Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I've got a Sinking feeling

Shortly after we moved into our house we noticed that our bathroom sink was a bit of a slow drainer. It didn't seem terribly serious, probably something that we could take care of with a little baking soda and white vinegar.

I kept meaning to give it that treatment...

It got worse...

Finally I did it, but either I just waited too long or it was too big of a job for that method because it didn't seem to do much for it at all. Now it seems like it backs up every time we use it and it takes forever to drain. I feel like the fact that it still ends up draining is a good thing but it's still definitely something that needs to be taken care of.

Finally I broke down and decided to disassemble the u-bend behind the sink to clean it. In preparation I read up on the process online didn't shave for a week to show the sink I was manly and meant business.

Now, if you've been following our blog here you've probably seen pictures of our bathroom before and might have even noticed how ridiculously close our pedestal sink is to the wall. In fact it's so close that the plunger apparatus has actually scratched the wall where it sticks out the back. (That's something I plan on fixing by cutting it shorter so it clears the wall without a problem)

I managed to shift the pedestal of the sink and open up the space slightly but I still couldn't fit a bucket under the pipes. Instead I ended up putting some plastic bags under the pipes with some towels under that. It actually worked well.

The process was really pretty simple. I just unscrewed both ends of the u-bend pipe.

Then it popped right off... and smelled foul.

Then I unscrewed the nut holding the plunger apparatus in and finagled it out of the hole.

Then I looked around for a toothbrush. Meredith reminded me that mine was looking a bit ratty so I downgraded it to cleaning tool. I picked up the u-bend and what do you know?

Nothing in it. Not a hair.

I tried brushing out the pipe going into the wall and got nothing so I stuck a coat hanger in there. Still nothing.

I stuck the toothbrush up the drain pipe and didn't feel any resistance so I got up and looked through it.
I could see right through.

Well crud.
There's no crud.

Which left me at a dead end.

I figured the next step was to get a plumber's snake and try that so a few days later I tried again with one I borrowed from my uncle. I had shaved my beard so it came as no surprise when I could only get the snake to go a couple feet down the pipe.

It was at this point Meredith decided to show the sink (and apparently me) we meant business and took over the job. She got the snake to go in it's full length, but when she pulled it back out this is all that came out:

Yup. Dirty water. That's it.

I decided to go down into the crawlspace to see if I could open it up down there and use the snake (in case it just wasn't reaching the clog). When I got down there this is what I saw (sorry for the bad picture):

Aside from the supply lines the only thing that could possibly go to the sink is that 4" iron beast on the left and it disappeared into the floor above. There was no way I could open that up and snake it. I think we've reached our first project that went above a DIY solution.


We're going to try a couple more things before calling a plumber, namely: I'm starting that sink on a vinegar and baking soda regimen (just in case repeating the process might loosen it), we're researching alternate declogging options (has anyone tried anything like this?), and if all else fails we might actually try some Drano. *gasp* I know, I know, harmful to the pipes, the environment, etc. Maybe we'll try an all natural one like this first (in fact I might try this before anything else), but if it doesn't work... so help me.

On the bright side, if we do have to call a plumber to get this fixed and they have to replace any pipes (yeah I know, this bright side is a stretch) I might see how much it would take to get them to move the toilet since that's one of the bigger (read: third tier) things I'd love to do, and it might be a little less if we can get it done with some other work. We'll see.

Has anyone else solved an issue like this? Did you have to resort to calling a professional or did you find a wonder product that took care of everything?

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