Remove frozen bathtub drain

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by nursedoe, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Remove frozen bathtub drain=Update at the bottom

    1. Cross bar things are gone.

    2. Tried prying up a piece and grabbing with needle nose pliers to turn. No luck

    3. Used hacksaw blade to cut a notch at the angle where the flat part of the flange goes down to the drain. Then screw driver and hammer counter clockwise to loosen. But no

    4. Hit the darn tub hoping to break a piece, but it is iron or steel and that was not helpful except for stress relief.

    5. Used a blow dryer on HOT trying to melt old plumbers putty we assume is under there, but no help.

    6. Looked for more suggestions here, but #3 is all we found beside something that calls for some expensive tool.

    Any thing else?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
  2. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    Since the tub is already trashed there is no need to remove the drain thingy. Go around to the other room and pull that insulation from under the tub. You should find where the drain thingy connects to the plastic drain piping. There will be a trap between the tub and the drain. Between the trap and the tub there should be a slip nut connection, merely undo that slip nut.

    OR, you can cut the piping between the tub and the trap, probably with your sawzall.

    BTW, if the tub makes a solid thunk when you hit it with the hammer it is cast iron. If it sounds rather tinny it is pressed steel.
  3. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Still trying

    Okay, went to the other room, a clothes closet, and removed those boards in the way. Pulled insulation, which revealed ROOTS! I mean serious roots, wrapped around everything like something out of a bad science fiction movie. So, we vaccuumed for bugs, dust and spider webs, then srayed pipe connections with Kaboom to help us loosen them. But the darn vent is in the way. I vote for cutting it out and covering it with plastic wrap while we work without trying to be pretzles. For some reason she votes not to mess with the abs.

    Dorothy is under there now ( she is much stronger and braver about the critters scurrying about us. She is a soldier). She said that she sees what you are talking about and I am off to Lowes to get insulation and hack saw blades, some 1x6 pieces of wood to protect the floor and a new Roto zip ( the one I got just got isn't working and we wanted to upgrade anyway).
  4. get a small chisel

    If you plan on re-useing the tub..


    jsut go get a small cold chisel with a very sharp
    edje.....

    simply chisel into the lip andcut the brass lip
    all the way into the drain iteslf....

    cut with the chisel in the direction needed to screw the
    drain out ---counter -clock wise...

    perhaps a little wd 40 on the drain while you are
    chiseling will make it go easier,

    their is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass witha chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......


    do not hit your thumb...
  5. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Thank you, but we are not going to use the tub again. Just want to get the darn thing out!
  6. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Messages:
    630
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Center cross is gone...
    Buy an inside cutter - inexpensive tool that looks like a miniature saw blade on a 4 or 5" post - stick it through the drain hole and use it to cut the ABS from the tub side...
    It will cut the ABS tailpiece easily - no messing under the tub...
    [​IMG]
    put home depot (no space) in the *** area
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
  7. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    I now have quite a collection of saws: mini hacksaw, close quarter saw, sawzall, rotozip, regular hacksaws, dremel saws, chop/miter saw, scroll saw, jig saw, chain saw, and some big saw for lumber but the name escapes me. Something should cut that stuff. If I have to take a chain saw to the whole darn thing.

    The only ABS is the vent. EVERYTHING is iron under there. Or brass, or something very heavy and green.

    When I poke something into the drain, it makes a 90 degree turn toward the plumbing in the closet. It is metal and heavy all the way. Iron or brass under the tub. And spiders and assorted pale bugs and tree roots wrapped around the pipes holding them firmly in place.

    hmmm Wonder if Daughter in law has experience with explosives?....:)

    Back to work. Since we have no brawn, we have to count on our brains. And yours of course.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
  8. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Clueless in the Desert.

    So, on the top of the tub, prying, chisel use has led to a loose drain that still will not turn. It moves inward or side to side, but not around.

    On the bottom end- some progress, but we have decided to give it up for now. What we find is that the tub itself flares out a bit to join with what feels like those good old brass couplings in the backyard water main leak. Very, very thick and heavy. But, in between there is something that feels rubbery, like a washer. I got a small hack saw between there and could hear it cut to about the depth of the blade. It sounds like it is rusty or corroded under there. But the flashlight died and my arm got tired. I go back to work tomorrow, so no work will be done for a while. We have time to think about it.
  9. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,347
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    You are trying to take out the waste and overflow.sawzall the trap & shoe
    off the bottem of tub.take screws out of overflow.
    Hammer time.
  10. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,347
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Use 18 t per " metal blade.
  11. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    That was beautiful, Mark. Mind if I use it?
  12. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Duh!

    I'm baaaa aack! I worked lots of over time at the hospital, I should be able to hire some help soon.

    Okay, I had to find some illustrations for bathtub parts to understand what you meant. I have been trying to cut the waste elbow, which is very heavy metal. I have improved my biceps greatly. And who needs yoga or pilates when you can twist yourself in a pretzle trying to squeeze in those tight places! AND bugs!! Eeeewwwwwwwwwwww! I cleaned up most of my prior mess, and just laid down in that closet trying to figure out an easier softer way. I wanted to let you all know that I totally change my mind about plumbers and the prices they charge! You are worth it. I am going to try cutting higher up on what I think is the trap. I bought the rotozip pro and it has metal cutting wheels and looks like fun. Wish me luck! If I get too frustated I may just cut the whole darn tub up in pieces with the roto zip metal cutting wheels.

    What follows is just a story from nursing school and is not strictly plumbing. The first day of orientation, the new student nurses watched a film called "handmaidens no more". During the first part, a nurse was talking about how ( back in the 60's?), she made only about 11.00 with a bachelors degree and her plumber made four times that salary without any college education. And nurses will often joke/complain with each other about our salaries compared to yours. But you know what? You deserve what you make.

    I work my bumm off too, and we both deal with so much excrement, but I rarely come home from work bleeding from cuts and abrasions that are certain to become infected given how they got cut, bitten by goodness knows what manner of crawly things, and I don't have to leave my job site to go buy more equipment several times a day. For the most part, I work in air conditioned buildings that are clean and dry. Just wanted to say that I finally understand why you get paid so much!
  13. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,347
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    Thank you I have been a hospital and apprecate all the hard work you do.
  14. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    I've never been a plumber (although I have fitted a heck of a lot of pipe) but after my nice cushy engineering job was eliminated I spent the last two years prior to retirement working in a hot, dirty, noisy high-pressure boiler plant.

    During that two-years I was hospitalized with a kidney stone (got a free ride to the hospital in the fire dept. aid car) and about a year after retirement spent a day and a night in the hospital with a bladder stone.

    Based on those experiences I feel confident in saying that I could NEVER be a nurse. I would prefer to be laying in sewage, under a house with a 12 inch crawlspace with spiders crawling over me while working on a bathtub trap than being a nurse, no matter how much the nurse's job paid.

    I have tremendous respect for anyone that can be a nurse.
  15. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    I hate that bathtub!

    Crikie ! (is that how Steve Irwin would have spelled it?). I lost the phone number of the bathroom demo guy! I thought I had it on a saved document, but apparently not.

    I give up on it today. Maybe my brain needs a rest.

    My job is physically and emotionally challenging- I work in world famous children's hospital. And we all deserve more money. I just now have a much better understanding of it seems like you charge so much. I would pay bank right now for someone to rip that darn thing out so I can get on with the fun stuff, like putting up the hardibacker, new plumbing, and finally to the tile! I want my own shower back!

    nursedoe
  16. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    you might look into this

    there is a nice tool called a golden extractor. it has saved me many times taking out the tub shoe. you will need two people to do it know that the trap is cut off. that is one person under the tub to hold the drain with a pipe wrench and the other to turn the golden extractor. to use this tool you will need a ratchet.

    good luck with all that
  17. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Next?

    We got the drain out.[​IMG][/IMG]
    My son used the rotozip to cut it out. My nephew, and a friend of my younger son worked hard to pull out the tub, which was not fastened down in anyway. However, with the drywall in place, it did not come out. I wrestled with myself for awhile. Knocked out the whole door jam, but for some reason we could not get it to tilt towards us and back toward the wall. Removing the yucky insulation ( which I had sprayed last night with lots of bug spray after seeing a black widow), revealed that the water comes in from outside under the tub. Crickey! I spent a while cleaning the lovely fiberglass and what I assume is asbestos paper. The pictures below show the crazy pipe work underneath it all. (We capped the supply lines so we can still have water).

    1.Those pipes can't be right! We want to do this right because we don't ever want to do it again. Any suggestions while the walls are out?

    [​IMG]

    2. I think the green indicates there has been some leaking in there. We don't see dripping water, but think that we want to fix the joints.

    3. The drain still has a good carpet of roots that I am going to cut out. How shall I kill them? Round up? I want to keep them from coming back somehow. What do you guys use under there?

    4. We are considering taking out the tank water heater and replace it with a tankless one but can't decide if they are worth it. All I have is my bathroom on the that tank and it does seem like a waste to have that tank going all the time for a five minute shower in the morning. My current tank is about 10 years old, so on its way out. The tankless ones seem so expensive! Home Depot has them for around 600.00 bucks. I think I prefer it to be outside if I go that way, which means moving more pipes. Weeeee! (Actually that is the FUN part)

    This seems like the best time to make changes. I am anxious to get the my favorite part- tiling, but I want to do a really nice job on the plumbing. All suggestions are welcome. My plan for the rest of the afternoon is taking out the old smelly insulation (fiberglass) and cleaning everything very clean. I am thinking that I need to replace some of the wood that has been wet and looks moldy. I am not sure when to replace it, or just clean it and spray it with that industrial mold killer.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
  18. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    1. I can't tell a whole lot from the picture. It appears that you are on a slab. I assume that the line coming from the lower left hand side is the cold water supply and it runs to the water heater location. The pipe just inside of the stud (center of picture) is probably the cold water after the main shut-off valve and it goes through the stud wall, down through the slab to some unknown and to the bathtub faucet. The pipe farther to the right is the hot water line and it goes to the same places as the left. It certainly is a bit of creative pipefitting but other than the copper being in direct contact with the concrete I don't see anything too terribly wrong with it.

    2. The green indicates that the person that soldered the piping did not bother to wipe off the excess flux after soldering.

    3. It appears that you have a broken out area of the slab that is containing your trap and drain piping. I would clean that area out and seriously consider making a concrete chase for the trap.

    4. I don't like tankless heaters. They are finicky when it comes to flow rate and unless you have absolutely pristine water they require periodic descaling. If all you use this for is a morning shower and washing out your mouth then I would suggest an electric tank-type heater. Electric heaters lose very little heat in a standby state and you could even install a time clock to limit the time it may be energized.


    It's too bad that you don't live down the street from me as I would gladly swap labor of my doing your plumbing with you doing my tile work. :rolleyes:
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,985
    Location:
    New England
    Do a search on tankless and you'll get a bunch of heated discussions. There are people that swear by them, and (most) others that don't. Suggest you only consider one if you're in a very temperate location...just like waving your hand through a flame, they heat water by passing it by heat. If it starts out really cold, you can't slow it down or make it hotter with the short path...it will only raise the water temperature a fairly fixed amount, so if your incoming water in the winter is 33, it will end up being cool; if it is 60 or more in the summer, it could be hot enough to seriously scald you. Then, just run it a little, like say to wash your hands, and even in the winter, it could be too hot, or then, until you have enough flow, it won't turn on at all.
  20. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Yes, I am on a concrete slab. I live in the high desert of California, so our weather is pretty extreme. We get 110 in the summer and snow sometimes in the winter.

    I didn't break out that concrete. ( Good eye, btw). It seems to have been chisled out for some reason.

    I didn't know that there was a problem with the concrete touching the pipe. I think he had some asbestos paper on the bottom.

    I called a plumber today and he will be here in the morning. He is licensed. He has been up here for 37 years. He sounds "mature". I called him to deal with the tub drain, but think I may ask him to help me install the whole tub.

    I am sure I could eventually do it, but I really want to make sure this is done well. There is NO way I want to go through taking out a bathtub again! We had to use the roto zip to cut the tub up enough to wiggle it out of there!

    I would gladly swap plumbing for tiling any day! I love to tile. In fact my neighbor asked me to stop. I tiled my front porch with mexican tiles, and liked it so much that I put some hand painted tiles around the front door and tile house numbers and on one side of the door a beautiful tile with a handpainted Virgen of Guadalupe. She hadn't spoken to me much before then, but when she asked if I was going to put more tiles up ( I wasn't), I told her that I thought I would frame all the windows in hand painted talvera tiles in very bright colors! You should have seen her face!

    I just don't like how the pipes look. Is that too weird? I just really want them to look much neater even though I hope never to see them again. I have NO problem replacing them with new copper pipes. I just think that it seem crazy the way they are laid out going off every which way.

    The ones that lead off through the wood seem to be going to the washer on the other side of the wall.

    As for the tankless, I have heard mostly postive things. I love that you are pointing out things that I had never considered. My goal is to reduce my level of stress. Scalding and freezing showers are stressful. I will give it some more thought and research. Thanks!

    I will let you know what the plumber says and does in the morning. I am so excited to get this project over!
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