Stubborn pipe blockage problem snaking hasn't fixed

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Dig Doug, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. Dig Doug

    Dig Doug New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Problem: kitchen sink almost fully stopped up. All other sinks, toilets and baths are on other side of house and connected together and have no problems whatsoever. Pipe from sink is 2" and I'd say about 50 feet before joining the rest of house pipes; I can follow the pipe in the crawlspace a good ways before it disappears in the wall. As there are no problems with the rest of the house, I assume the problem is in the 2" pipe between the sink and where it joins the pipe for the rest of the house. All pipe is PVC.

    A few years ago called plumber out and they got it flowing for $500. We quit putting anything down the drain, although dishwasher debris obviously still goes.

    Problem came back recently. Wife used a few bottles of Drano that didn't seem to help. I told her to stop using chemicals. I snaked it with a 50 foot snake; very little on the head when I pulled it but got it flowing for several weeks. Stopped up again and 50 foot snake didn't get it flowing. Bought a 100 foot snake. Couldn't retract it so I pulled it out through the cleanout (which I measured to be about 85 feet from the sink). Got a little flow but backs up when I run any water beyond just a little. Not 100% blocked because it does slowly drain. Snaked it to the cleanout and pulled it through three times total. No noticeable debris on the head. Each time I try running hot water and soap right after but it backs up quickly.

    Looking for advice on what to try next. I assume I have buildup in the pipe but I do get the 1/2 inch snake through it. How do I get that removed? Is there a safer alternative to Drano I should try? Or try Drano now? I do not want to hurt myself with chemical residue the next time I snake it.

    POST-NOTE: wife is super concerned over COVID or we would have had a plumber come in. For now, I'm relegated to fixing it myself or living with it until COVID passes and she feels safe to have someone in.

    Thanks in advance for any tips or advice.

    Doug
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    1. When you get a clog, measure how much water you can put down the drain before the backup. From that, we could estimate how far away the clog is. Where the pipe transitions from vertical to horizontal is a common place for a clog. Maybe replace the medium 90 bend with a long sweep 90 bend, or better yet, a combo. If a combo, feed the new port from a pipe outside connected to a cleanout, for easy rodding.
    2. Actively seek out the vaccine.
     
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  4. Dig Doug

    Dig Doug New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Wife wants to wait to get vaccine for a bit to see if it works with variants, so option 2 isn't feasible.

    Prior plumber cut pipe below sink where it starts going horizontal, so that 90 degree bend is okay and no clog between sink and it. There are two 45 degree bends before it goes into wall. Not sure what's after that.

    I will try measuring water in the morning after nothing has been drained in it.

    Are there any semi-safe chemical solutions? Or effective natural solutions? We've tried baking soda and vinegar and soap and hot water.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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  6. James Henry

    James Henry In the Trades

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    Jul 23, 2019
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Billings, Montana.
    It's food gunk in your drain. If you don't want to waste a bunch of time I would just go under the house and cut the pipe in half then shove a garden hose in the pipe in both directions with a straight nozzle and set the water stream so it sprays in all directions, then couple the pipe back together. Works every time.
    Beware, Messy but effective.
     
  7. Dig Doug

    Dig Doug New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Every time I try something "simple," I screw it up, so cutting the pipe will be my last resort. If/when I do, I'll try it right at where the pipe goes into the wall.

    Reach4, I will try the Bio-clean mentioned at the link you provided.
     
  8. Tuttles Revenge

    Tuttles Revenge In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Close to where it goes into the wall. Leave enough to attatch a No-Hub band onto as the place you can simply take that pipe apart again when needed. Maybe even leave a clean out WYE fitting in that area instead.

    Is the pipe plastic or steel that you're having an issue with?
     
  9. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    I steer clear of drain cleaning but this sounds like a good example of the 1/8th inch jetting. Id do it on my own house . a lot of real naysayers on jetting but Id feel comfortable with it. plus I already got a good pressure washer . I mean a good candidate for jetting.
     
  10. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Location:
    Virginia
    I deal with these all the time. If the problem is reoccurring and snaking restores partial flow then you probably need to hydro-jet the line. It's basically like pressure washing the inside of the line.
    When you snake it you're only poking a hole through the grease/sludge. If you use the correct head on the snake you can get close to the cleaning effect of the jetting. The chain knocker works best if you don't want to get hydro-jetting done.
     
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  11. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

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    Oct 16, 2019
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    If you have a pressure washer you can buy a cheap kit on ebay to do the job yourself. They sell kits for electric or gas units. The difference is in the gpm and psi. The only drawback is that you probably won't be able to get a camera to check the line. I always run a camera while jetting to make sure the line is clear. It's possible to jet past hard clumps and think you've completed the job only to have it clog again soon.
     
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  12. Dig Doug

    Dig Doug New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2021
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Pipes are PVC.

    I see the jetting kits. I have an electric pressure washer. This may be the way I go first, although I'd like to try the Bio-clean. It sounds too good to be true, but may be worth a shot first.

    I got my snake stuck at about 50 feet and could not pull it back out no matter how hard I pulled, thus I kept feeding it until the head hit the sewer cleanout and I could pull it out.

    My snake has a fixed head. I was wondering if there were a way to rig up something bigger to attach to it so I didn't have to buy another.
     
  13. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    plumbs was talking about what I was as far as jetting goes. a chain knocker I haven't used either but seen them and seems a viable option. in any case being a kitchen I think its grease . never tried the bioclean.
    pick any of the suggestions and try it. jury rig something to your snake might be risky id pass on that
     
  14. Tuttles Revenge

    Tuttles Revenge In the Trades

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    Oct 15, 2014
    How good are your welding skills.. The chain tool mentioned above could be fabricated onto your snake.. Just depends on how skilled/brave you are.
     
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  15. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

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    Location:
    Virginia
    You should be able to find a plumber who takes Covid precautions.
    I wear gloves, mask, boot covers, lay down tarps and spray disinfectant on all the work areas I touch. I also spray my equipment after each job and do contactless billing if the customer is paying with a credit card. I'd be surprised if you couldn't find someone in your area that would at least take those steps if you request it.
     
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  16. Tughillrzr

    Tughillrzr In the Trades

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    Jan 29, 2020
    Location:
    New York
    Your friend has shared a link to a Home Depot product they think you would be interested in seeing.

    Medium Drain Bladder

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/301879205

    use caution. Works every time!
     
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I think that drain bladder would depend on being able to turn the corner down a bit. The sanitary tee will have a leg going up that could take the pressure and route it though other vent lines to other fixtures, or possibly even out the roof if there is not branching to other fixtures.

    I used a drain bladder successfully by cutting out a section of drain pipe in a basement under a kitchen. Shove the drain bladder in, and turn on the water. Put the section of pipe back with flex couplings. I actually ran the drain bladder in the pipe down to where the piping turned from vertical to horizontal. The spray and oscillation at the tip helped I think. That technique would not be available on a slab.
     
  18. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    What could go wrong? just alittle joke.
    Its a 2 inch plastic line in a crawl space there have been so many suggestions good ones mainly . the big thing here I think is get after it "nothin to it but to do it " an energetic helper once told me pretty much accepted that wisdom from a kid just about half my age.
    I suggest the OP review what's going down the drain. grease , spagetti, onion and potato peels. you know you got a problem do something different
     
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I think slinging chains is for cast iron, and not for PVC.
     
  20. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

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    Oct 16, 2019
    Location:
    Virginia
    Actually, chains work awesome in PVC. Not the chains with carbide teeth on them, smooth chains. They will eviscerate grease clumps and other soft blockages. When used properly there is less chance of damage than using a blade or spade bit.
    I run them with my k-50, drill or flex shafts. I have yet to damage PVC. I doubt a novice would cause damage in PVC with one, at the very least it would be safer than a blade or hook end.
     
  21. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Location:
    92346
    A lot of people still pretty paranoid about the virus .maybe extend clean out out side if feasible it will be appreciated in future
     
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