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Thread: rust clogging drain line?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member astro46's Avatar
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    Default rust clogging drain line?

    old (70? yrs) house, cast iron waste lines, in a 3rd floor bathroom that is infrequently used, the sink drain is clogged. the tub and toilet seem to be ok. i have taken off the trap and tried cleaning with a hand snake. i have gotten the snake in 4 feet and have taken nothing out. no hair. just some flakes of what look like rusty metal in the water when removing the full trap and draining the water left in the pipe. on the 4th attempt the snake hooked on something at around 3 feet and took a while to get if free. i stopped for the day.

    during the rodding water comes back on the snake (like it is creeping up the snake; capillary action?), brown, rust colored. if i plunge the sink, the water is rust colored.

    is it possible that the galv pipe or cast iron waste/vent lines have dropped enough rust to clog the drain? what is the likelihood of clearing this with rodding? what else might be going on here?

    jeffrey
    Last edited by astro46; 10-27-2008 at 06:43 PM. Reason: additional info

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    The likelyhood of a pro clearing the drain with his snake is close to 100%...

    The likelyhood of you doing it is less than 5%...

    Call a pro!

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    What Redwood says. Thing is, a hand snake is too puny to clear a drain in almost every case. The clog can already be too deep, the small snake may just punch through it without clearing it, or the small snake just pushes it deeper. A professional has a power snake of sufficient size, length, and power to auger clear to the street or septic tank and really clear the pipe. These are professional sized tools and should only be used by an experienced professional for safety reasons, and because it is easy to damage the snake if one does not have the experience and training to operate it. So, even if you can find one to rent, don't. Also, forget about chemicals. They create a hazard for the plumber you will end up calling and will not open the drain in spite of the advertising hype. If you do or already have dumped chemicals in, tell the plumber what and how much you put in.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member astro46's Avatar
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    thanks for the advice. how about the question? could the clog be caused by rust dropping from the cast iron or galv pipe? and, is infrequent use a possible contributor to the problem?

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    A 70 year old house could have a drum trap for a drain, which would correspond to your description of how far you got before stopping.

  6. #6
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astro46 View Post
    thanks for the advice. how about the question? could the clog be caused by rust dropping from the cast iron or galv pipe? and, is infrequent use a possible contributor to the problem?
    Infrequent use is the main problem. Drains clog for many reasons, but lack of use will make a clog worse. Your using enough water to push the junk out. The drain will be very hard to clear with any machine. The best thing to do is jet the line or replace the line.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

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