Friday, August 14, 2009

I've UNCLOGGED the most stubborn tub drain!

I've UNCLOGGED my first tub drain!

I live in a high rise apartment on the 12th floor. It was a typical Saturday morning. My husband showered up in the morning and the water went down the drain like usual. After spending the morning in Tear Drop Park my boys were in need of a bath.

After bathing the boys the tub the water would not go down the drain. The clog in the drain just happen so suddenly. That morning we had no clog and now it was completely backed up. What's worst is things started to come up from in the drain. Some gross dirty poop looking stuff. I grabbed the boys and took them out of the tub so fast.

My husband poured 2 cups of gel drano as instructed on the bottle and the clog was still there. We had a 32 oz bottle which was about 3/4's full. I proceed to pour another 3 cups and it was still clogged. After pouring the entire bottle into the drain and it still would not drain I decided to do what I should've done to begin with. I called my father and he will try to come by tomorrow afternoon or evening. I'll take it

The next day I decided to try the super and luckily he was around but according to some stupid building policy set forth by management he is not allowed to snake a drain for a tenant due to liability- what the $%^ is that about? what's the point of having an in house super and why do I pay rent?

Later that afternoon my father comes over and tries to help. The super was still adamant about not using a snake. Instead he said it looks like we have to break some walls and get to the pipes. Of course he makes a recommendation to have us ask our neighbors in the apartment below to see if we can work from beneath rather than smashing tiles and walls to locate the blockage. We went down to the tenant below and kindly asked if it was possible to break her ceiling to get to our pipes in order to clear the blockage. This quiet old Chinese lady almost had a heart attack. She said she had to consult with her daughter first. After speaking to her daughter, they flat out refused and told us to go to hell. What the heck I was desperate. I believe we've reached the extreme scenario. That night I spoke with my father again and he thinks we should just snake the drain. What's the worst that's going to happen? Break the pipes and than the downstairs tenants will have no choice but to let us in to fix the problem. This whole scenario was making me feel ill. I did more searching on the internet and found something called a hand crank auger or snake. I thought this would be good since it will not be powerful enough to break any pipes.

Before I went to bed that night. My tub has turned into a cesspool. Every time I turned on my sink water would bubble up through the tub drain sending murky black water into the tub.

The next morning I went to the local hardware store and purchased a hand crank auger for less than 20 bucks. This is what I used Cobra Products 88250 1/4-Inch-by-25-Foot Power Drain Clearing Drum Auger.
I attempted several times. As instructed, remove the drain stopper and feed the snake through the overflow valve. After several attempts nothing happened. I tried the plunger again in combination with the snake but also nothing. I wasn't generating enough of a seal since the plunger was not small enough to cover the drain size opening.

Finally that afternoon. I fed the snake through the overflow valve slowly, turned the crank, than fed a little more, turned the crank, fed a little more than turned the crank. I feed about 10 feet of snake into the drain and just continue to push through anything that you feel a resistance to and finally I felt something that wouldn't let me feed the snake further down do I just cranked the handle and pushed and cranked and push until I heard the loveliest sound ever. All of a sudden my drain started to rushed down leaving a behind the leftover black globs of grossness. But who cares the clog has been cleared and water will go down with any issues yippy! So to remove the auger from your drain you have to be patient too, jiggle it as you pull it free, jiggle pull up, jiggle and pull up. Remember to clean and grease the line so you can use it again for the future.

What a relief now I don't have to worry about broken piles, breaking ceilings and hiring expensive plumbers to take care of a simple clog.

This clog happened suddenly and with no warning. My drain was going down at an acceptable rate but now that I've ran the snake down it , the sink and tub drains at record speed.


  1. Hello MCT! You reminded of what my friend used to tell me, “Patience is mandatory!” ^_^ Congratulations for having an unwavering perseverance in unclogging your tub drain. Hope you would not need to go through the same hassles again. It’s good to have a handy daddy around. Meanwhile, it will be worth the effort if you will remind everyone to clean the drain after using the tub. It requires quite a little routine, but it would be a good discipline. By the way, is your tub drain still stubborn? Keep us posted. Take care!
    -Carmella Vancil

  2. @Carmella I'd like to modify the saying, “Charity begins at home,” into “Discipline begins at home.” Anyway, MCT, I hope your drain is finally working well! Aside from what Carmella mentioned about reminding everyone to clean the tub right after every bath, it will be helpful to use some baking soda once in a while. First, pour a cup of it to the drain, followed by a cup of heated vinegar, and finally, two quarters of hot water. You can also use salt instead of vinegar. I've tried it, and since then, I rarely needed the services of a plumber or the help of a snake hanger. :D
    Lovella Cushman

  3. Lovella’s suggestion works all the time. Well, it’s been almost three years after this post, and I do hope that you still have great DIY skills in unclogging your tub drain. In case that you’re not sure on what you’ll do regarding plumbing problems, it’s best to seek professional help. It won’t harm to get some help. :)

    -Elia Lester-

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  5. Ah the joy of the gurgle and suddenly flow of black water down the drain.

  6. Good Job taking care of the clog. But your husband should have been more involved. Kind of husband is that?

  7. Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future.