Oh man, donít you hate when this happens?
Today on Repairs101 ñ Iíve got a sink that wonít drain and if youíre watching this
I imagine youíve got one, too. So Iíll take you through your options and show you what
you can do about it. Iím allowing the washing machine to vent
into the sink which allows for a build-up of what is otherwise just ìdryer-lintî that
never made it to the dryer. Iíll get you a shot of some of that stuff. Yeah itís pretty
horrible. OK as always the first line of defence is
going to be a plunger. Iím just going to get in there and see if we canít get a real
good seal on it. I say the plunger is the first line of defence because itís the most
ìeco-friendlyî choice you have: that is just to use hydraulic pressure to drive through
the blockage. You know this is the second time Iím trying this and itís really not
working out for me so Iím going to have to move on to something stronger.
Alright, so this is my snake. Thereís all kinds of different snakes, actually. This
is just an inexpensive manual snake that youíll find at virtually any good hardware store.
This oneís probably fifteen feet long ñ Iím not really certain ñ Iíve had it for
many, many years. And, the reason Iím wearing gloves, of course, it to keep me from coming
into contact with the horrible places that this little fellow has been. So Iím just
going to unwind it and drop it on the floor and show you that thatís what weíre looking
at. Itís nothing but a spring thatís been unwound a bit at the end.
So Iím just going to let it seep. I know itís probably going to be clear in a few
hours. Clear enough that I donít have to bucket it all outside or pitch it out the
window. So Iím just going to wait it out. Thatís often the best thing you can do, especially
with home plumbing like a toilet. Sometimes, if you can, apply the twenty-four hour rule
which is just come back twenty-four hours later because very often organic matter will
break down in the water in that period of time and clear itself. This isnít going to
but it will seep fast enough through the material. You can see, thatís just a rag I was using
yesterday. Iíve got a lid from one of these Rubbermaid storage bins and Iím going to
use that to catch the water. Look at that. Very often you can just undo these by hand.
You donít even need a pipe wrench. OK now there are a lot of options available
to you, as far as what you can use to open up that elbow joint. This pair of Channellocks
here might be kind of overkill, theyíre quite something. Just an ordinary pair that you
might find in virtually anybodyís kitchen drawer on the other hand is really all you
need. You can use a pipe wrench but pipe wrenches
are heavy and cumbersome and might be inclined to damage the plastic pipes. There is a new
style of pipe wrench available. That would certainly be very effective and very useful
but thatís kind of an expensive wrench for the average person. So I might still recommend
you go with the medium sized Channellocks here.
If all youíve got is say a chain wrench or a locking chain wrench, you know this kind
of stuff will obviously do the job but youíre going to have to be very careful, as with
the pipe wrench. You know, youíre going to have to be very, very careful ñ youíre dealing
with plastic fittings and they donít take a lot.
Now, a specialty wrench here: the manufacturer was kind enough to let us know what it is.
Itís called a ìSlip and Lock Nut Wrenchî and Iíve had a lot of use for this in the
boat building industry. I use it on plastic ìthrough-hullî fittings. Itís just a wide
jawed adjustable wrench and youíre just going to slip it like that. Now this is a very,
very light duty little tool. But if youíre collecting unusual toolsÖ and because theyíre
nice and light youíre not as likely to slip and say damage a new fibreglass boat when
youíre putting in thru-hull fittings. OK so this time Iím going to be wearing my
respirator with the organic cartridges on it. Although this isnít a toilet outlet it
is connected to all the other toilet outlets in the neighbourhood and the smell coming
out of it is just ferocious. Youíre going to want to ventilate the room well and ñ
like Iím doing ñ wear a respirator. Iíve already loosened off the top nut with
these Channellocks here. Iíve got my catch basin underneath, Iím just undoing it and
out it comes. Iíll just pour the water into this catch basin here and ñ to my surprise
ñ the elbow is completely clear. The problem is further downstream. Lucky for me Iíve
got a snake. Before you do anything else you need to shove a rag or something to plug that
hole because you get the sewage gas smell coming up because now thereís no water trap
to stop it. So youíve got to get something in there fast. Ughhh! The smell is just horrific.
Alright Iíve got my mask on, Iíve got my gloves on and Iím ready to tackle this thing.
The first thing Iím going to do is just back off that nut. OK itís loose. Iíve got my
catch basin here. OK Iím going in with the snake. OK Iím going
to use the crank. Itís a very crude little crank but it works nonetheless: it allows
you to spin. You just tighten that thumbscrew right there and the S-turn in the metal allows
you to crank a little bit then you back it off and feed some more in. There you go. Itís
going a lot further now. And, good. Check it out, that is the absolute end of my snake.
It is all the way in, all but this one foot that you see in my hand. So Iím going to
put my catch-basin right here again and slowly pull it out and clean it off as itís coming
out. This Rubbermaid lid ñ storage bin lid I was telling you about earlier. Very handy.
OK Iíve got my mask back on, my gloves back on. Iíve got a couple of wet rags and my
plastic bag ready to receive the snake. Weíll expect the worst and hope for the best. Pull
the plug. Iíll start pulling this thing out and feeding it into the bag, cleaning it off
as necessary. OK you can see this black organic matter coming up already. Thatís what Iím
going to try to avoid coming into contact with and Iíll try and catch it all with the
rag. Iím already seeing some schmere inside the plastic bag so Iím glad Iím using a
plastic bag because clearly the rag isnít getting it all. OK thatís pretty horrible.
Iíll put it with the rag and everything in the bag, get this plug back in for the moment
and get myself organized to put that water trap back in. OK, here we go. There we go
ñ you want a nice seat on this seal there. Then let this thing pull it down into it.
Now hopefully thatís going to hold water. Hand tight is generally tight enough and hand
tight on top as well. This is the critical area here thatís going to leak if we have
a leak. Iíll leave my catch-basin underneath and get some water in it.
[Water running] OK well I donít know that itís running properly
but I do know at least that the trap is full of water and so the smell canít come up from
the sewer and I can take this damn thing off. And here Iíve gone and knocked my glasses
off. How you doing? Itís not over yet though, I havenít even
tested it, but Iíll tell you this straight-up: if it doesnít work Iím going to pour some
Drano down there. And, you know thatís my last line of defence. You might want to go
and try a product like this Drano Max Gel. Iíve had a lot of success with this in other
areas of the house. So it says on the back it contains Sodium Hydrochloride and, you
know, itís a great product I just wanted to suggest that when youíre trying to decide
whether or not to use a product like that: consider the fact that the water youíre pouring
it into is indirectly the same water youíre drinking.
OK it sounds like itís going to require some more plunging. Yeah. Itís not free running
yet. [Water running]
Eventually I did break down and clean the sink. Kind of.