Clearing slow drain on tub

I live in an older home and have a tub and bathroom sink that drain very slowly. When I drain the sink, I can hear a gurgling in the tub drain and, when I put a lot of water down the sink drain, some water will come up from the tub drain into the tub. I've been putting some Drano down the drain every two months or so, but am worried that this may damage my pipes in the long run. I also have tried to get a snake down the tub overflow, but don't think I'm even getting past the elbow that turns from vertical to horizontal under the tub. Unfortunately, the first floor ceiling underneath the tub is finished, so I can't really get at the trap (I'm assuming it's a drum trap). So, 2 questions:
1. Is there a secret to getting the snake past that first 90 degree bend? I'm able to get the snake through sink P traps with no problem, but can't really figure out what's catching the snake under the tub.
2. Are there any other solutions other than the Drano that are less likely to damage my pipes, but work for more than a couple of months?
Thanks in advance.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MPost wrote:

stack and the lav basin drain ties in after the tub with a WYE. Some drum traps can NOT be snaked. SOL
If chemicals don't work, run the snake down the basin drain. Remove the trap and go right into the wall. If lucky, that will get the snake past the WYE (where the clog probably is).
Plunging won't work on clogs like this because the pressure will just go up the vent. The snake may not work either if *it* goes up the vent. Listen in the wall for it. It's tricky; good luck.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim,
Thanks for the advice. So, you're thinking that the clog is after the tub's drum trap in the stack itself? (I'm just trying to picture how everything ties in.)
Thanks

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MPost wrote:

in together, since the sink backs up into the tub. Most often right at the WYE. Can be a difficult snake job... Jim

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I ended up running the entire snake in through the clean-out plug in the sink's P trap and only encountered resistance in the last foot or so (I think I have a 25' snake). Unfortunately, once I got everything back together, I found that the tub didn't drain any better and the sink was completely clogged.
If I did go up the vent instead of down the drain, is it possible that I pulled an obstruction from the vent down into the drain so that it's now completely plugging the sink drain? Why would they make plumbing so that it's more likely that the snake would run up the vent instead of down the drain? What I can't figure out is why the sink is so stopped up while the tub isn't any worse...that means the clog must be pretty close to the bathroom since I'm assuming the sink and tub come together pretty close by.
Any ideas how I should proceed? Calling a plumber at this point seems like admitting defeat.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I couldn't clear my bathroom sink. Tried everything. Finally went to hardware store and bought a $7.00 can of http://www.jelmar.com/CLRpowerplumber.asp
Sink drained well again. (read warnings) Also if you don't have strong drain pipes don't use the product.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MPost wrote:

You *could* have gone up the vent and created a new clog just for the sink.
As I said, these can be very tricky and the home-handy snake just won't get it. You can rent a hand-held powered snake which may be better. Years ago, they often put the TEE for the sink trap offset within the wall (left or right of center) making it very hard to get the snake tip to go downward instead of up. Special tips that swivel *sometimes* work.
In really difficult cases that resist every technique, we sometimes resort to making an opening in the vent just above the trap connection (I don't mean in the roof stack vent). That allows the snake to go downward toward the clog.
Jim

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I finally was able to clear both drains--the tub and the sink--this weekend by removing all the piping underneath the sink back to the rough-in and snaking from there. Taking the P-trap off completely instead of just running the snake through the clean-out plug gave me a better shot at getting the snake down the drain instead of up the vent. I pulled out a fistfull of nasty hair, rust, and other assorted gunk, but everything drains like a champ now. Of course, in removing some of the old drain piping underneath the sink, part of the rough-in pipe cracked off, and I had to hacksaw it back a 1/2" and force the compression nut on it to work the thread, but that's another story.
Thanks for everyone's advice and info.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Try this site. Lot's of information about tubs, draining, and water pressure:
www.tubgirl.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Try Cloroben PT-4 Flow Improver
Scroll to the bottom of this link to see two sizes:
http://www.plumbersurplus.com/ProductList.aspx?ID (0 You may have better luck...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use a quart of Ammonia down each drain every month. Especially the ones that have food or hair.
Assuming that you have a sink, pour a quart of Ammonia down the sink. Fill the basin with hot water. Leaving the hot water on pull the plug and drain. Now to the tub. You will need several inches of hot water to be effective.
Ammonia will cut the grease the hot water and the weight of the water will move the residue down the drain. You may have to repeat increasing the level of hot water in the tub to be successful.
This plan will do nothing for roots or other obstructions.
I have not used a snake in 20 years since starting this regimen
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.