Profile picture for grangum

Stopped up Single Drain - puzzling

Does anyone here have any ideas as to why the drain in my kitchen sink does not respond to heavy-duty cleaners or augers to fix it?  It is the ONLYdrain stopped up in the house - all others are OK.  Water eventually does go down, but very slowly.  The stacks on the roof have been checked and are OK.  There are huge trees surrounding the house - could tree roots somehow affect only that drain?  We cannot find the clean-out valve in the crawl space either. 

Time for a plumber?  Any advice welcome.

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August 28 2008 - US
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Replies (17)

Profile picture for greg1231

More than likely it is soap build up especially if you have a dish washer. Take apart the pipes under the sink and see if something is stuck below the drain. Call a plumber if you cannot do the repair.

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August 28 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

I think it is more likely hardened grease or startch (potatos, rice...).

 

As greg mentioned, pull the trap and clean it out.

You state that you already had a snake run down the kitchen sink vent pipe, thus the pipe in the wall and from the sink to the main line should be clear.  If you didn't do, this, you should.

 

The kitchen sink line is usually only 2"; sometimes only 1½", thus they clog easily, especially if you put down something you were not supposed to.

 

Remember, garbage disposals don't help at all for things that are almost liquid when washed down.  Eventually you will learn to put the grease in separate cans to trash, and wipe the startch out into the trash, not placing it in the drain.  But we all have to learn the hard way.

 

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August 28 2008
Profile picture for grangum

Thanks Greg and Pasadenan!  I never use my dishwasher (just me living here) and am careful about what I put down the disposal.  Could be a build up of many years I guess.

My grandson climbed on the roof and visually looked down the vent pipe with a flashlight and could not see any obstruction.    Do I understand correctly that you can put an auger down the vent pipe itself?  He did take the pipes/trap loose under the sink and used a 15 ft auger thru the wall and out.  The clog is obviously somewhere beyond the wall which is why he tried to locate the clean out valve most houses have.  My house built in 1988 and I am the sole owner.

 

Youe help is most appreciated!

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August 28 2008
Profile picture for gvw3
  • gvw3
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I bought some drain cleaner at home depot, not drano or the other well know products. It worked great. I think it was a muric acid base. The plumers will tell you not to use it as they could get burned if they work on these pipes right after you use it. You said it will go down only very slow. Same issue I had.

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August 28 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

If your house is 1988, you should have ABS pipes and they should be easy to clean, and they shouldn't get a lot of build up, assuming you don't poor down gease or starch.

 

Yes, you can run the snake down the vent pipe all the way to the main line; but in some cases plumbers use a sharp 90 instead of a Y in the wall, thus it may not make it around the corner; but usually it works better than trying to get through the line under the sink.

 

I assume you already checked between the sink and the trap??

 

If the snake goes all the way to the main line and you still don't have good drainage; I would suggest to use the "Drain King".  You can pick it up at any building supply store.  Though it says you can use it dirrectly from sink drains, it is not practical for double sinks or for garbage disposals, but it will work quite well in the drain line with the trap off.

 

 

You fasten a short garden hose with the furnished adapters to the sink foucet, and the other end to the "drain king".  You place the drain king into the pipe, and turn on the water.  The water expands the drain king to seal the pipe where it is inserted.  The drain king then builds up preasure, and releases fast blasts of high preasure water.

 

Ususally 3 to 5 minutes will clear most obstructions and wash the walls of the pipe clean.

 

It may not be good to use on 80 year old cast iron, but it should be fine for ABS.  I've never had any trouble with it, or any water comming out the vent pipe

 

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August 29 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

The drain king comes in about 3 or 4 different sizes, so make sure you buy the correct one, or an assortment package.

 

That and a toilet snake will probably be the best plumbing investments you make.  If I remember correctly a small drain king is only about $6.  They last about 8 years before the rubber starts to get brittle.

 

 

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August 29 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

Now regarding locating that cleanout...  every house should have at least one, and most people like to put one on the kitchen sink line, but it doesn't mean it was done.  Still, following the pipe under the house should give you a good clue.  I've seen them up against foundation walls under the house where you can't get to it --- kind of pointless.  Sometimes the can be extended through the wall to where you can use it easily.  I've also seen them barried in the yard, with just a cover.

 

If you can't find it and the drain king works for you, I wouldn't worry about it.

 

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August 29 2008
Profile picture for grangum

Thanks again, so much!

I will show this to my grandson and perhaps we can avoid a plumber after all.

Will let you know the outcome.

 

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August 29 2008
Profile picture for WoodyWW

Often a good plumber can fix a clogged drain problem very quickly, that the homeowner has been spending hours or weeks on trying to solve. Of course you have to know or find a good (& affordable!) plumber who won't charge $400-$500 for a $100-$200 job.....

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August 31 2008
Profile picture for harryhappy

It might pay to have a plumber install a clean out (its not a valve) under the sink; it's easier to get the cable into the line downstream of the trap.  Also, a plumber would likely use a 1/2 or 5/8th inch cable, a size a homeowner may not be able to get at Home Depot.

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September 01 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

Since most kitchen sinks are on an outside wall; if there is not an existing cleanout, I would probably put one in on the outside of the house rather than under the sink.  It not only gives more working space, but means you don't have strangers in the kitchen, and don't have to deal with a dirty messy snake in the kitchen.  Yes, it does mean a little cutting, patching, and touch-up paint for the exterior wall finish.

 

To me it is worth it since we can't always control what people will put into our sinks.  But for the immediate problem; drain king will probably take care of it; and why add extra work if we can procrastinate?  Still, I think the cleanout is probably there and is just not seen yet.  We are only talking about a Y fitting, a short extension, a threaded end fitting and a threaded plug!  The cost is negegable when installing, so why would one leave it out?

 

 

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September 02 2008
Profile picture for nation5mich

I had found that I had a good size piece of cast iron pipe still hooked to my system, I took it off and it was about a pencil size hole left through it, the rest was mostly rust.

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September 15 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

And if Grandgum hadn't mentioned that his house was built in 1988 (thus didn't have cast iron), I would have addressed that in my response.  But the rest is not mostly rust, it is mostly built up grease.  It could still be cleaned out, but would likely leak.  You can get by for a number of additonal years (even decades) with plumbers epoxy, cut aluminum cans, and metal pipe clamps, or by cutting out sections and connecting ABS patches with rubber couplers, but at some point you just need to pull out the cast iron and replace with ABS.  Make sure you check the slope as where you have the most rust and build up was likely a low spot.

 

 

 

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September 15 2008
Profile picture for harryhappy

Grandgum, how did this turn out?  Can you give us an update?

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October 14 2008

Well, rats, I'm dying to know what happened!!

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October 29 2008
Profile picture for grangum

Sorry I have not been back!  I've had major family problems so the sink issue took a back burner.

I do not have enough water pressure to get the Drain King thingy to work, but I tried the ultra- muric acid based type cleaner and although water goes down a little faster, it still is not right.

Grandson is coming soon to put the auger down the vent pipe since before he just used a light to see if anything was blocking it that could be seen.

 

I WILl LYK how that goes.

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October 29 2008
Profile picture for Pasadenan

If you don't have enough water pressure, perhaps you need to clean /replace the airator screen?  If your pipes are that corroded, you may have more serious problems, but I thought your piping was newer?

 

Regardless, you can run the hose from a hose-bid outside, either through the door or through a window.  Drain King does not require anything above average pressure.  I think even 20-30 psi would be sufficient.   If it expanded enough to seal to the pipe walls, it should be sufficient to clear the line.  Perhaps you didn't wait long enough or didn't turn on the water high enough?

 

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November 03 2008
 
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