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Completely Clogged Shower Drain

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  • Completely Clogged Shower Drain

    Just bought a house that is almost 30 years old. The house is not on a slab, but seems to be in great condition. The master bathroom has a tile stand up shower that has been a little slow to drain. Suddenly, a few days ago, it completely clogged up. I pulled the drain cover and looked in with a flashlight to find what looked like chunks of concrete on the sides of the drain pipe. These chipped off easily, but then fell down into the drain pipe. I'm thinking that it's this limescale/soap buildup that has dislodged and clogged the pipe. I've tried plunging, Liquid Plumr, White Vinegar and hot water but nothing makes any difference. I even tried a pipe snake, but nothing seems to be able to get past the clog. What are my options here?

    Thanks!

  • #2


    how far down do you get with your snake? did you get past the trap?

    ~~you could be dealing with a drum trap, and if it has been there for 30 years most like the cover will not come off, if that is the case most are taken off and replaced, with modern trap,
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    • #3
      Originally posted by BHD View Post

      how far down do you get with your snake? did you get past the trap?

      ~~you could be dealing with a drum trap, and if it has been there for 30 years most like the cover will not come off, if that is the case most are taken off and replaced, with modern trap,
      Thanks - I don 't think I'm getting past the trap. It hits something pretty solid down there. If I twist it for awhile, it will come back coated with the slimy limescale/hair/soap mixture.

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      • #4
        if the house is not on a slab, go underneath and trace your plumbing from the shower. you may even be able to pull apart the trap and snake from the underside.
        ~~

        ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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        • #5
          What type of Snake are you using? Some snakes will not make the bend in a P-trap. If you have a Closet Auger (used for clearing toilets) the cable is a loose wound cable and will make it through. If you rent a snake from HD or Lowe's it is most likely a really ridged tight wound cable that will not make the turn. Good luck. If you find a diamond ring, I wear a size 15
          "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Plumber Punky View Post
            if the house is not on a slab, go underneath and trace your plumbing from the shower. you may even be able to pull apart the trap and snake from the underside.
            I think I will try that next. Seems like the only logical next step.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Plumbingbyjay View Post
              What type of Snake are you using? Some snakes will not make the bend in a P-trap. If you have a Closet Auger (used for clearing toilets) the cable is a loose wound cable and will make it through. If you rent a snake from HD or Lowe's it is most likely a really ridged tight wound cable that will not make the turn. Good luck. If you find a diamond ring, I wear a size 15
              It's one I got from Harbor Freight. Fairly flexible - when it gets down to where it won't go anymore, just just crumples up instead of putting pressure on the clog. It's the kind that has a spool of snake coiled up inside a housing with a handle. You can supposedly hook it up to a drill, but I just spin it by hand. It doesn't really do much when I spin it other than eventually just exploding into a bunch of twisty loops down the drain and slinging water all over the place. It is mostly likely operator error...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by benaford View Post
                I think I will try that next. Seems like the only logical next step.

                Why not call a professional drain/sewer cleaning ?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AssTyme View Post


                  Why not call a professional drain/sewer cleaning ?
                  Well, mostly because I'm poor. I always at least TRY to fix something myself before I call in the pros. But, if it comes down to that, I will call them.

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                  • #10
                    Take a piece of pvc Pipe and chip out the scale buildup, then vacuum the chips. That usually gets some or all of the problem gone. Usually the scale buildup does not extend beyond this area.
                    Last edited by Dhal22; 05-14-2014, 07:07 PM. Reason: grammar

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                    • #11
                      I use a brass slip joint 90 as its sharp edge and will not drop into the line. has to do with soap and conditioners. I see it in about 5% of showers.

                      Rick.
                      phoebe it is

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                      • #12
                        Personally, I start with this.

                        If I had one

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ArizonaPlumber View Post
                          Personally, I start with this.

                          If I had one
                          First time I have seen one

                          Tony

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                          • PLUMBER RICK
                            PLUMBER RICK commented
                            Editing a comment
                            A 6' telescoping closet auger works very good. Non drop head model. Most shower stoppages are close. Either the trap or the san tee to vent. So 6' is within reach. Expect hair and soap scum. A urinal auger will also work , but with limited distance.

                            Rick.
                            Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 05-15-2014, 09:01 AM.

                        • #14
                          Vacuum all of the debris out of the "drain trap" first with a wet/dry shop vac to determine what is clogging the drain. Doing so may also resolve the issue.

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                          • #15
                            I think it is your snake my friend. If the house is 30 years old, that just means it was in the 80's. Most states were using regular p-traps by then. I had a snake in the 90's a ridgid 380 A drum snake that was supposed to go down through showers, but I never could get it to work. Making a turn in a shower p-trap can be difficult. It is easier with a 3/8" cable and best with a 5/8" loose wound cable, in my opinion. If the snake you bought has a 1/4" cable, you may not get it to go through. They make an auger like the one pictured above that has a handle on it. It will go through the trap. You can get them at home depot or lowe's for pretty cheap. If you crawl under your house and have a standard p-trap, then before you cut it all loose try an auger.
                            "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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