I have just enough blockage in the house's main sewage line to cause
occasional draining problems (like flushing the toilet repeatedly or water
from the washing machine spin-cycle backing up). All house drains work
fine and taking showers causes no problems.
My questions have to do with clearing the blockage myself. I have a one
story house with a basement. The toilet drains into a large cast-iron
pipe that runs straight down from the bathroom floor into the garage and
then under the concrete garage floor out to the city line. The lowest
point where another pipe joins this is the water exhaust from the washing
machine in the basement, a couple feet above the point where the cast-iron
pipe runs under the garage floor. Because the only drainage problem in
the house is this washing machine line the blockage must be somewhere
below it (i.e., under the concrete garage floor, etc.).
There's a cast-iron access point right where the pipe goes into the garage
floor. But it looks impossible to get it open (New England; crusted over,
rusted on or something). And I'm afraid of breaking something trying to
get it off, requiring expensive repairs. Plus in winter time when I pull
the snake out with all that disgusting muck covering it there's no way to
rinse it off.
So what I'd like to know is if (foaming) Drano might work? But how to get
it there with as little dilution as poosible? I thought of shutting off
the toilet (it's a straight shot from the toilet to the blockage) and
pouring a couple gallons of Drano in but then (I think) I remembered it's
not going to go down without being able to flush the toilet. Right? What
if I was able to get a couple gallons of Drano in the bathroom sink?
That's the next most straight shot down the cast-iron pipe. Or what's the
next best thing besides an expensive call to the plumber?
net [one dot] verizon [cymbal] ballard [no spaces] mike [reverse the whole thing]
a) Try pouring water into your toilet and it will go down once its own once
it reaches a certian level.
b) I have had bad luck with Drano. What if the blockage is root related, or
a plastic toy?
c) I would try the access point even if it looks bad. If you break it you
can replace it yourself without great expense (although it might take some
work if you have to break out concrete).
Hope this helps,
Get the CO open. The big plug is almost always brass. (Scrape and see.)
It probably won't unscrew. Use a sharp cold chisel to break it open,
working around the inner edge. The metal should be thin there. You can
just peel it open and then collapse the threaded outer edge. Or drill
holes in it to get started.
Then rent a sewer snake.
I agree with the other posters who said break into it and then repair it if
it must be snaked. You might be able to unscrew it if you treat it liberally
with wd-40 for a few days before you wrench it. Not likely but worth the
cost of the wd.
Before you do that there are two things you can try. Don't use Drano or any
other caustic drain cleaner. At the end of the day ( or the longest period
of non-use) Pour 2 gallons of Clorox down the nearest drain and let it sit
for as long as possible. If this opens the drain for acceptable use buy a
bottle of that enzyme stuff and treat the drain on a very regular basis.
Actually exceed the frequency recommendations but otherwise follow the
I second that. I fiddled around for days trying to clear a tub drain
-- closet auger, thin snake, coat hanger, Liquid Plumber, ... .
Finally, I called a "drain cleaner" from the yellow pages. Two hours
and $75 later, the job was done. It was the best money I ever spent and
I don't part with it easily!
Lemmee tell you a short story. I have used the local rooter service twice
in the past few years. Once for a block in my rental, and once for when I
put a jury rigged drain into an RV hookup. The drain caught the sewage, and
made a partial block. They came, and, for $100, they took out the little
piece of PVC that was causing the problem.
Fast forward one month. I am having actual drain problems with my middle
bath. They are coming tomorrow to clear it for free because there is a six
month guarantee from the other call. Funny how things work some times.
Life has taught me that when you don't know about something that is
expensive or important, it is better and cheaper to take it to a pro until
you do learn how to fix it. So, I don't touch automatic transmissions,
carburetors, or brakes. Or sewer drains.
On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 13:51:39 GMT, "William W. Plummer"
You might want to look for a new "drain cleaner" because at $37.50 an
hour, that guy wont be around much longer. A company driving a service
van around for a living cannot charge that and stay in business.
I charge out at $100/hr but that is in a different area of concern. So,
it was a bargain for me, not to mention the satisfaction of having the
job done by a competent professional who got the job done.
Lemmee see ............... I can call RotoRooter, and pay them $125, and
watch football while they do the job. No clean up no tools. A six month
I can do it myself. Pour Drano into the pipes and eat more of them away.
Push metal snakes into pipes I don't know a thing about, taking the risk of
making a major break. I will not be sure if I get the clog or only make
more problems for myself .................. and then having to pay a plumber
some REAL dough.
Wait, wait! I know the answer to this one ...................
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