Yet another bathtub drain problem

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Jim Weisz, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Jim Weisz

    Jim Weisz New Member

    Messages:
    5
    About once a week, my bathtub regurgitates enough water to cover 1/2 - 2/3 of the bottom of the tub. The water has black, flakey gunk which does not drain back. Other info:
    1) The tub in on the second floor.
    2) No other drain has this problem.
    3) I've lived here over 5 years, and the problem only started a couple of months ago.
    4) Using one of those cheap plastic clog removers helped with the speed of draining (which was a bit slow), but another regurgitation happened a couple of days later.

    What's up wit dat?

    Jim "A computer programmer, not a plumber" Weisz
  2. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Jim,

    "my bathtub regurgitates enough water to cover 1/2 - 2/3 of the bottom of the tub"

    Does it do it when not in use ?? It's the 2nd floor ? Are you in an apartment ? Need more info !
  3. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I'd personally get a drain "scrubbing" done... they'll blast the drains from bottom to top with detergent and water which will slough all the crud off the inside walls of the drainage line. bet your problem will disappear. snakes and such do a great job of clearing things up temporarily but tend to just bore a hole through the centre of the problem (if this indeed is your problem) - if you have decades of build up inside the pipe, then it's a good idea to get it cleared out. If you left it long enough, I'm sure you'd find the problem occurring elsewhere eventually. Lot's of other suggestions will be out there...!
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,874
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    A proper sized snake will do more than bore through the center of the problem, and if the drain is plugged all the water that a jetter is using has to come back up somewhere, and if it does not unplug soon enough that "somewhere" may overflow. Tubs do not regurgitate water. It has to come from somewhere and until you know where that somewhere is there is no way for us, or anyone else, to tell you how to cure the problem. One certainty is that chemicals will not cure it.
  5. Jim Weisz

    Jim Weisz New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Yes - it does this when it's not in use. It had occurred several times until I happened to be home and caught it in the act. The tub is on the second floor of a townhouse.


    Thanks others.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2005
  6. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    2nd floor bath

    HJ is right. You need to snake it out.
    I would go right in the tub overflow.
    Take the face plate, off-set it and bolt it back on with only one screw so that you can get the snake started down.
    That way you won't move the pipe or waste and overflow
    I use a RIGID electric drain cleaner with a 3/8" cable.
    Cable comes in 7-1/2' lengths.
    I don't put any thing on the lead end.
    I kink the lead piece of cable and that surely covers the whole inside of the drain .
    Besides you can run water while working and that both flushes the pipe and cleans the cable.
  7. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    But what would explain the tub backing up when it hasn't been in use and no one is home? the water must be backing up from somewhere else down the line...?
  8. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    bathtub

    Yes KRISTI, thats what I guess from this vantage point.
    Could be something in common with the adjoining townhouse?
    Snake it out...............
  9. Jim Weisz

    Jim Weisz New Member

    Messages:
    5
    That's what I'm wondering too. The sink, which I assume is on the same line, doesn't have the problem.
  10. Jim Weisz

    Jim Weisz New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Update: I got a snake and followed plumber1's directions (thanks for being explicit!). No amount of twisting or poking sufficed to get it in more than about 2 feet. There was no gunk present when I pulled it out and no apparent increase in drain speed.

    What's next? Should I just pop for a pro?
  11. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    drain

    Dont know what your snake looks like and may be I couldn't use the one you used either. You almost have to feel your way through the trap.
    I usually use my electric snake with 71/2' sections. 3/8" di.
    These little top snakes in a can are usually a waste of time.
    I don't know when the last time was that I couldn't clean a tub drain through the trap.
    Years ago 2nd floor p-traps were cast iron and had a brass c.o. plug.
    You had to gain entrance through the access door.
    Tub drains don't plug very often.
    Sounds like you have an unusual condition.
    I would like to be more helpful, sorry
  12. Jim Weisz

    Jim Weisz New Member

    Messages:
    5
    It's a 1/4" 15' snake (one with a tubular aluminum handle) I got at Menards.

    Too much for me - tomorrow I call for a pro.

    Thanks for your help - I appreciate it!
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