of the hard turns.

If by some horrible misfortune you find yourself replacing pipes then make sure they use long sweep fittings instead of standard fittings. When I switched over all my problems went away. A long sweep fitting versus standard fitting. It meant putting in an access panel in a closet but it was soooooooo worth not having to snake the line out multiple times a year.

Last edited by Magiver; 01-20-2014 at 02:20 PM.
#34
Old 01-20-2014, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
If you have an old house it's likely you're fighting this and it makes it very hard to get a snake past all the junctions because of the hard turns.
How do you know where the end of the snake is?
#35
Old 01-20-2014, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by carnivorousplant View Post
How do you know where the end of the snake is?
By how much was played out and the sound it made. I could the progression of it has it moved through the pipe under the floor.
#36
Old 01-20-2014, 06:47 PM
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Don't let them talk you into a texture ceiling. Use wallboard screws every four inches and accept that you will need to re-mud the seams in about four years; it's still less work that a textured ceiling.
#37
Old 01-20-2014, 07:32 PM
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don't use Drano on your textured ceiling.
#38
Old 01-20-2014, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
don't use Drano on your textured ceiling.
Doesn't work? If you know anything that will smooth out one, let us know.
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