Need Help Unclogging a Drain

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wilked
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by wilked »

If you don't use them, get some of these and add them to your pan that drains condensate from your AC
Image
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

I bet you got it if you pulled a good amount back on your cable.
Awesome you stuck with it.
Put it back together and see how she drains when done.

Codes vary by region and thinking back I do recall seeing condensate dropped into a laundry tub.
Here it must be ran outside to daylight.
Sometimes it's done through the soffit.
Maybe you can have yours ran outside?

But I can never agree with the way you describe it being done. Too many things can happen.

Hope you get clear drainage!
ArtMan
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by ArtMan »

Oldaroo3 wrote: Sat Jun 08, 2024 5:45 pm I have a plastic tool about 18" long I bought at Lowes that has worked wonders. Has little teeth on it that grabs all the nasty stuff.
The one I have is called Zip-It. Works great, especially for extracting wadded-up hair. A word of caution, though — those teeth are sharp, so be respectful, especially when pulling it back up. If your stopper is captive then you might have the wrangle it around the plug, especially when extracting the tool.

Have fun!
mnr3
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by mnr3 »

livesoft wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 1:57 pm Generally in our area, the HVAC systems are in the attic and the condensate lines go into a drain as you describe. The lines get clogged with mold, so going into the attic and pouring bleach periodically into the vent for the condensate line is considered routine maintenance. I think I'll go up there now and pour some bleach.
I was going to post exactly this. It is/was common building practice, not plumber's fault, it is the ac guys who drop condensate line into a drain/vent and although I didn't always remember to do it, it should be once a season to pour a good amount of hot water dosed with bleach down the condensate line just after it leaves the ac--there is usually a little T that may have a removable cap on it. when ac is off, pour a diluted bleach mix down there, let it sit for a few minutes then flush with more hot water. at some point the pipes get almost clogged with a hard calcification that will clog and you have to replace the whole pipe. the idiot's at my place tapped into the water heater emergency drain and guess what--it backed up and overfilled my pan (!), onto ceiling below...I keep a better eye on it now and contemplating a re-route or at least check valve
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

mnr3 wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:33 pm
livesoft wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 1:57 pm Generally in our area, the HVAC systems are in the attic and the condensate lines go into a drain as you describe. The lines get clogged with mold, so going into the attic and pouring bleach periodically into the vent for the condensate line is considered routine maintenance. I think I'll go up there now and pour some bleach.
I was going to post exactly this. It is/was common building practice, not plumber's fault, it is the ac guys who drop condensate line into a drain/vent and although I didn't always remember to do it, it should be once a season to pour a good amount of hot water dosed with bleach down the condensate line just after it leaves the ac--there is usually a little T that may have a removable cap on it. when ac is off, pour a diluted bleach mix down there, let it sit for a few minutes then flush with more hot water. at some point the pipes get almost clogged with a hard calcification that will clog and you have to replace the whole pipe. the idiot's at my place tapped into the water heater emergency drain and guess what--it backed up and overfilled my pan (!), onto ceiling below...I keep a better eye on it now and contemplating a re-route or at least check valve
Who in the heck is inspecting these areas?!! :shock:
livesoft
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by livesoft »

PoorPlumber wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:43 pmWho in the heck is inspecting these areas?!! :shock:
The same folks who look at whether the overflow condensate pan still drains to the outside and is not blocked by mud daubers nor spider webs.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

livesoft wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:48 pm
PoorPlumber wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:43 pmWho in the heck is inspecting these areas?!! :shock:
The same folks who look at whether the overflow condensate pan still drains to the outside and is not blocked by mud daubers nor spider webs.
Float switch. :wink:
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OldSport
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by OldSport »

Interesting comments. The AC condensate line is rubber hose from drain pan to tie in just above bathroom sink P-trap. That is clear, water in that is flowing just fine.

The AC condensate is the humidity removed from our house air. We do have good whole house air filtration, so not a lot of contaminants in the air, especially relative to water removed, which is a lot in this hot & humidity region.

I'm gonna snake one more time tomorrow and see if anything else comes out. If it's clear, I'll put it back together and see if it holds.

Should I flush anything down the drain to clear any residual blockage the snake couldn't get?
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kevinf
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by kevinf »

Put some foaming drain cleaner down and flush with hot or boiling water when it says to do so. Set up a schedule to use drain cleaners annually or semi-annually to keep the pipes clear and minimize the risk of clogs forming.
Topic Author
OldSport
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by OldSport »

Update:

Well the drain snaking was successful. Put the snake down several times until no longer got debris at maximum 25 ft snake insertion. That part was a success!!

But so far the overall effort is tentatively an epic fail with the same result as having exerted no effort until I overcome one last hurdle where I need help.

That darn P-trap that was so hard to remove, I cannot get it to stop leaking when I close it tight. It's only leaking on the side of the P-trap that exits the main drain.

How do I seal the threads watertight, such that I can still remove in the future if needed? What do I seal with that it will hold indefinitely?

The P-trap is PVC pipe, 1.5" ID, the leaking flange with the threads that screws shut is 2.15" ID, 3" OD.

The plumber who worked on it before had to use some "gunk", but don't know what it was.

I did all the dirty laborious hard snaking with success, but need to seal the P-trap or I'm still stuck unable to leave the house unattended for more than 6 hours with the AC on, which sucks.

Please help. Thanks.
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

Welcome to plumbing! :D

The plumber put on "pipe dope". One of a myriad of viscous liquid sealants that work on many threads.

My opinion:

Make sure the washer on the exit pipe of the p-trap is not cut or damaged.

Get some "Teflon Tape" or pipe dope. (No Rectorseal No. 5 though.)

Put trap together with pipe in wall and washer up against threaded trap adapter. Leave nut that goes at wall off though.

Wrap threads of adapter coming out of wall with a couple of rounds going over the washer as well if using tape.

If using "pipe dope", make sure it is PVC rated and put on threads of adapter and a little on the washer.

Assemble, tighten, but don't over tighten, and test.

(Again, in todays world, I have to say this: You assume all liability and damages for any action taken. Physical, mental, or structural liability falls to the reader. The above are not instructions but rather a historical account of what has worked for me in similar situations.)
Uniballer
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by Uniballer »

The other option is to just replace the P-trap parts that are leaking. Look at this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-1-1-2 ... /316622155.

BTW - hand-tightened undersink trap parts are usually polypropylene, not PVC.
Luke Duke
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Location: Texas

Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by Luke Duke »

You're probably best off replacing what is under the sink. Don't use the flexible drain pipe that was recommended earlier in this thread.

This combination of tools takes care of all of my drain problems in my 60+yo house

https://www.harborfreight.com/20v-cordl ... 64483.html
https://www.harborfreight.com/50-ft-pow ... 68284.html
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OldSport
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by OldSport »

Thanks. The existing P-trap material is ASTM D2665 PVC-1 https://www.astm.org/d2665-20.html

The P-trap was missing a washer, so I added a water/plumbing rated rubber washer. That helped, and reduced the leak rate by over 90%, such that we can leave the house for a day, but it is still not leak free, such that we could not leave on a vacation.

I was going to try a "pipe dope" or "plumbers tape" next on the threads. The thread sealant "pipe dope" I found that was PVC rated was "Blue Monster".

Any advice on "plumbers tape" teflon tape to use?

Would you try the plumbers tape or the thread sealant first?

Last resort I can put "plumbers putty" on the top and bottom gaps where leaks could come out of (not directly on the threads), as it's pretty clear that's what the builder plumber did with all our other P-trap fittings.
Uniballer
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by Uniballer »

OldSport wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 8:15 am Thanks. The existing P-trap material is ASTM D2665 PVC-1 https://www.astm.org/d2665-20.html
This would be very unusual for under a residential sink in my area. I wonder if the polypropylene parts would even fit properly in your situation (maybe not). If they would fit this might be considered an upgrade in ease of maintenance (polypropylene fittings do not bind like threaded PVC fittings do, and the low surface energy plastic is closer to being chemically inert).

I would not personally try to use PTFE tape unless there are enough (or almost enough) threads to span the width of the tape (e.g. approximately 1/2 inch for the smallest tape). Any PTFE tape should be fine for a DWV situation where the fittings almost seal.
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

No plumbers putty.

Blue Monster sealant should be fine and probably easier for you than tape. (They also make tape.)

Put some on threads and washer, tighten, test. Sometimes it's trial and error.

Look at the washers available closely as well while picking up sealant.
Flat rubber (commonly black in color) washers work with metal to metal connections mostly.

Plastic to plastic uses a milky colored plastic or "nylon" washer that is beveled.

There are also beveled washers that are soft rubber/vinyl material that work well to increase your chances of getting a good seal.

Both of these are a better choice over a flat rubber washer.
rkhusky
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by rkhusky »

Teflon tape is cleaner. Wind in the same direction that you thread on the nut - overlap once.
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kevinf
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by kevinf »

You should strongly consider converting it to a standard polypropylene p-trap. They come apart easily and have easy to replace parts available from any home center.
Last edited by kevinf on Wed Jun 12, 2024 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
neilpilot
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by neilpilot »

rkhusky wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:50 am Teflon tape is cleaner. Wind in the same direction that you thread on the nut - overlap once.
Nope - just Google it: Teflon tape is not recommended for use on PVC pipes or fittings. Wrapping Teflon tape around plastic male threads can increase stress and tensile strain. Instead, you can use a sealant for threaded PVC joints, such as thread tape or pipe dope.
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

neilpilot wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 11:33 am
rkhusky wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:50 am Teflon tape is cleaner. Wind in the same direction that you thread on the nut - overlap once.
Nope - just Google it: Teflon tape is not recommended for use on PVC pipes or fittings. Wrapping Teflon tape around plastic male threads can increase stress and tensile strain. Instead, you can use a sealant for threaded PVC joints, such as thread tape or pipe dope.
Depends. I think I've used them all. From oxygen tape, PTFE, nickel impregnated, etc.
Read closely.
What's a threaded PVC joint?
He's working on a compression joint that is not NPT nor BPT.
I would dare say from experience that any tape would not cause issue vs. sealing benefit.
The purpose and intention of what you mention is for threaded connections between PVC or similar material.
The tape, any tape actually in my experience, can allow enough extra space compression within the joint to make the joint susceptible to cracking on the female side.
It is something to be aware of and note, but not in this application in my opinion.
Last edited by PoorPlumber on Wed Jun 12, 2024 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

kevinf wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 10:51 am You should strongly consider converting it to a standard polypropylene p-trap. They come apart easily and have easy to replace from any home center parts.
I "think" (danger, danger , lol) this is what he already has but wasn't describing it correctly.
JonFund
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by JonFund »

You've saved $200 but you still have a clogged drain. Do yourself a favor and just call the plumber and get it fixed.
bombcar
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by bombcar »

The “washer” is usually a very specific type. The threads may not even have to be water-tight if it’s the kind I’m thinking of, as compression holds it shut.
rkhusky
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by rkhusky »

neilpilot wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 11:33 am
rkhusky wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 9:50 am Teflon tape is cleaner. Wind in the same direction that you thread on the nut - overlap once.
Nope - just Google it: Teflon tape is not recommended for use on PVC pipes or fittings. Wrapping Teflon tape around plastic male threads can increase stress and tensile strain. Instead, you can use a sealant for threaded PVC joints, such as thread tape or pipe dope.
Thread tape is the same thing.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-Fasta ... /203529858

And use common sense. Don’t put on 10 layers and torque to 100 ft-lbs. A drain is not high pressure, no need to over-tighten.
gavinsiu
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by gavinsiu »

If this is a bathroom sink, the most likely culprit is hair. I usually clear them out with one of those snake with hooks along the edge. Fish around the sink and you eventually pull out a wad of hair. Once the hair is pulled out the sink works well again.
PoorPlumber
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by PoorPlumber »

bombcar wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 11:56 am The “washer” is usually a very specific type. The threads may not even have to be water-tight if it’s the kind I’m thinking of, as compression holds it shut.
You are correct! However, things are sometimes "off" . A little misalignment this way or that. Manufacturer machine out of tolerance for a run of parts.

Whatever. Sometimes the parts need a little help with tape and/or thread sealant.
wilked
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Re: Need Help Unclogging a Drain

Post by wilked »

If you want help solving the leak, it will help to post a photo...
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