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TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

Another clogged drain thread: Bathtub drain clogged

The house I recently purchased has a badly clogged bathtub drain. Water still flows through the drain, but slow enough to cause the tub to fill. Since this is in the master bathroom I'd really like to get the drain cleared before I move in 2 weeks from now.

After I blocked off the overflow drain, I've tried using a plunger (doesn't help) I've tried a drain auger (goes down about 10 feet and can't seem to get any farther than that) and I've tried a Zip-It stick (goes in about 7 inches before it hits a turn it cannot pass through). Nothing seems to work.

The downstairs closet has a drop-ceiling where I can access the plumbing for the tub. It looks like a PVC P-trap was installed in place of the original cast-iron plumbing the rest of the house uses, leading me to believe this was a problem in the past.

The only other things I can think to try are dumping boiling water down the drain, trying to suck out whatever the clog is with a shop vac (both before and after the P-trap if necessarily), or call a plumber. Since the rest of the drain pipes are cast iron, I'm hesitant to use any liquid plumber type chemicals.

Any ideas?

ame101

join:2002-05-02
Southington, CT
Photos of the pipes/layout may help. Old cast iron can be a huge pain.


Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
reply to TheSMJ
I'm guessing since it's a bathroom drain, that the problem is hair, rather than grease/gunk.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to TheSMJ
ClogHog

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI
The clog hog sounds great, but I don't own a pressure washer.


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24

2 recommendations

reply to TheSMJ
Insta-Flo is what I use, and is in fact what the plumber used. Dissolves hair in a matter of minutes. I use it on my bathroom drains whenever they get slow from hair clogs.

»insta-flo.com/

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to TheSMJ
said by TheSMJ:

The clog hog sounds great, but I don't own a pressure washer.

Now that you own a house it's time to buy one.

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

1 recommendation

reply to UHF
I picked up a bottle of the Insta-Flo, and dumped a cup of the stuff into the drain along with a kettle of boiling hot water.

And now the drain is clear! Thanks UHF!

The stuff puts on quite a show once it's mixed with hot water. It boils for quite a while.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to UHF
said by UHF:

Insta-Flo is what I use, and is in fact what the plumber used. Dissolves hair in a matter of minutes. I use it on my bathroom drains whenever they get slow from hair clogs.

»insta-flo.com/

Insta-flow is just an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide (lye). It reacts with the fats/greases to make of all things, soap. And in the process, it also breaks down proteins, which is what hair is almost made entirely of.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to TheSMJ
said by TheSMJ:

After I blocked off the overflow drain, I've tried using a plunger (doesn't help) I've tried a drain auger (goes down about 10 feet and can't seem to get any farther than that)

You hit the clog. Wrap the hair onto the head of the snake, and rotate and pull the snake out.

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI
Whatever it hit was hard, like it couldn't get past a bend in the pipe.

The clog is clear now, though.


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
reply to cdru
Yep, it is indeed lye. But it works. I think next time I'll try the cheaper jar of lye and see if it works just as well. I suspect that it will.

PrntRhd
Premium
join:2004-11-03
Fairfield, CA
Crystal Drano is lye.
Hard on pipes but cheap.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
I compared crystal drano "professional strength" and insta-flo and while the active ingredient appears to be the same, the usage instructions differ between cold water (drano) and hot water (insta-flo).

When I bought the insta-flo the cashier at the hardware store warned me not to use hot water, only warm water.

For those that recommended insta-flo and have successfully used it, what water temperature did you use ?
In case it maters, my drain is cast iron (to the best of my knowledge the entire stretch from shower drain to city sewer).
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Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

1 recommendation

I'm afraid to use lye anymore. Last time I used it it cracked the trap under my bathroom sink using warm water. The trap got so hot you couldn't touch it. No big deal in that case, but if the clog is in your walls or between floors, that's the point where the extreme heat builds up. I would guess cast iron could crack just as easily.

TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

1 recommendation

Ever use a cast iron skillet?

It would take a lot more heat than anything lye could provide to make cast iron flinch.

said by leibold:

I compared crystal drano "professional strength" and insta-flo and while the active ingredient appears to be the same, the usage instructions differ between cold water (drano) and hot water (insta-flo).

When I bought the insta-flo the cashier at the hardware store warned me not to use hot water, only warm water.

For those that recommended insta-flo and have successfully used it, what water temperature did you use ?
In case it maters, my drain is cast iron (to the best of my knowledge the entire stretch from shower drain to city sewer).

I used near-boiling hot water right out of a kettle. Don't worry about the cast iron plumbing. I doubt the pipe even got noticlbly warm to the touch since they dissipate heat so quickly.


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
Reviews:
·Mediacom
·Callcentric
·Dish Network
reply to TheSMJ
I always use hot water with insta-flo. Never had an issue. I was told about it by a master plumber that uses it as a maintenance item on slow drains rather than snaking them. He charges flat rate, by the job, so if insta-flo causes an issue, it's out his pocket, not his customers as they already have a signed contract for the flat rate job to be performed.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to UHF
said by UHF:

Insta-Flo is what I use
»insta-flo.com/

All I can say is: wow!

I finally tried it tonight and it works as advertised (which is a rare thing these days).

I did use hot water from the tap to preheat the drains (as per usage instructions) and used the same hot water to dissolve the crystals. After the waiting period (not timed but more then 1 minute) I flushed with boiling water followed with several more minutes of hot water from the tap.

The drain turned from painfully slow into a scary sounding gurgling monster that can't get enough water
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