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Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 08:36AM
My neighbor called me to say water was coming out at the base of her toilet when flushed. I thought, easy, needs new wax seal. Well, when I went there, the toilet is flushing fine with no leakage. Shower and sink are within 4 feet of toilet. The sink is clogged so I tried the shower. It drains but there is a backup into the toilet drain, so that's where she saw water coming from bottom of toilet.

I removed the toilet and ran the shower, the water rises in the toilet drain. I plunged the sink drain and it now drains with no backup in toilet drain. I tried plunging the shower to no avail. The toilet flushes and drains fine. I'm perhaps assuming incorrectly, but I figured the drain for the shower/sink is connected to the one for the toilet. So why would the shower backup into the toilet drain if it flushes ok and the sink drains?

I'm trying to help her out since the two plumbers she called want $300 just to come out on a Sunday morning.

Drano down the shower drain? Keep plunging? I tried a simple snake I have but it won't make the turns through the pipes.

Also, all of the pipes are in the terrazzo floor so not accessible.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: September 08, 2019 08:53AM
Maybe its a volume issue. A toilet is only going to produce about a gallon of water per flush, which won't necessarily fill a 3 inch drain pipe if partial clog is down stream a bit. A sink faucet also does not produce all that much volume of water.

But a shower can produce a couple of gallons of water a minute, and maybe filling the drain pipe with water to the point where it is at the wax seal, causing the leak.

I would consider running a snake in the toilet.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: pqrst
Date: September 08, 2019 08:58AM
Maybe use some food coloring into the shower drain to help troubleshoot? See if color shows up in toilet bowl?
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 08:59AM
Not a bad idea, might be fun, too!
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 09:02AM
I would consider running a snake in the toilet.

Yeah, thanks. My feeble little snake that I own doesn't want to make the turns. I think you are correct about the volume.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: pqrst
Date: September 08, 2019 09:17AM
Home Depot rental dept is your friend for things like that. Or harbor freight. The caveat is that an oversized tool (lol) could damage or break the pipes and then that is real trouble.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2019 09:20AM by pqrst.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: BernDog
Date: September 08, 2019 09:28AM
Does this need to be fixed this morning? Is there another toilet available somewhere? Monday plumber prices are much cheaper than Sunday prices. Also, check into a “rooter” type of service instead of a plumber.

Edit: Actually, you don’t need another toilet. Put the toilet back with a new ring. Just don’t use the shower until it’s fixed. You’ve diagnosed the problem, and the toilet should be fine to use.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2019 09:31AM by BernDog.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 08, 2019 09:31AM
Its generally better to manually clear a blockage. Having a clogged drain is a mess, but having a clogged drain with a bunch of acid in it is an entirely different problem. that said, if you want to reach for a drain clearing agent I wouldn't bother with Drano. maybe try some of this - [www.homedepot.com]

but you need to be good and careful with it.



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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 08, 2019 09:40AM
Snake it, I use this from Lowes for $25. I makes the corners, goes over 20-feet, and works by hand or drill.

[www.lowes.com]


You could also run a scope down the line to see what's there, but if the snake doesn't clear it then time to call the plumber..



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 09:44AM
Thanks, she does have a second bathroom. So since the sink is draining and the shower is backing up, can I assume the line from the shower to toilet is clear? I'm thinking Markintosh is right in thinking the clog is after the toilet.

I'll see where she wants to go from here. I'm willing to help her out, but I don't want to be responsible for any damage to her almost-impossible-to-access-sunk-in-terrazzo® pipes.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 08, 2019 09:52AM
You could be right about the drain lin e from the shower, but if it was done to code it should not be connected directly to the line for the toilet.

If you have access to the vent pipe that goes through the roof, I would run a long enough snake through that to see f there is a blockage. A clogged vent can cause weird backups when the air can not vent when a shower or sink is draining.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 10:00AM
Good idea, it’s only a one story house with a flat roof so should be easy to get to. Still trying to decide if this is a me or Monday morning plumber job. She does keep giving us wine and really good home cooked Greek food for helping her now and again so this is a tough decision to make.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Carm
Date: September 08, 2019 10:04AM
Try Green Gobbler.
[www.homedepot.com]
After you snake the line. I use their bio flow sticks to keep the wash drain and laundry room drains free from odors.

To answer the question: “me or Monday” plumber. I would ask the wife. If she was ok with what you already did.
Snake the line.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2019 10:09AM by Carm.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: pqrst
Date: September 08, 2019 10:07AM
Silly question but I've cleared a few clogs by using a toilet plunger to force air down a shower drain. Good way to get some exercise and it makes a satisfying whomp whimper sound. Even if it doesn't work.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Date: September 08, 2019 10:13AM
Samuel L. Jackson leads a stellar cast in this probing sequel: “Snakes in a Drain: This Time It’s Personal!”



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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: September 08, 2019 10:22AM
When my bathroom drains are clogged & pulling the bits of hair out doesn't completely
clear it, I use Roto-Rooter Max Gel Clog Remover.
It's cheap, doesn't hurt pipes, and it just works using 6-8oz.
Only have to use it 2 or 3x a year. Walmart also sells it, a little cheaper than HD.

SDS PDF



39°36'17"N 75°44'43"W

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2019 10:54AM by MrNoBody.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 08, 2019 10:38AM
Quote
MrNoBody
When my bathroom drains are clogged & pulling the bits of hair out doesn't completely
clear it, I use Roto-Rooter Max Gel Clog Remover.
It's cheap, doesn't hurt pipes, and it just works using 6-8oz.
Only have to use it 2 or 3x a year. Walmart also sells it, a little cheaper than HD.

Basically a mixture of bleach and lye. Unless you know this is going to clear the clog, don't use it. The plumber called for Monday will appreciate it. If you do use this, or other drain cleaner and still have to call a plumber, let them know before they start working on the drain
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 11:04AM
Thanks all. I'm not saying I will, but if I go the liquid cleaner route, I'm guessing I would just pour it down the toilet drain since I have the toilet removed and that's where it appears to back up.

I think I may go and purchase that better-snake-than-mine at HD/Lowes. I really don't like using chemicals and my dear wife thinks we should help her out since she freaks easily.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 08, 2019 01:07PM
Let her know what you propose, give the I can try if you want, I'd do this at my house, BUT I'm not responsible if something goes bad. Let her decide between you and the plumber.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 08, 2019 01:35PM
Samuel L. Jackson leads a stellar cast in this probing sequel: “Snakes in a Drain: This Time It’s Personal!”

POMTL!


if I go the liquid cleaner route, I'm guessing I would just pour it down the toilet drain

I use Liquid Plumber once every month or two in my drains and all is peachy.

But it says on the bottle not to use it in toilets. I don't know why. Maybe it's because a toilet might be on a septic tank system. Maybe it's because of a potential splash back.

Just something to keep in mind, at least until someone has a definitive answer.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: rgG
Date: September 08, 2019 01:43PM
Quote
RAMd®d

if I go the liquid cleaner route, I'm guessing I would just pour it down the toilet drain[/i

But it says on the bottle not to use it in toilets. I don't know why. Maybe it's because a toilet might be on a septic tank system. Maybe it's because of a potential splash back.

Just something to keep in mind, at least until someone has a definitive answer.

He has removed the toilet, so he would be just pouring it down the drain, under the toilet, which should be fine, if he decides to go that route.
If toilet is on septic, all water from all drains goes into it.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Diana
Date: September 08, 2019 03:12PM
I would say that the toilet is porcelain and the Draino would etch the porcelain.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 03:19PM
As rgG mentioned, I removed the toilet so no issues there. The owner asked what I would do if it was my problem. I said I would try the snake. She said she would pop for the cost of the snake if I would do it for her. I’ll go pick one up tomorrow and give it a shot. She was willing to do the Drano thing but I wasn’t comfortable with it, she has two dogs and a super sweet little cat, I’d be worried about the possible fumes. Fingers crossed.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Carm
Date: September 08, 2019 03:29PM
I would go with an Enzyme unclogger instead of Draino. It should work on the slow drain.
And yes make sure the vent pipe is not clogged.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 08, 2019 03:32PM
Quote
Diana
I would say that the toilet is porcelain and the Draino would etch the porcelain.

Using a snake in a toilet will scratch the porcelain. I'm thinking that the reason that Drano says to not use it on toilets is probably more due to the way water flows through a toilet and needs to go up-hill before going down the drain pipes. So their heavier than water formula might not make it out of the toilet to get to the clog. Sinks and tubs will get the stuff into the trap where the clog hopefully is.

BTW: Some toilet bowl cleaners are based on Hydrochloric Acid, and they don't seem to etch the porcelain, just remove anything that clings to it.

[www.rbnainfo.com]
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 08, 2019 03:46PM
It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway – you were right, rg.

I did some searching and the main reasons not to use it seem to be twofold - splash back, and eating the wax ring at the base of the toilet.

So given the toilet is removed, and all drains lead to Rome, there would be no issue with Liquid Plumber, one should go that route.

As I use it in the bathroom sink and bathtub, I didn't think it would be an issue with the porcelain, but just going down the 'wrong' pipe.

So as the toilet is removed, I suggest some M-80s.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 08, 2019 03:46PM
Quote
GGD
Quote
Diana
I would say that the toilet is porcelain and the Draino would etch the porcelain.

Using a snake in a toilet will scratch the porcelain. I'm thinking that the reason that Drano says to not use it on toilets is probably more due to the way water flows through a toilet and needs to go up-hill before going down the drain pipes. So their heavier than water formula might not make it out of the toilet to get to the clog. Sinks and tubs will get the stuff into the trap where the clog hopefully is.

BTW: Some toilet bowl cleaners are based on Hydrochloric Acid, and they don't seem to etch the porcelain, just remove anything that clings to it.

[www.rbnainfo.com]

In a toilet you use specific type of snake designed to avoid scratching the porcelain, a closet auger. It will have a bend at the end to direct the snake in the right direction and have a plastic or rubber boot on that area to protect from scratches.

Drain cleaners are not acid based, but made of strong bases, usually lye. Or for the chemistry minded, sodium hydroxide.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Carm
Date: September 08, 2019 03:47PM
Here is some reading about drain cleaning.
[www.thorntonandgrooms.com]

[www.pippinbrothers.com]

Edit: the M-80s would work as long as a you had a containment for the explosive and an outlet for the expanding gases plugged to the drain. emoticon-animal-022



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2019 04:39PM by Carm.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 08, 2019 05:03PM
Since the toilet is removed and you won't be going through it, a regular snake will be fine.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 08, 2019 05:36PM
Thanks Carm, I'm not going to go the chemical route, never a fan.

Ombligo, going to pick up the one you suggested tomorrow after a vet visit.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: testcase
Date: September 08, 2019 08:26PM
Clogged kitchen drain lines are usually congealed fat (simple solution; wipe pans clean of fat / grease with paper towel BEFORE you wash them). Other clogged drains are usually hair build up (unless a child or someone someone else flushed something that should NOT have been flushed). For under $5, special "hair snakes" often get the clearing job done. They're usually short (18" ~ 24") so, are easily inserted into a drain. When pulled out, they take a lot of hair with them. A yucky job but, simple, low cost, low tech and fairly effective.


[www.google.com]


Plain BOILING WATER can do a very good job of clearing a clog too.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 08, 2019 09:12PM
A yucky job but, simple, low cost, low tech and fairly effective.

And at ~$5 a shot, the hair snake goes from the drain to the trash.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: September 08, 2019 11:23PM
Quote
testcase
Plain BOILING WATER can do a very good job of clearing a clog too.

A friend of mine who owned several rental properties that were big old houses divided into multiple apartments each swore by pouring a gallon of half Clorox/half boiling water down every drain once a month. If that kept the antique and likely undersized for purpose plumbing of those buildings flowing smoothly, then it gets my vote.



Lie to me if you must, but don't lie to me and insult my intelligence in the same sentence.

Resist the Thought Police: George Orwell's book 1984 was meant as a warning, not an instruction manual.

"Political correctness is just intellectual colonialism and psychological fascism for the creation of thought crime" - Steve Hughes

"I don't see color, I just see ugly" - Joe Jitsukawa
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Re: Clogged drain problem that doesn't make sense
Posted by: rgG
Date: September 09, 2019 11:52AM
Let us know how it all works out.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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