Long hair, tub drain constantly clogs

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by JEE, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. JEE

    JEE New Member

    Messages:
    5
    The drain in my bathtub clogs and slows frequently. It is very difficult to snake as the drain has a hardware bar that pulls down the plug, and it's hard to get around it. And the snake rarely brings up any clogs.

    If I use an enzyme clog remover, and follow with boiling water the next day, and do this repeatedly for 3 or 4 days, it helps--but the drain is still slow.

    The only thing that really seems to get it is "professional strength" Liquid Plumber gel, and that only with a boiling water chaser--and that's a horrible thing to be dumping into the water.

    I've tried a couple of different kinds of hair catchers/mesh drain covers--they catch some of the hair but evidently let some through, because it still clogs.

    Would new pipes be less likely to clog? Have we solved this problem in the 21st century, and it's just that I'm using 50 year old pipes?

    Is there a better solution to this problem (other than cutting my hair off?)
  2. smokinjoe

    smokinjoe New Member

    Messages:
    12
    DON'T cut your hair...

    I would take out the pull stopper and replace it with a rubber stopper..Also there are nets and/or drain baskets u can buy that will catch the hair..IF u continue to let the hair and other items go into your sewer someday u will have a large roto rooting bill to pay..Good luck to u...
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,026
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    That drain point is NOT the one you use to snake the drain. I am surprised you can even get a snake through it, but since you do, that means that your snake is too small to have any effect on the stoppage.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Hair is the principal culprit in tub drains, but the only long term remedy is a barber.

    However, given your description, you probably have a generalized buildup issue downstream a little, perhaps at the trap, perhaps at an elbow. And that buildup is simply a hair grabber, causing you the repeated problems, which will only slightly and temporarily be helped by the chemicals.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Most snaking is done from the upper overflow.
    That way you can pull the linkage up and out of the way, and the snake will then drop straight down into the p-trap.

    50 YO pipes?
    Try treating them with Bio-Clean.
  6. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    I use the liquid plumber too and with great success for this problem (although with a completely stopped drain I would not use it).

    From my experience it is best to leave a whole bottle in overnight rather than just the recommended thirty minutes and then flush thoroughly. Perhaps I am being stupid here (I'd be grateful if someone told me why) but it works with my wife's long hair and our fifty year old pipes.

    Bio-clean never worked for me despite the plumber relieving me of 30 bucks for a large pot of it, not on hair anyway, although it may have removed some of the large body of gunk that had built up on our pipes (I will need to check that someday).

    As an aside, I assume you bleach your hair blonde? We got far fewer slower drains in the shower resulting from my wife's long hair the day she switched from bleaching to dying at the hairdressers. I am guessing she is losing less hair because of the less harsh chemicals, which has resulted in less work for me :).
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Keep making mr. liquid plumber rich...

    For best results call in a pro!
  8. JEE

    JEE New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I have tried going from the upper overflow, but the snake doesn't "drop straight" into anything; it takes a great deal of effort to get it to go anywhere--and when it does, it seldom brings up anything. Perhaps I'm going about it wrong.

    With a problem that recurs every couple of months, calling in a professional every time is prohibitive.

    I'd love to trap the hair before it goes down the drain, but the baskets/traps/bonnets seem to let some slither through, or under--although there's always some left on the outside (I remove it after each shower.) Do you know of a more effective style?

    If I replaced my pipes, would new pipes be smoother, and less likely to hold up the hair on its way down the pipe? It's not as if I"m losing great wads every time--but the few hairs I do lose seem to add up. (And no, I don't dye, bleach, or otherwise treat it.
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You may find that a pro will go further and get more hair out making the clean drain run better for much much longer than a couple of months! Our company gives a 6 month guarantee on drains. I seldom go back! Less than 1%!
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,026
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Liquid plummer.

    Once the bottle is dumped into the drain and it flows away, it doesn't make much difference how long you wait. It is already in the main sewer and the only thing left for cleaning is whatever stayed in the obstruction.
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have a question...when was your house built?

    If you have a steel trap that may be a large portion of your problem.

    I have seen them where you couldn't get a 3/8 snake through them.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008

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