Clearing Drains with Air Pressure

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I have seen these gadgets that use air pressure for drain pipe blockages. I can see that could be useful where there are too many elbows in a small diameter pipe for a regular snake. Anyone have experience using pressure like this?
First thought I had was that all the other drains might need to be plugged first. And also what's a reasonable high pressure limit?
I have had this trouble with a 1-1/2 inch washing machine drain, where there are 4 elbows before it gets to the main house drain. I was able to clear out part of the piping with a small diameter snake, but not all. Eventually got it cleared out alternating boiling water, then flushing with hot water, then drano, water flush, snake, etc. Also make a tight connection from the hot water faucet to the 1-1/2 standpipe and ran it until it flowed normally. All this worked, but it took a lot of time.
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On 1/14/2016 10:40 AM, Snuffy "Hub Cap" McKinney wrote:

I have some devices that use water pressure to that end. They have a place for a garden hose to be attached. They are then inserted into the drain. The water pressure expands their outer diameter until they fit snuggly in the drain opening. The water coursing through them then pushes any obstructions out of the drain.
The biggest issue with these are the typical vents associated with most drains. These must be plugged lest the pressure never develop. Note where the drains vent in your tub, sink, etc.
Things similar to: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
I have a couple of different sizes.
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ditto. They work well, depending on the nature of the clog. I generally have not bothered to plug other vents or drains. I just push the hose in as far as it will go, and I figure I am about at where the clog is. It is a simple first step approach.
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In

The first time that I saw or heard of this device was once when a washing machine drain line was backing up. The washing maching discharge hose went directly into a 1 1/2 inch vertical PVC line and not into a laundry sink. We decided to just call a plumber and he put that device inside the PVC pipe and badda bing, badda boom, the clog was cleared. It was a no-brainer that I easily could have done myself had I even known about that device and bought one at Home Depot or Lowes.
The convenient thing is that in laundry areas, there are already hose connections there. That makes me think that it might make sense to install a garden hose valve fitting in a hot water supply line in other locations such as under a bathrrom or vanity sink, or in an access panel behind a tub, etc.
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I have connected a 50-ft hose to the hot water connection at the washer and run it wherever needed.
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On 1/15/2016 9:01 AM, TomR wrote:

They work well in kitchen sinks (if you ensure the "other sink" -- in case you have two side-by-side -- is covered) and bathroom sinks (the vent is usually easy to cover with your palm/fingers.
Bathtubs are a bit more of a chore as the vent is usually part of the drain "closing" mechanism: remove it, clear any hair that's caught in it while you're at it then cover it with your palm or one of those rubbery aids used to open tight jar lids.
Other great tools to have are "Lonn Water Savers": <http://lonn.net/water/water-savers-water/heavy-duty-water-saver-handle-option-jet-stream.html a couple of different varieties.

Not sure it is worth the effort. A (new, never laid in the outside dirt) 50 ft hose can usually tackle most "in home" uses while connecting to an outdoor bibb.
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On 1/14/2016 11:40 AM, Snuffy "Hub Cap" McKinney wrote:

Just a random thought here. Air is compressible and water is NOT. That's why the plumbers recommend using the accordian bellows type "plumber's friend." They have a hollow handle that unscrews from the bellows to allow the air to leak out and be replaced by water. Once it's filled with water, you tighten the handle and give it a push. That shoots a solid wall of water at the obstruction hopefully dislodging it. Since most drain obstructions are partial (or even if near total) air would just leak around the obstruction and accomplish nothing.
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On Thu, 14 Jan 2016 09:40:56 -0800, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

I tried clearing a clog with pressure and all I did was fill the bathroom sink with poop. (it is virtually impossible to plug up the overflow/vent)
I ended up pulling the crapper and using my snake.
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wrote:

blockages. I can see that could be useful where there are too many elbows in a small diameter pipe for a regular snake. Anyone have experience using pressure like this?

plugged first. And also what's a reasonable high pressure limit?

where there are 4 elbows before it gets to the main house drain. I was able to clear out part of the piping with a small diameter snake, but not all. Eventually got it cleared out alternating boiling water, then flushing with hot water, then drano, water flush, snake, etc. Also make a tight connection from the hot water faucet to the 1-1/2 standpipe and ran it until it flowed normally. All this worked, but it took a lot of time.

Thanks all - good info!! I'll try the boiling water tonight. I'll try the snake as a last resort because it's a real pain to get it to make the turns and harder to get it back out. Last time I boiled 4 large pots of water with 25% ZEP cleaner/degreaser and poured them all down one after the other. Then flush with hot water and then use Drano a couple of times.
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Water lines are under pressure, about 45 psig in my area. They're designed that way.
Waste lines drain through gravity. Most of the time there's no pressure at all on them, except when draining, and that's brief and minimal. They aren't necessarily designed to resist pressure.
I'd be cautious of any pressure technique.
Would a fernco hold 45 psig? On a 3 inch drain line? Maybe but I wouldn't risk it.
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On Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 4:11:05 PM UTC-5, TimR wrote:

Fernco No-Hubs, even the heavy duty kind, are pressure tested to a max of 4.3 PSI. Yes, I said four *point* three.
Last line of the Specifications section:
https://www.fernco.com/plumbing/shielded-couplings/no-hub-couplings
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On Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:21:25 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

I have a couple in my pool plumbing and they do OK at 10-12 PSI
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On Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:06:33 -0800, "Snuffy \"Hub Cap\" McKinney"

Some times it helps to know where the clog is. Are there any drains that seem OK? Be aware on multilevel houses, if the ones downstairs are plugged, don't even bother looking farther up. You can flood your basement with poop if you put too much water in from upstairs. I am on a slab so I start from the cleanout at the exit from the house and work back from there. Watch the line there and run some water from each fixture up the line one at a time until you stop seeing the flow. Getting as close to the clog as you can will improve you chances with the plunger. The snake works best from a crapper hole tho because there are usually not many turns on that line until it hits the main trunk.
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On Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 3:06:53 PM UTC-6, Snuffy "Hub Cap" McKinne y wrote:

es. I can see that could be useful where there are too many elbows in a sm all diameter pipe for a regular snake. Anyone have experience using pressu re like this?

gged first. And also what's a reasonable high pressure limit?

there are 4 elbows before it gets to the main house drain. I was able to clear out part of the piping with a small diameter snake, but not all. Eve ntually got it cleared out alternating boiling water, then flushing with ho t water, then drano, water flush, snake, etc. Also make a tight connection from the hot water faucet to the 1-1/2 standpipe and ran it until it flowe d normally. All this worked, but it took a lot of time.

the snake as a last resort because it's a real pain to get it to make the t urns and harder to get it back out. Last time I boiled 4 large pots of wat er with 25% ZEP cleaner/degreaser and poured them all down one after the ot her. Then flush with hot water and then use Drano a couple of times.
Which variety of Drano are you using: Acid or Alkali? Lint is probably the problem in your drain; I suggest using the alkali version if you haven't al ready.
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wrote:

blockages. I can see that could be useful where there are too many elbows in a small diameter pipe for a regular snake. Anyone have experience using pressure like this?

plugged first. And also what's a reasonable high pressure limit?

where there are 4 elbows before it gets to the main house drain. I was able to clear out part of the piping with a small diameter snake, but not all. Eventually got it cleared out alternating boiling water, then flushing with hot water, then drano, water flush, snake, etc. Also make a tight connection from the hot water faucet to the 1-1/2 standpipe and ran it until it flowed normally. All this worked, but it took a lot of time.

try the snake as a last resort because it's a real pain to get it to make the turns and harder to get it back out. Last time I boiled 4 large pots of water with 25% ZEP cleaner/degreaser and poured them all down one after the other. Then flush with hot water and then use Drano a couple of times.
- Which variety of Drano are you using: Acid or Alkali? Lint is probably the problem in your drain; I suggest using the alkali version if you haven't already.
Alkali. Thanks.
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In wrote:

When I read this topic, I started wondering if I could do the same thing to clear the line in my bathroom sink -- it drains very slowly; a chronic problem. It's one of those with the old lead drain lines and it is a pain to try to get the snake to make the whole trip to the end when it enters into the cast iron sewer line. I have done that in the past and it does work, but it is a pain.
But, like you, I think that if I used the pressure approach the issue of trying to get the overflow plugged, plus the question of whether the pressure would make the slip joints in the sink trap come apart, made me hesitant to try it.
Then I thought, what if I took apart the sink trap, and I installed the expandable pressure piece directly into the sink drain line, would that work? I haven't tried it yet, but maybe that would be an option.
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On 1/14/2016 2:44 PM, TomR wrote:

You still have the vent up to the roof to contend with. The pressure solutions really only work to dislodge "dislodgeable" obstructions :> I find them preferable to resorting to chemicals as those are easily overused.
But, if someone has made a special effort to clog your drain (e.g., roots infiltrating the sewer line), no amount of pressure is going to help. (a motorized snake with cutting head for root problems)
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On Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:55:40 -0700, Don Y

If you really have roots clogging your drain, a backhoe is the more appropriate tool. You can cut them back somewhat with a snake but they will be right back. I suppose you could kill the tree but you can still use the backhoe to dig out the stump and while you are there, fix the pipe ;-)
I just did something similar myself with a mini Kabota.
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wrote:

first try a cutting snake followed by a root killer.
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On Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 7:31:48 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I use Root-X twice a year. Haven't had a blockage since I started doing that about 4 years ago. I've had the line scoped and I've seen the problem. Roots are entering the top of the pipe at a junction between 2 sections.
$5K to have it lined, not sure of the cost to have it replaced or $75 a year to introduce 2 lbs of Root-X through the clean out in the spring and fall. I consider it just another maintenance item.
rootx.com
Others have suggested rock salt but the beauty of Root-X is that it foams up, fills the pipe and coats the roots that are coming into the top of the pipe. Salt water will only contact the roots that hang low enough to reach the flowing water. Since low roots aren't my problem, I need something that gets the ones on top.
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