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Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

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  • Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

    What's your toughest tub drain? Here's mine. I had a toughie yesterday and today.

    Tub drain plugged solid, zero drainage. The drain was wide open with no pop up or plug for the drain. The people had a two year old boy and maybe a hundred toys in the tub. What do you suppose is the problem?

    First I try the Ro-pump. No luck.

    Second, I ran a 1/4" cable with a plain bent end in through the overflow. I ran it multiple times. It was very tough going. I ended up getting out about ten feet. No change. zero drainage. I went at this for well over two hours with the 1/4" cable. One time I came back with some hair on the end. Other than that clean. Frustrating.

    Why didn't I try another approach more quickly? The tub is located on the 2nd floor of a high rise apartment. No access below. No access panel at all except a 9" square access on the side wall of the tub. From there you can see nothing unless you remove the vanity that's 5" in front of that small access panel. If you remove the vanity, and if you have Wilt Chamberlain arms, you might be able to reach the waste and overflow. Of course with your arms in there you couldn't see anything. Not that you can see anything anyway because the fire code required that they sheetrock behind waste and overflow and valve.

    There's a pipe chase behind the tub. I cut a hole into the chase area from the hallway outside the apartment. Naturally there was a soil stack, a vent stack, and a heat riser. Just enough clearance to see, not enough to access the tub and work.

    So we go to plan B. It's about 4 pm at this point, I'm going to try a jetter in the AM. I have a 1/8" hose, (5/16" od). Maybe that will work. This morning comes. I run the first nozzle. Despite all my pushing, twisting, angling, and chick bone dance antics it won't get past the p-trap. However, on the way back two pieces of a power boat blow back out of the tub shoe. Yippee. Tub still plugged solid. Crap.

    So I put on the nozzle with the spring guide in the front. It gets past the trap. Goes another two feet and stops. Lots of rusty crud coming back into the tub. When I pull the hose back it only comes so far and is then stuck. Back and forth. Back and forth. Twist turn. Curse. Chicken bone dance antics. Bad ju ju. Hose stuck tub drain still plugged solid.


    Do some measuring, and cut into a closet that's 3' behind the tub, past the chase. Of course the chase is largely occupied by ductwork. However, with the 8" gap I can see the back of the tub. There's a 2" no hub vent, and the tub drain coming into it. We suck the water out of the tub. I take my Milwaukee PVC power cutter and reach in and blindly cut the pvc line in two places. I remove the slice, see the end of the jetter hose. Pull hose out of tub drain, remove the spring/nozzle and then pull the hose back out through the overflow. Back to zero.

    I then removed the vent, it's no-hub. I used the ProPress snap tool which I should have sent back but didn't. I look down and what do I see? Strange little red thing on top of sediment, but was just below the turn in the san tee. So a snake couldn't make the turn Pulling out the red thing, it turns out to be a toy duck. The duck was hard and acted like a shield. Once I pulled that out, I used a vacuum to suck out the sediment which appeared to be bits of corroded cast iron that had fallen from above. Afterwords the tub drained fine.

    Clearly when I went out ten feet a few times my snake hit the san tee, couldn't go down so went up. (sometimes. Other times it would just be stuck at three feet. Seven hours on that thing. No access!!! Geeze louise!
    Attached Files
    Time flies like an arrow.

    Fruit flies like a banana.

  • #2
    Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

    Only Pita tub is now for a regular. Tub is on the second floor and it has a side outlet Waste and overflow. Just can't get a snake to go down it. I fought that the first time for 2 hours and then found a co in the basement. So now it is a plunger in the tub to get it flowing and snake it up to the tub from the co.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

      Jus a tip...if you use a shop vac and a reduced size flexible rubber hose you can suction some toys to the end and bring them out from the overflow. It removes the water from the trap also.....allowing me to see alittle with a handheld camera. With metal piping you can heat up the end of a cable red hot and jab it down the drain and allow the cable to melt its way throught the cap or toy....then run a small amount of water to cool it off and then pul it out.

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      • #4
        Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

        Read my post PITA tub drain....Now that was a haunt
        ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

          geno; did I read that right? the ducky made it through the trap? that's got me beat. I've done toys and bottle tops out of the overflow a few times, never had to chase one through a trap.

          plumbducky; re the side outlet; I've seen those in only one building ever (if they are the same thing I'm talking about) and they are a major pita...cable in overflow comes out the drain, cable in drain comes out the overflow, over and over again.
          This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

            You win Geno!

            Worse one for me was a shower on a drum trap. Of course no access.
            Had to pull apart an antique tin ceiling down stairs to get to it.
            Pulling apart the ceiling without damage took at least 2hrs and four cut fingers.
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            • #7
              Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

              Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
              You win Geno!

              Worse one for me was a shower on a drum trap. Of course no access.
              Had to pull apart an antique tin ceiling down stairs to get to it.
              Pulling apart the ceiling without damage took at least 2hrs and four cut fingers.
              Gene,

              That reminds me. I worked for Roto Pooter in CT. for a while some years back.

              Theme song:
              Roto Pooter that's the scam,
              Away goes your money in the Van.
              Roto Pooter!


              But I digress. I had to repair a leaky shower drain that was leaking down into a hat store in Hartford during my Roto Pooter days. The shower was in a business called "Whispers". An ahem... massage parlour. The guys walking out all seemed to be rather pleased.

              What makes the shower drain an icky story for me is the hat store had display cabinets everywhere!! Getting a ladder in there was tricky and no regular ladder was going to do the job. So I went and bought a Little Giant which I have to this day btw. Anyway, the ceiling was high, but thankfully it wasn't tin like yours. When I was cutting out the old drain you know I got a little wet, from spraying, dripping, etc. You know what they do in those showers. Right?

              I still get the heebie jeebies when I think of that place.
              Last edited by geno gardner; 12-08-2010, 06:24 PM.
              Time flies like an arrow.

              Fruit flies like a banana.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                Way to hang in there Geno I would have given up after about 4 hours.

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                • #9
                  Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                  Ace you are exactly right on with your thoughts on the side outlet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                    Originally posted by Plumbducky View Post
                    Ace you are exactly right on with your thoughts on the side outlet.


                    I had one last month. I thought WTF.... never seen one of these.... I didn't even mess around with it. I grabbed my water ram and was outta there in minutes

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                      Originally posted by AssTyme View Post
                      I had one last month. I thought WTF.... never seen one of these.... I didn't even mess around with it. I grabbed my water ram and was outta there in minutes
                      I take it you like your water ram? Comes in handy
                      Rod
                      MT. Washington Sewer & Drain Cleaning
                      Serving Berlin, NH and North Conway, NH areas
                      http://unclognh.com
                      http://mtwashingtonseweranddrainclea...m/default.aspx

                      Charging less does not mean more call volume it just means you have to work harder to reach your goals.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                        do you have to ram a rag or something in the overflow to use the water ram? I'd think it wold just puke out whatever you are not shoving water through.

                        Concerns about 'clearing' the clog but leaving a bunch of hair in there to gum up with shampoo (or 'whispers' )?

                        The time I ran into this, I finally got a visual on it with a mirror down the overflow and watched the cable out the side. micro would be my goto eye on this now.
                        This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                          I don't think I've ever really had a hard tub drain to clear.

                          The hardest drains for me to clear are 2" galvanized blocked solid with grease. I just had one the other day I couldn't get through, so I just replaced the entire line back to the main.

                          This commercial building constantly gives me fits.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                            Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                            do you have to ram a rag or something in the overflow to use the water ram? I'd think it wold just puke out whatever you are not shoving water through.

                            Concerns about 'clearing' the clog but leaving a bunch of hair in there to gum up with shampoo (or 'whispers' )?

                            The time I ran into this, I finally got a visual on it with a mirror down the overflow and watched the cable out the side. micro would be my goto eye on this now.
                            Ace, I once blew the overflow off the tee when I used too much pressure with the ram. So be careful.

                            If you're going to use a kinetic water ram I suggest you plug up the overflow, and also the overflow in a sink if you're doing a sink. Otherwise you'll certainly be getting a smelly, wet, surprise. If there's drain cleaner involved, maybe even a dangerous surprise.
                            Time flies like an arrow.

                            Fruit flies like a banana.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Contest: Your toughest tub drain.

                              'blew the overflow off the tee'

                              That blows.

                              Talk about turing it into a nightmare... The one, and I hope and pray ONLY, one I've had like that I got lucky and could get to by pulling the dishwasher in the kitchen thru the wall and whacking the blind wall behind the dw to let me reassemble the bs tub drain.

                              Don't own a water ram... not sure I want to now. CERTAIN it's not going on empoyee's van.
                              This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                              Comment

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