Slow drain/clog in kitchen sink plumbing

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by mysinkispossessed, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. mysinkispossessed

    mysinkispossessed New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Please forgive me if this isn't in the correct forum - I didn't see one specific to kitchen sinks. :)

    Let me just start off by saying that I can not afford to pay a plumber hundreds of dollars unless I really can't avoid it, so I'm trying to fix the problem myself. Of course, I could end up having to do that anyway, on top of all the money I've already spent in DIY stuff. lol

    So, here's my issue:

    My significant other and I moved into our current home in January. The previous owners are sort of stupid in the way they did things in terms of renovations. We did a lot of painting, and rinsed the brushes and everything in the kitchen sink (which I've always seen people do so I didn't figure it would cause any problems in the plumbing as long as I flushed the pipes well afterward). Sink was behaving fine until a few months ago or so, when it started backing up while I was washing dishes. I use a dishpan rather than washing my dishes directly in the right side of the sink, and rinse them in the left side. Thinking it was a minor clog caused by food lying in the trap or something of that nature, I mixed vinegar and baking soda in the drains and let it go. The clogs always cleared easily that way.

    Then, it happened. My sink was possessed by some demon spawn from the depths of Plumbing Hell.

    It started slowly, backing up just a bit and draining once the water was off. I kept forgetting to buy DrainO. Finally, it backed up so badly that it took nearly 30 minutes to drain small amounts of backed up water. We tried DrainO, no results. I took off the trap (U shaped) to see if the problem was there, and it was perfectly clear. Water ran from both sides of the sink just fine with the trap off, so I figured it was further down the line. We bought a 25-foot auger and snaked the pipes under the sink (and as far under the floor as the auger would extend) four or five times. Still not much better. Finally, a neighbor of mine brought over a Drain King (bladder type of doohickey that connects to your garden hose) and that seemed to clear the drain pretty well. I boiled and dumped several large pans of water down the drain afterward to try to flush out any ickies that were left. The neighbor thought that the auto trap vent (indoor, not roof top) may have gotten all gooped up, so he suggested buying a new one, which we did. Bought new mesh strainers for both sides of the sink. The sink was fine for a few days and then BAM! Backed up again.

    We went out and bought our own bladder doohickey and used it, which again cleared the drain. More boiling water dumped in, followed by DrainO and the sink drained fine again for three days. Bear in mind that I washed dishes that evening, using the strainers, and have not washed dishes after that. So the only thing that's been going down the sink drains in the past three days is soap and water (from washing my hands).

    Then, it clogged again yesterday while I was washing a fork (because I always wash them before I use them even if they've already been washed). SO, today, I cleared it again. Yet more boiling water, and a lot of boiling blood. Draining fine. Again. Until it clogs again. Which at this rate will be in four days. And then I fear I may cut the pipes into shreds with a hacksaw just for the sheer pleasure of it.

    The pipes are PVC (1 1/2 inch, I believe). We have hard water. Am I forgetting any pertinent information? The kitchen sink is the only place having a problem - both bathrooms seem fine. Any suggestions? What could be causing it to run fine after clearing it and then suddenly back up again a few days later?

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to look at this. :)
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,382
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I think you have a clogged drain alright, but what you are doing isn't going to help clear it and is just going to waste your time and money. Chemicals do not work regardless of what the commercials try to convince us. The bladder devices don't work, nor do the hand-powered snakes intended for home owners. It takes a professionally sized and powered auger which is very dangerous for a novice to try to operate. You need to bite the bullet and have a licensed plumber (whose business name does not end in "Rooter") professionally auger the line. I repeat...do not put chemicals in the drain. If you do and then call the plumber, be sure to tell him what you put in, how much, and when. Some chemicals can be very hazardous to anyone working on the drain.
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    First how old is the home and do you have a basement or is it a slab home...
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It is time to call the plumber. DIYers seldom have luck with this problem...
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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

    Many stoppages are like sponges. All your chemicals and flusher are doing is opening some of the pores. All it takes is a little debris, or even softening part of the sponge so it can collapse, and the drain is plugged again.
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    It sounds like maybe grease in a belly or a rusted out galvanized line that keeps having dirt collapse into it.
  7. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Wonder if the sink dumps into a cesspool?
  8. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    :p

    Seems that those doohickeys would only serve to push and compact the clog further down the line.
  9. mysinkispossessed

    mysinkispossessed New Member

    Messages:
    2
    LOL! Somehow it sounds really funny to hear someone else call it a doohickey. But yes, I worried about that same thing.

    I fear I may have to finally call a plumber, and as I said at another forum, sell my limbs to pay for it! :p Can be so very expensive, but I worry about it just getting worse and worse and becoming even more expensive.

    Cass - it's a crappy old 1972 mobile home (slab) that we got for free because the owners left it in a shape that wouldn't have easily sold. Figured we could fix it up some and sell it, and stay there while we do it so we wouldn't have to pay rent at the same time. Sounds good in theory, right? :p If I was sure I could open the pipe under the house somewhere near the clog and take care of it that way, I would, but I'm worried about making it even worse. But I may have already made it worse, for all I know. Crap.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  10. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Kitchen sink drain

    I have seen your problem many times ! !
    What you need is a professional drain cleaner to come out and run a electric power snake though your kitchen drain to clear up your problem,

    look under drain cleaning in your phone book,
    many times these are cheaper then just a regular plumber
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