Sink never drains, toilet plugs occasionally

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I have an old rental duplex with cast iron drains and a bathroom sink that drains very slowly in the second unit. This second unit is down stream from the first unit and closest to the main. The first unit has no plumbing issues. However, in the second unit the bathroom sink will sit half full and I think it eventually goes down. The Tenant says it has been this way the two years they have lived there. I don't know if the previous Tenant had issues with it. Tenant in this second unit says the toilet occasionally clogs and they have to plunge it. The shower (next to the toilet), kitchen sink and the washer past the bathroom sink drain fine.

A while ago I pulled the sink trap on the bathroom sink and tried to snake it at the Tee but because of the angle could not get the snake to go down. I also noticed water was sitting in the sink drain pipe just below the Tee. I put the trap back I went on the roof and ran a small snake down about 8-10'. It seemed like I was hitting something or there was a bend I could not get past. I did pull some hair and gunk out with the snake but the sink still would not drain. I poured crystal lye in the vent and could hear it working. I ran a garden house down the vent and it drained fine. However, the sink was still half full and rusty, dark water had come up into the sink.

The Tenant called early this morning and the toilet won't flush/drain, which has been an occasional issue. The washer (past the toilet and sink) drains fine. The first unit still works fine. When I pulled the toilet last summer in the second unit I did find some qtips around wax ring. I replaced the was ring and it the toilet worked fine. The Tenant said at that time her BF flushes qtips down the line. I told them not to flush stuff other than TP down the toilet.

There may be two issues going on, a clog in the actual toilet from TP or something and and partial blockage in the bathroom sink line. Is it possible qtips got stuck in the sink drain past the Tee in the bathroom sink? A razor head? I have read how hair clips and other items can cause blockage that a snake can't remove. Suggestions (aside from calling a plumber)? Thanks in advance!


In the Trades
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You don't call a plumber, you call a drain specialist. Plumbers use them too.
In my area they run all kinds of specials, and for the money they charge...hey, nobody can beat them.

You have two issues here.
The toilet will get clogged by Qtips. You may still have them inside the toilet trap. I also think that clearing the line would be beneficial.
The sink drain has a blockage just past the wall drain opening.

Who pays?
I would give the tenant a gift and pay for this, but tell them that from this point on, it's their responsibility, and that you will be expecting the drain to work if and when they move out.

Michael Young

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North Carolina
As a landlord, you should keep a toilet auger (buy a professional one at your plumbing supply store). and you should have a drill auger. We use the hell out of our drill augers. They are perfect for small clogs (like lavatories, tubs, showers). Because of the small head, my guys even use drill augers to go through the top of kitchen sinks (instead of having to pull the trap apart for access). One of the best $30 tools you can buy


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