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Old 04-19-2008, 07:20 PM
 
Location: When things get hot they expand. Im not fat. Im hot.
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Ive been working on Moms house so much I think mine is getting jealous. My kitchen sink was slow then it stopped up. I did the drain stuff . It was useless. I ignored it till I couldnt stand it so now Im workin on it. I been shoving a snake down its gullet off and on all day and now Ive got it back to slow. What I cant figure out is why its still slow. Ive managed to shove the whole snake down it. So why is it STILL slow.

Maybe I not doing something right. I took the drain loose past the elbows so I could get to the straight part right before it goes into the floor. Elbows are clear BTW. I followed the pipe thru the floor and into the cellar. It goes straight down into a big black iron pipe with a clean out plug. I tried some but that plug has been there snce before we bought the house 30+ years ago. I didnt want to get too crazy.. Im figuring it will be expensive If I break it. LIke I could. From the amount of snake Im shoving down there Im figuring I have to be into the black pipe.

My question i do I need to call a plumber or do I just need a longer snake. Anything else I can pour down there that wont hurt my septic system .

Last edited by Cecilia_Rose; 04-19-2008 at 07:45 PM..
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:52 PM
 
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Okay, you managed to shove the snake through whatever was clogging your pipe and now you've made a little hole in the dam.

Time to start twirling the snake so that it gyrates in a circular motion within the pipe to enlarge the hole in your clog.
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Just 1 drain slow?
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:27 PM
 
Location: When things get hot they expand. Im not fat. Im hot.
2,507 posts, read 6,316,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornerguy1 View Post
Okay, you managed to shove the snake through whatever was clogging your pipe and now you've made a little hole in the dam.

Time to start twirling the snake so that it gyrates in a circular motion within the pipe to enlarge the hole in your clog.

Ive tried twirling the snake. Ive also pulled it out and shoved it back in about 30 times. In between I run REALLY hot water and let it drain while snaking it.

Youre right theres probably a clog from Hell down there. Ive probably just made it mad by putting a hole in it. I think I need a bigger snake.


Quote:
Originally Posted by studedude View Post
Just 1 drain slow?
The upstairs works okay and the washer is downstairs and it drains okay. The downstairs bath sink has always been slow but it drains.



If I could just get the stupid cleanout plug loose. Its Hell getting old. Oh who am I kidding. Its really stuck. I probably couldnt have got it loose even on a good day. Id like to hit it with my little sledge hammer. But I know better.


.
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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Default Grease ........ Oh, No not that again

Ok, we got a kitchen sink that will not cooperate.

First suspicion is always grease. It will plate out in spots in the drain. Nothing really seems to work in some cases. If it is really bad, when you punch a hole in it with a snake it sort of reseals itself after you run water thru it. Acts a bit like a Dole Valve. Bit like a self sealing fuel tank.

Dole flow control valves are metering valves to control allowing only a specified amount of water per minute through the valve.

Hot water does not remelt it like many folks claim. I've had many battles with kitchen sinks and grease. Lots of drain cleaners never work like you expect them too.

Duh rip the pipes apart and you find that lovely grease. It doesn't go as far as you might suspect. Had one too many cases where that was the case. In some it had changed to like a concrete shell with just a small hole in the middle.

If that clean out is in cast iron, a good way to free it is just heat it with a torch. Play the flame over it a bit, don't heat one spot. Usually that gets it unstruck and it turns pretty easy.

Even Roto-Rooter can have trouble with grease and all its forms. They have that rotating claw that supposed to cut everything in the pipe loose but I seen it remorph and appear at another spot a bit after the fellow is gone.

You never know for sure what is in a drain. But grease, bits of string, hair, GOK's. If you got a garbage disposal all bets are off. Somehow I suspect the old enemy grease is involved.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:54 AM
 
Location: When things get hot they expand. Im not fat. Im hot.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Ok, we got a kitchen sink that will not cooperate.

First suspicion is always grease. It will plate out in spots in the drain. Nothing really seems to work in some cases. If it is really bad, when you punch a hole in it with a snake it sort of reseals itself after you run water thru it. Acts a bit like a Dole Valve. Bit like a self sealing fuel tank.

Dole flow control valves are metering valves to control allowing only a specified amount of water per minute through the valve.

Hot water does not remelt it like many folks claim. I've had many battles with kitchen sinks and grease. Lots of drain cleaners never work like you expect them too.

Duh rip the pipes apart and you find that lovely grease. It doesn't go as far as you might suspect. Had one too many cases where that was the case. In some it had changed to like a concrete shell with just a small hole in the middle.

If that clean out is in cast iron, a good way to free it is just heat it with a torch. Play the flame over it a bit, don't heat one spot. Usually that gets it unstruck and it turns pretty easy.

Even Roto-Rooter can have trouble with grease and all its forms. They have that rotating claw that supposed to cut everything in the pipe loose but I seen it remorph and appear at another spot a bit after the fellow is gone.

You never know for sure what is in a drain. But grease, bits of string, hair, GOK's. If you got a garbage disposal all bets are off. Somehow I suspect the old enemy grease is involved.

No gargage disposal. I have a septic tank. I didnt know aout it rresealing. That explains why it still doesnt work even after I snake it and its clear. Theres probably 30 years of grease down there..

The pipe Im snaking is galvanized? anyway its metal. Im comfortable messing with the plastic. But I leave the copper and the metal alone. I dont think I want to take a torch to the plug either. I have a rule. Do no permanent harm. Just out of curiouslity. How much WILL it cost if I break the pipe with the clean out plug.

I was hoping against hope maybe I just wasnt doing something right. I dont have $$ to work on Mom's house and mine right now so it will just have to be slow. I think Ill go tomorrow and get a bigger snake so I can punch a bigger hole thru. Do they make them in Ananconda size.

Its just me here right now and its not like I wash a ton of dishes. And I do have other sinks. So I think Ill just keep plugging at it when I have time. Thanks guys for all your help. I really appreciate it.
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Old 04-20-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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Default Yep, can get interesting......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecilia_Rose View Post
No gargage disposal. I have a septic tank. I didnt know aout it rresealing. That explains why it still doesnt work even after I snake it and its clear. Theres probably 30 years of grease down there..

The pipe Im snaking is galvanized? anyway its metal. Im comfortable messing with the plastic. But I leave the copper and the metal alone. I dont think I want to take a torch to the plug either. I have a rule. Do no permanent harm. Just out of curiouslity. How much WILL it cost if I break the pipe with the clean out plug.

I was hoping against hope maybe I just wasnt doing something right. I dont have $$ to work on Mom's house and mine right now so it will just have to be slow. I think Ill go tomorrow and get a bigger snake so I can punch a bigger hole thru. Do they make them in Ananconda size.

Its just me here right now and its not like I wash a ton of dishes. And I do have other sinks. So I think Ill just keep plugging at it when I have time. Thanks guys for all your help. I really appreciate it.
Couple of things come to mind.

This does sound like one of the serious ones. You can usually disassemble the galvanized smaller steel type drains in a reverse method that they were put in. Start under the sink, remove the trap, then work your way back down the drain line unscrewing it a piece at a time. The better ones might have had unions installed to allow a quick tear down. If it was leaded cast iron, usually you just cut it out. They do make a repair type rubber connecting boot that allows making a splice piece in an old cast system with newer PVC. Works pretty good. With the smaller stuff, if you need a replacement piece of steel pipe, you do not need all the taps and dies, just take to the local hardware store, most can make you a replacement to exact specs.

You really don't have to worry much about applying heat to the clean out plugs. Your typical propane torch is underpowered for that job and typically you use most of one of the small tanks. Can take a bit of time to get it up to temperature but it is the best way to free up an old clean-out in cast iron. Just move the flame around and try to heat things up evenly over the plug and around the cast pipe.

If the drains are really messed up, the best thing is replace all of it. Once you have done so much snaking, chemicals, all the tricks, only way to know what is really going on, unless you have one of the borescope type critters and can actually go see down in the pipes. Helps to know the history. Had that in the old house I just recently redid. Hoped the drains would be Ok. Cast iron looked pretty new. Kitchen drain took forever, bath would not drain at all, vents all messed up or missing.

Started to investigate the problems, snake was useless. Tried to pressurize the drains and blow out a plug, tried all the tricks, nothing worked. It was telling me, this puppy is really plugged up. Finally started to cut it out. Wound up totally redesigning the runs, new everything like a new house. Sometimes that is the best solution.

Found massive amounts of grease in the vertical sections of the main drains below the kitchen connection. It sort of looks a bit like potting soil, some it can be very hard and packed. Hanging in large sections about like beewax in a bee hive. Very little clearance inside the main pipe, section of pipe like 10 feet worth. No saving nothing; it all came out. Found an old huge snake that they had tried to use by removing the basement toilet and coming in that way. Either got caught or broke and they abandoned it in place. Might have been one reason the former old guy sold the place. Talking something like a house built in 1923. They must have had fun, apparently even replaced the line from the house to the septic tank trying to find the reason things would not drain.

House across the street from me, sold new guy had similar problems but apparently tried to patch it over. Probably come back to bite him over and over again.

There is one sort of common problem in a number of the situation, you find it over and over again. Those sinks and smaller usage use a 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" drain line initially. You drop vertically (x) number of feet which is kinda alright, but then you are only allowed to go horizonal so many diameters, works out to be like 4 feet max in many cases. The old timers ran those small diameter pipes many, many feet.

The more modern thinking is come down vertically and before turning into the horizontal or just afterwards, increase to at least 2". The drainability of such a system goes up like 16 times with just that small increase in pipe size. Forget what is allowed in the horizontal, increase immediately, solves a lot of problems. Is the solution to backfitting a lot of old problem houses. You can even get a bathtub to drain like Niagra Falls if you do it right.

So even if you finally go in and cut things out, you do not want to replace as an exact duplicate of what was there in many cases. Some of it is the codes, some is the theory of why it works, some is the experience of what works, some is a bit of common sense. It is not that expensive to correct if you are just buying parts.

One thing that does work fairly good if you get to the Roto-Rooter guy, is once he does his thing with the better cutting type claw and makes a couple of passes, you have all the bathtubs, sinks and whatever full of water and then turn on all the faucets full blast and create the next Great Flood while he makes a few more passes. Hopefully that can flush all the nasty stuff out before it can cause a new plug somewhere else. Sometimes works, sometimes it don't on the really bad ones.

Might help to see a few pixs of some of the problem areas. Helpful to see the exact critter being considered at the moment.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:35 PM
 
Location: When things get hot they expand. Im not fat. Im hot.
2,507 posts, read 6,316,836 times
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Cosmic it sounds like youve been thru it with your plumbing. I have an old house too. 1850. It used to be a nursing home in the 1950's so I assume thats when most of the pumbing was done. Right now Im just gonna live with it.

If I get brave I might try the torch on the cleanout plug. Or maybe Ill just call a plumber. Plan B is to replace the rest of the galvanized pipe. I already replaced the trap and elbows etc with new plastic. All thats left is the stright part that goes into the floor. It has a rubber splice thingie now where the plastic goes into the galvanized. I took it loose. Thats where Im snakin from.

From my snake point it goes straight down thru the floor and down into the side of the big black cast iron pipe. Like an upside down "T". Im thinking I could cut the galvanized off down in the cellar above the black pipe and replace it with plastic. Then I could use the rubber splice. If I do this I plan on putting some kind of a removeable clean out on the plastic.


Im with you on just replacing it all. Thats what I will do once the dust settles around here. Right now I have other fish to fry. My Mom passed away in March and I have to get her house ready to sell. I call it hers since she lived there but its really mine. Anyway since shes not helping pay the mortgage and utilities I cant afford to keep it. While she was sick the house self destructed. Im trying to put it back together so I can sell it. My novel's on another thread.

Thanks for the tip about flushing the pipes if I have to call in Roto Rooter.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:20 AM
 
Location: When things get hot they expand. Im not fat. Im hot.
2,507 posts, read 6,316,836 times
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. I got a bigger snake.

Cosmic you were so right about the build up. I get it clear then I run hot water and it plugs again. I figure eventually it will have to give it up. Its taking longer to stop up now. The bigger snake is definitly helping.

I have another question. I found my torch. Do you think it would hurt if I heated the galvanized pipe. I think I know where the crud plug is. Maybe melt the gunk inside it? Im figuring I might have to replace it anyway so if I break it........


And thanks ever so much for your patience with this amateur.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:50 AM
 
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"Do you think it would hurt if I heated the galvanized pipe."

Be vewy careful to not overheat galvanized pipe with a torch playing directly on it. Zinc fumes are poisonous. If you use a diffuser and keep the torch moving, you'll probably be fine. You'll know by the smell if the zinc is beginning to be a problem.

BTW, Cosmic is giving you great advice.
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