Sluggish bathtube drain

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I been fighting this one beast, forever!
Been using red bottle Drano cleaner: http://tinyurl.com/79p85pb
Works, slightly, fer 6-7 wks, then slows down again. I must say, the tub never really drains very well. Even with fresh application of above. Toilet, bathroom sink, kitchen sink, etc, never backed up. Jes the tub.
I bought some Rooto brand drain cleaner from True-Value. I hesitated using it. It's sulfuric acid! I called the company to ask about if it may damage any part of my system. They played dumb. I haven't used it.
Any advice?
nb
--
vi --the heart of evil!

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Have you tried removing the stopper and snaking it with a closet auger? That usually does wonders for hair clogs, the usual problem. You get the stopper out through the overflow plate hole.
I would go slow with drain cleaners, particularly the acid based ones. They are really aimed at calcium fouling, not hair but sulphuric acid does eat hair, along with copper pipe.
When I moved in here I found a bottle of that cleaner in the shed, when I finally remodeled the bathroom with the "slow tub" I found the pipe was gone. You could poke holes in the cast iron pipes with your finger. I was putting as much water into the sand under the house as in the drain.
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On 04/06/12 5:13 PM, notbob wrote:

I have never used any of those drain cleaners for a sink or tub. I have always gone the route of "mechanical" methods by snaking and/or dismantling.
Luckily for me, I have access to my tub drain through a panel in my hallway.
With three females using that tub - all with long hair - I planned ahead when I replaced the tub a few years ago. I installed a clean out just past the trap and a Fernco coupling where the PVC connects to the cast iron stub on the main stack.
I can take the drain apart get every last piece of hair and crud from the tub to the stack. I can't believe the size of some of the rat-resembling masses I've had to remove.
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I don't see why sulfuric acid would harm PVC pipe,but it may attack the tub drain closure mechanism itself,or the metal drain cover. but even the caustic drain cleaners will attack metals.
just don't leave it for too long before flushing.

MANY tub installs have no access to the drain unless you rip up a wall or floor. like apartments or homes on a concrete slab,no crawl space or basement. snaking is no holiday,either.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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.org:

The OP didn't say if it was PVC or cast iron or copper or whatever.
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On 04/06/12 8:37 PM, Jim Yanik wrote:

...snip...
...snip...
Which is why I said "Luckily for me..."
The OP did not say whether he has access or not. He asked for advice, I offered what has worked for me.

Maybe not, but it sure seems to work better than the OP's current methods:
"Works, slightly, fer 6-7 wks, then slows down again."
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My neighbor has 2 daughters and he once asked me to come troubleshoot their problem tub drainage. The culprit was the little plastic razor cover that someone had allowed to slip into the drain. It was several inches from the drain opening and I had to disassemble the "piping manifold" (I don't know the proper term) behind/under the tub to discover it. So, it's not always hair that causes slow drainage.
Hair pins, barrettes, clips, ties that accidently get dropped in the tub.
Children allow small toys or broken parts to slip down stream, also.
If the problem has persisted, then the problem may likely not be your typical drain stopper item, a hair ball.
Sonny
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in

yes,and neither sodium hydroxide or sulphuric acid will affect a plastic blockage.
--
Jim Yanik
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You may have a trap with a removable cleanout plug under the tub. Maybe not. I've had them in all my houses but avoid opening them. Opening the trap, cleaning it, and snaking from there is probably the "best" way, but that can cause problems with the cleanout plug so I just don't do it. Besides, mine have been overhead in the basement and that can get nasty. Did it once long ago. Keep in mind I have cast iron drains.
Run some hot water through. Not a lot, just to get the drain warm. Pour about 1/4 cup of liquid dish detergent in the drain. Close the drain and run about 2 inches of hot water in the tub. Cover the overflow with a wet rag, open the drain, and pump like hell with a standard toilet plunger. If you're doing it right, you'll some get black drain dirt and hair out of there and into the tub. Push that away from the drain so it doesn't go back in. I've sopped it up with toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet, and I've used paper towels and put it in the garbage.
When I'm getting nothing more form plunging, I run hot water through the drain. You should see the difference already. Then I let the tub empty, and pour another 1/4 cup of dish detergent in the drain and close it. That sets overnight. Then I fill the tub with hot water, open the drain and work the plunger again. Hardly anything comes up, but I want some agitation.
Tub drains good for maybe 5 years before I have to do it again. I think it's mostly built up soap scum and hair that slow tub drains down. Been my experience anyway. The above method has always worked for me. I never use chemical drain cleaners.
--Vic
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Or brown, greasy rusty stuff that makes you wonder if you're not getting toilet-related ugga-bugga coming up through the shower drain. )-:

Hopefully now instead of crud coming back up into the tub, you're now pushing it down into the main waste line.

Have you lived in my house? (-: I do the same thing and get a few months between plungings. How old is your drain pipe?
I use chemical cleaners to dissolve all the hair and soap that builds up because the pipe walls are no longer smooth but cratered from corrosion. I did learn, however, you DON'T add drain cleaner unless you're sure there's enough drain flow to wash it down the main stack. DAMHIKT
-- Bobby G.
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On Sat, 7 Apr 2012 05:06:01 -0400, "Robert Green"

Never wonder about that, since that's impossible. But it is nasty looking. Soap residue and hair mixed with iron corrosion. It's the iron that will stain just about anything. But not porcelain is you wipe it right up.

50 years. Puppy cast iron.

Plunging and detergent has worked for me. The problem with tub drains is the built in stopper preventing snake access. I'd rather just use an external flat rubber stopper, but every tub I've had has had the built in internal stopper. Then of course it's all walled in. With clear access a snake would be faster than what I do. At least I've had exposed traps in the basement overheads if I ever need to use a snake. They make flat rubber drain screens to catch hair. Used one when the girls were here. They work if you can get the girls to actually use them. You want one if you have long-hairs in the house. It's hair that screws with tub drains. People think it just disappears down the drain. Nope. My wife likes long hot, relaxing baths. Part of her of her "relaxation" is to count the hairs she's lost from shampooing. So as she soaks she fingers them from the water and drapes them on the side of the tub. After her bath she wipes them off and throws them away. Just one of the reasons she's a keeper. We don't use the strainer since the girls left, and I haven't plunged the drain in maybe 5-6 years.
--Vic
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On Sat, 7 Apr 2012 12:10:19 -0400, "Robert Green"

Should have said "impossible unless the toilet is backing up too." Would have nipped your bud.

That's why I put "relaxation" in quotes. She counts those in the hairbrush too. Though "counts" might be too strong. Let's say "notices." Except for some thinning, I've still got my hair. Too old to care about it though. It was the opposite of losing that hair that told me I was aging. Hair growing in my ears. That pissed me off.

Probably just differently designed plumbing. Mine looks to be 3" pipe going into the drum trap. Maybe 2 1/2", The setup is similar to this, but mine has larger diameter inlet/outlet. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20252981,00.html
Mine has the cleanout plug on the bottom. The one in the vid is plain stupid if there's no floor access on the top. I'm not planning on replacing it unless I have to. There's venting issues these guys don't mention, so anybody doing this should look at codes. Though drum traps are now forbidden by code in some places, the drum provides a better gas trap than an 'S." I'm no expert on this, but since I've done plenty of plumbing work, I detect a lot of BS on the DIY forums. Saw one guy suggest taking the plate off the overflow to get a good seal there when plunging. That can easily break the dope seal there on the overflow tube, leading to a leak when you fill the tub. BTDT. Unless you're getting into the plumbing wall, you don't want to disturb that seal. Not worth the risk.
--Vic
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argumentative
You think so? (-: You've forgotten the "earned v. saved" thread for which I humbly apologize. That got out of hand a bit, far more than the whole concept ever warranted.

There's the old saying: "My hairline is making a beeline for my neckline. And my ears!"

Do tell! You mean people would actually give bad advice or parrot something they heard elsewhere without really knowing of what they speak? Say it isn't so.

That's why I cram plastic garbage bags into the overflow to seal it.
My buddy's on the way over to borrow my Sawzall. Seems he was helping his daughter put a garbage disposal into her newly bought fixer-upper. I advised against it. A dishwasher is a good reason to torture rusty old galvanized, Frankenstein-looking plumbing but a garbage disposal, IMHO, is not. Well, as he was cutting the drain to install a wye fitting he heard a clunk inside the wall. Soon he'll be cutting it open to repair the broken drain pipe. )-: I just hate it when a two hour job suddenly expands into a two day job - or more.
-- Bobby G.
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My friend, I would not have thought of using a toilet plunger on a bathtube. Neat! You can expect HeBe-ub to give you grief, now. Read the "who is it" thread to understand why.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Run some hot water through. Not a lot, just to get the drain warm. Pour about 1/4 cup of liquid dish detergent in the drain. Close the drain and run about 2 inches of hot water in the tub. Cover the overflow with a wet rag, open the drain, and pump like hell with a standard toilet plunger. If you're doing it right, you'll some get black drain dirt and hair out of there and into the tub. Push that away from the drain so it doesn't go back in. I've sopped it up with toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet, and I've used paper towels and put it in the garbage.
When I'm getting nothing more form plunging, I run hot water through the drain. You should see the difference already. Then I let the tub empty, and pour another 1/4 cup of dish detergent in the drain and close it. That sets overnight. Then I fill the tub with hot water, open the drain and work the plunger again. Hardly anything comes up, but I want some agitation.
Tub drains good for maybe 5 years before I have to do it again. I think it's mostly built up soap scum and hair that slow tub drains down. Been my experience anyway. The above method has always worked for me. I never use chemical drain cleaners.
--Vic
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On Sat, 7 Apr 2012 07:58:00 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Saw that already. I'd just wipe it down with Spic & Span and seal it with Bin or Kilz. Wouldn't have thought of using a power washer. Still won't. To be clear, "standard toilet plunger" to me is the most common one, This one. http://tinyurl.com/73au9la
That's all I've ever used, and it's always worked. Don't know why anybody would think it doesn't work on a tub or sink.
--Vic
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On 04/07/12 10:16 AM, Vic Smith wrote:

I have this type of plunger which works well for both toilets and tubs.
The "extension" fits into the toilet outlet to seal it but also pops back into the plunger, turning it into a "standard" plunger for use in a tub.
http://blog.highmarkplumbing.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Toilet-Plunger.jpg
Just another idea...
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For both?!!!! ICCCKKKK!!!!!
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On 04/07/12 12:06 PM, Robert Macy wrote:

I really hope you are kidding.
Please don't tell be that you have separate plungers for your toilet and tub.
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I can imagine a two plunger family.
My Mom gets seriously offended, when she goes to a resaturant. And the cleaner uses the same towel to wipe seats, and table tops. In her mind, ought not wipe where peoples butts sit, and then use the same towel to wipe where the food goes.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
On 04/07/12 12:06 PM, Robert Macy wrote:

I really hope you are kidding.
Please don't tell be that you have separate plungers for your toilet and tub.
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On Sat, 7 Apr 2012 16:18:08 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Which towel do you think the hotel maid uses to wipe out the glasses in the room?
For those who think you get one from a dishwasher every time, look at how many glasses are on a maid cart, barely enough to replace the broken and stolen ones ... but there is a big stack of those "sanitized for your protection" paper caps the put on the glass.
I guess those 2 plunger families wash their ass before they get into the tub and they never pee in there.
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