How does one snake out a kitchen sink drain?
Where I live, in Manitoba, the local plumbing code requires that there
be a clean out on the vent/drain pipe that the sink empties into.
So, in this diagram:
Our plumbing code would require that there be a clean out located on
that vertical pipe labeled "individual ventilation pipe" a few inches
above where the trap arm attaches. That way, a plumber can run his
snake into that clean out while water is running in the sink to carry
whatever the snake cuts off the ID of the drain pipe away. In my
opinion, it's stupid to put the clean out in the trap arm the way it's
depicted in the drawing because there normally won't be room for a wye
there, and it's located where it creates three more connections that
could possible leak. In my way of thinking, putting the clean out in
the vent pipe above the trap arm is the smarter way to do it cuz you'll
never have water leakage out that clean out if it's located there
2. Do you suggest larger diameter plastic "J" pipes with a trap door?
If by "J" pipe you mean a "p-trap" and by trap door you mean a clean out
at the bottom of the p-trap, then that's not the route I'd take. A 1
1/2 inch P-trap should be big enough to prevent anything from clogging
up that trap.
If you have the room, I would remove that rusted nipple and screw in a
piece of 1 1/2" PVC or ABS pipe with a male thread adapter cemented onto
it. So, the male thread adapter will screw in where the nipple is now.
Then, glue a short piece of ABS or PVC pipe into the downstream end of
your P-trap. Then connect the two pieces of PVC or ABS pipe with a
Fernco coupling like this:
That way, you can always remove the p-trap to clear it without having to
worry that it's going to leak when you put it back in. If it does, you
just glue up a new p-trap and put it in. Without that Fernco in there,
if the p-trap leaks at it's middle union, you gotta start unscrewing it
from the tee in the wall.
3. What tool spins off a 1 1/2 inch steel nipple when only 1/4 inch
You need something called an "internal pipe wrench", like this;
It consists of an externally toothed wheel that turns on an eccentric
shaft. You turn the toothed wheel so that it you can slide the whole
tool into the ID of the nipple, and then turn the tool counter
clockwise. As you do that the externally toothed smaller wheel swings
outward to grip the inside diameter of the nipple, and the harder you
turn the tool, the more the wheel's teeth bite into the ID of the nipple
and turn it in the direction you're turning the tool.
The internal pipe wrench in that picture is what's commonly available
for 1/2 inch steel or brass threaded piping. You can buy or rent the
same thing for 1 to 2 inch threaded piping, and one is shown below:
But, you can't explain how the thing works from looking at the correct
picture above. Check to see if Home Depot rents these things. If not,
most tool rental places should. In the mean time, try to put some
penetrating oil on the threads of that nipple to make extracting it
easier. And, if it wuz me, I would phone up some of the major plumbing
wholesalers or plumbing companies in your area and ask them if they'll
borrow you a 1 1/2 inch NPT tap to clean up the threads in the tee in
your wall if you put down a $100 damage deposit on it. That way, you
can clean out all the crap that's accumulated in the threads of the tee
in the wall over the years. Some tool rental places might rent these
4. Can a compression fitting attach to the corroded steel nipple.
No. compression fittings are made for 3/8, 1/2 and 3/4 inch COPPER
pipe, which will have a different OD than threaded iron pipe.
If push comes to shove, you may have to cut the back wall of the cabinet
out, then the wall around the nipple and heat the tee that nipple is
threaded into with an acetylene (or perhaps propane) torch to expand it
and break the nipple loose from the tee.
Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership.