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A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink

 
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:49 AM   #1
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A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


I have some confusion about my tub/sink relationship. When I drain the hand basin the water backs up into the bath tub. The toilet sits right over the stack, its just fine. The tub has always had a very slow drain and because of sharp turns in the pipe work (as seen from an access wall in a near closet) at least coming from the tub , it can not be snaked. Sulfuric acid did nothing to speed it up. I do know the drain from the tub inside IS VERY SMALL! It does have standard size drain pipe OVER the tiny opening I can see and feel from the inside tub opening, that will just a allow a single digit or a thumb. I have no idea if the two issues are connected. I removed the trap from the sink and tried snaking straight into the wall below the sink. No matter what I do, no snake will go more than a 12"-16" in and then is stopped dead. The sink drains quick enough, it just backs up in the tub. I did not join their "Plumbing Club".

I did have a plumbing company in. He looked at the upper drain hole and did not investigate below where it actually goes into the attached drain pipe. Thew hole is too bloody small! His advise "just snake it out", RIGHT!, like I had not tried that before acid!

While I'm here, an other curious thing is the gurgling I hear in other parts of the house when a toilet flushes or a bath drained. Very weird plumbing in this house! (IE: I flush the upper toilet it makes a lot of gurgle in the lower tub drain pipe. & other weirdness'.)

Last edited by JTemple; 02-05-2013 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Corrected info +
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


The tub and sink drain lines combine together somewhere before they join the stack. The drain line is plugged somewhere after this connection. The toilet most likely uses a separate pipe run to the stack. Improper venting can cause gurgling, but so can other things.

Yes, you'll have to snake, and you may have to open a wall or floor to get to where the plugged area is. A lot of times the simplest thing to do is remove the sink trap and try snaking from there. Also, spin the snake as you push to help the end find it's way around corners. Patience is a virtue.

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Old 02-05-2013, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


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Originally Posted by hdavis View Post
The tub and sink drain lines combine together somewhere before they join the stack. The drain line is plugged somewhere after this connection. The toilet most likely uses a separate pipe run to the stack. Improper venting can cause gurgling, but so can other things.

Yes, you'll have to snake, and you may have to open a wall or floor to get to where the plugged area is. A lot of times the simplest thing to do is remove the sink trap and try snaking from there. Also, spin the snake as you push to help the end find it's way around corners. Patience is a virtue.
I did separate trap from wall pipe to snake straight into the wall, as I said in my post. SNAKE WILL NOT GO, NO HOW! The toilet sits right on top of the stack and flushes directly to the stack. I had done all that you suggested, short of tearing out the wall, prior to posting here.

I think I'm going to invest in a video feed to have a look at what is happening with plumbing in this house.

Too often I am finding I have to do all investigations and point out what needs doing, then a company will say OK and do as request. The problem with is approach is: I am just a painter/decorator. I know how to trouble shoot but I am no expert on other trades. (I am becoming an expert on companies that are no danged good)

As for trades and pros, I wish I still lived in Toronto!

Last edited by JTemple; 02-05-2013 at 02:13 PM. Reason: +
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:44 PM   #4
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Are you usiing one of these?:

http://www.plumbmatetools.net/store/...&products_id=6

About the only way one of those would stop is either it's hit the plug or someone didn't use a sanitary tee.

If you're hitting the obstruction, you should be able to feel a little give to it. The little corkscrew end will wind into most obstructions and pull them out piece by piece.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #5
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Quote:
Originally Posted by hdavis View Post
Are you usiing one of these?:

http://www.plumbmatetools.net/store/...&products_id=6

About the only way one of those would stop is either it's hit the plug or someone didn't use a sanitary tee.

If you're hitting the obstruction, you should be able to feel a little give to it. The little corkscrew end will wind into most obstructions and pull them out piece by piece.
I really need to get a camera and look. It will be cheaper than tearing out walls and plumbing to look for the problem. Trust me, I really worked that snaking, with a larger and then smaller. Took several runs at it Nothing gives, nothing comes out, its just solid. I wonder that it drains at all. I really do feel like I'm hitting a brick wall. Absolutely, something is screwy behind the wall. It wold appear to be no more than 3ft of piping between sink and tub,but when you look under side the tub from the access closet, the pipes from the tub drain make a sharp turn at the base of the tub and go straight back along the length of the tub. I still think it should take the snake but no dice. Below is a rough diagram.
A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-img439.jpg
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


That's normal for a tub drain. To snake it, you remove the overflow plate or drain trip lever plate above it on the side of the tub, and snake down through there. If it has a trip lever, a few sections of brass rod attached to a brass cylinder will need to be pulled up out through the hole before snaking.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:31 PM   #7
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Quote:
Originally Posted by hdavis View Post
Are you usiing one of these?:

http://www.plumbmatetools.net/store/...&products_id=6

About the only way one of those would stop is either it's hit the plug or someone didn't use a sanitary tee.

If you're hitting the obstruction, you should be able to feel a little give to it. The little corkscrew end will wind into most obstructions and pull them out piece by piece.
Nope, just manual snakes. Once I figure out where the blocking is I will call in plumbers. I would just prefer to know the why and where before they tear out my "art Deco" bath room wall. I do believe in pros its cheaper than doing things I haven't a clue about. I just like to know how deep I'm in before I make the call. (In my 56 years, I have been led down the garden path more than once!)
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:47 AM   #8
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


A kinetic water ram may solve your problem, but I have seen very few drains I could not get a cable through, and I always start with 5/8" cable.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:23 AM   #9
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerToiletSpider View Post
A kinetic water ram may solve your problem, but I have seen very few drains I could not get a cable through, and I always start with 5/8" cable.
It looks like the ram is for clogs and is a sort of super plunger. I looked over their site. I do like the look of the tool but this "feels" like sold rock. Not a scrap comes out.

I may get one anyway. It looks like a good thing to have. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:18 AM   #10
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


What's on the backside of the plumbing wall of the tub?

Any access underneath?
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Last edited by TimelessQuality; 02-06-2013 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:40 AM   #11
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


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Originally Posted by TimelessQuality View Post
What's on the backside of the plumbing wall of the tub?

Any access underneath?
The best I could do to picture the situation


A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-004.jpg

A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-006.jpg

A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-010.jpg

A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-011.jpg

A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-013.jpg

A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-015.jpg
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:46 AM   #12
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-029.jpg

A Visitor from Paint / a plumbing question / bathtub backs up  from sink-017.jpg

A couple more,l as you can see access is near impossible without some wreckage! The sink pipe is about 4.5' from the tub drain pipe and is left side of the tub.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:04 AM   #13
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Keep trying to snake. Don't give up. Get a bigger, stronger person to do this, since it will be a pain to push and turn the auger at the same time.

You might be able to snake from the tub drain itself (not the overflow in this case) using a 1/4 auger with a tight head that can get past the crosshair of the tubdrain. (I'm adding this correction: try snaking from the tub as a last resort. One typically goes from the overflow, but with your pipe configuration it's not possible. Also, we can't see one of the bends in the tub drain - might be another 90, which would be really difficult)

If it doesn't fit, I would instead snake from the sink. Personally, I find it a pain to snake from under a sink. Instead, I leave the trap in place, temporarily unscrew and pull out the pop-up lever, and snake from the bowl. I get better leverage that way. (When you're done, remember to put the lever back!)

Alternatively, get two other people and try to vigorously plunge the line. I would let the water back up into the tub a bit, cover the overflow with a wet rag, cover the sink drain and overflow with wet rags, then get to the vigorous plunging.

BTW, what acid product did you use? How much? What method exactly? If you leave this thing alone for several hours, does it drain at all?

Last edited by MarkJames; 02-06-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:22 AM   #14
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJames View Post

Snake from the tub drain itself (not the overflow in this case) using a 1/4 auger with a tight head that can get past the crosshair of the tubdrain.

If it doesn't fit, I would instead snake from the sink. Personally, I find it a pain to snake from under the sink. Instead, I leave the trap in place, temporarily unscrew the pop-up lever, and go from the bowl. I get better leverage that way. (When you're done, remember to put the lever back!)


BTW, what acid product did you use? How much? What method exactly? If you leave this thing alone for several hours, does it drain at all?
I tore out the cross hairs in the tub drain to get a good look at the inside opening, which as I suspected is no bigger than can allow MY 2 fingers, the black PVC pipe is amply large enough but it hides a very small drain hole.

I snaked from the tub drain, from the upper sink, removed the trap and snaked directly into the pipe that enters the wall under sink. No matter what approach or how I wind and twist the snake. 16" and it is like a brick wall.

ACID: sulfuric / twice in both sin and tub / allowed to stand 10 minutes and flushed with cold water on low flow for an other 5 minutes.

I'll get "hubby" to try snaking to see if his heft can get any result.
In this house I am generally tool man and he is very bookish! To quote him, "I don't know nothen 'bout no tools!" (He has a degree in both chemistry and lit, lol)
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:39 AM   #15
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


So it is draining slowly/eventually?

Are you really using sulfuric acid? That's usually a last resort. Or are you using some kind of sodium hydroxide product like liquid plumber, etc.?

If you're really at the sulfuric acid phase (I use something called "Hot Power", then I would do this: let it drain, Wait even longer so the drain below the trap also clears. Get a funnel, face mask, respirator, (all the precautions), and pour about 1/2 gallon carefully into the tub drain. Remember that you need more volume than what would just sit in the trap of the tub drain. About 1/2 gallon would probably be right. Then let it do it's work for 10-15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. If this is what you've done already, and it didn't work, then you might just have to get hubby to snake. But I would think the sulfuric acid is going to do it.

BTW, if it takes 10 minutes for the tub to drain, then I would wait 10x that, at least, before I go with chemical. The longer you wait for the drain to clear, the better.

Last edited by MarkJames; 02-06-2013 at 11:46 AM. Reason: wording
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #16
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Looks like someone didn't use sanitary fittings everywhere. That can make snaking very difficult, but not necessarily impossible.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:58 PM   #17
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


The basin that backs up into the tub is in the same room, on the same level of the home?

In the last picture in post 12, is the pipe that runs to the right in the photo the basin drain?

Also in the last picture in post 12, the drain(?) to the right of the tub drops down, is the lower line where the tub connects, the it drains to the left, out of the picture frame?

What wet room is up stream of the pipe that is running next to the tub? Is the kitchen or a powder room up stream?

When you drain the basin does the grey water quickly end up in the tub?

Where is the main stack/toilet in relation to the basin-tub? A picture of the room would help.

From your description of the problem, the line from the basin to the tub drain is clear. Otherwise the water would not get to the tub.

Depending on your answers, I believe I have a solution.

All the drains appear to be 1 1/2" DWV pipes. That size would be correct for the fixtures.

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:01 PM   #18
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJames View Post
So it is draining slowly/eventually?

Are you really using sulfuric acid? That's usually a last resort. Or are you using some kind of sodium hydroxide product like liquid plumber, etc.?

BTW, if it takes 10 minutes for the tub to drain, then I would wait 10x that, at least, before I go with chemical. The longer you wait for the drain to clear, the better.
Yup, really did use real sulfuric acid, twice. Now me thinks the instructions were a little weak. I wondered at the recommended amount because I suspected it was just enough to fill the trap, maybe a little more. I will follow your instructions and see what happens. Given your comments, I did not wait anywhere near long enough. I will give it 60- 90 minutes next run.We have two baths, so its not going to be needed urgently. Cold water flush or hot? Instructions said cold.

I am trying very hard to not need to rip out the wall & tub. If I reach the point of calling in the plumbers it will mean ripping out some wall and tub UNLESS they can do it from the access in the neighboring closet. Not much room so I doubt it.

tjbnwi:
Yes, the sink is in the same room and even against the same wall as the sink and drain end of the tub. I'm an idiot, the sink is to the RIGHT! Yes it goes quickly up the tub, so quick, its in the tub before the sink has finished draining! The stack is on the opposite wall to the sink and tub drains and the toilet sits directly on top of the stack.

A bedroom is on the drain end and the lower end is the exterior wall. Kitchen is directly below that bathroom and the stack runs straight down the the exterior wall and WILL be hidden by a bulk head (?). Its in the open right now because it was just replaced. It was cracked wide open from end to end.

I will take an other round of acid & possibly snake. If that fails again, I'll use the phone!
Thank you for the extended instructions. Labels on such products are a little over cautious. If a moron buys the stuff instructions won't matter and if a reasonable and careful person uses it, the instructions set them up to fail. (or so it looks, right now.)

Last edited by JTemple; 02-06-2013 at 08:19 PM. Reason: +
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:33 PM   #19
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


I'm going to strongly caution you against using any acid at all. It should never be used, nor should drain cleaner. The why's of not using them----

If it does not penetrate the clog you or the plumber has a caustic hazard to deal with.
The fumes are very hazardous.
It will destroy the temper of the cable on the sink rod, it makes them very weak.

Looking at the layout, and from afar. The below assumes the drain to the right is the basin drain. When you riddled from the basin, the rod ended up in the pipe that runs along the right of the tub, there is no way you'll get the rod through that "y" from the basin. Where is the trap for the tub, I bet they caused a double trap for the basin (I hope you have a trap for the tub)?

I would cut out the "y" the horizontal and vertical elbows, we know the line is clear to the tub, otherwise the basin would not drain into it. I would rod through the exposed pipe from removal of the vertical elbow. I would recipe by installing a "y" or "t" on the line to the right, connect the pipe that runs along the tub to the fitting (I believe it is a vent, probably plugged so rod it also), continue the line on to where it needs to be tied in. Make sure it is past the tub trap.

Please stop using drain cleaners.

Tom
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: A Visitor From Paint / A Plumbing Question / Bathtub Backs Up From Sink


How long have you lived in the place?

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