Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last weekend, I conquered a plumbing project.

For YEARS the sink in my bathroom has drained slowly.  Years.  Since we moved into the house.  It started off just sluggish, but got progressively worse.

I can claim some of the responsibility for this since I have long hair, and the shedding cats can claim some part as well, since water from the faucet is indescribably delicious and is in fact almost the only place they would drink.  Anybody's unguarded water glass will work as well.  Naia taught this to Coco, and it continues to this day.  A water dish?  Pffft.

Anyway, slow drain.  I've tried vinegar and baking soda, boiling water, bleach, plunging, and even resorted to using dangerous lye drain cleaner.  All would help for a little while, then it would gradually clog up again.  So frustrating, made even more frustrating by my inability to get the drain plug thingy out of the drain.  Every other house I've lived in had plugs that came out by twisting to unhook a little piece and then pulling up.  That didn't work in my sinks here, so I was left with trying to shove the baking soda through the gap under the plug and into the drain, which needless to say was not optimal.

Finally fed up this weekend, I bought a drain-unclogging kit that came with a bottle of lye compound and a cheap plastic barbed snake.  I also emptied everything out from under the sink and got down under there to see what the plumbing actually looked like. I was ready to completely disassemble everything in sight, if necessary, in my pursuit of a free-draining sink.

Before taking the drastic step of removing the U-bend, I decided to try unscrewing the only other movable part I saw: the lever that connects the top-of-sink plunger handle thingy to the pipe and raises and lowers the drain plug thingy.

I am all about the technical terms.

I unscrewed the random connector and pulled out the connecting rod, and voila! That was what was holding the drain plug in!  Oh hooray!  Now at least I can get the lye directly into the drain!

But wait, when I pulled out the drain plug, a nasty glob of nastiness came up with it.  I cleaned that off in my bucket, and used the barbed snake from my kit to extract another very small glob from the pipe.  Lo and behold, I can now see all the way down the pipe to the bottom of the U-bend!

I put the plug back in, reattached the piece I unscrewed, and tried the sink.  It drained!!!  And no need to use the toxic chemicals!

Hallelujah and let the pleasant tooth brushing begin.

So that's more than you ever needed to know about the state of my sink.  Be glad I didn't take pictures, because it was gross.  The point is that I DID IT.  Myself.  I figured it out, it only took 10 minutes, only cost $5, and my sink has been draining perfectly for five days. 

I am invincible.


kt said...

you certainly are. i can hear you roaring all the way over here!

aknitter said...

Good Job! I just paid a plumber $120. to unclog my basement laundry drain. It wasn't as simple as yours. I did, however, just invest in a drain 'blower-outer' (yes technical term), which if used regularly, will keep the gunk from building up to the point to clogging. The plumber used one and it fixed the problem, after his motorized snake-thinging didn't get it. It does feel good to know how to fix these things.