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Thread: Sink drains slow

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    Default Sink drains slow

    hello to everyone,

    I have an older home and my sink will not drain unless you let it sit for a long time. when you walk into the bathroom you have the sink to the right, a toilet next to the sink and then a tub next to the toilet. i looked under the house and all 3 pipes run together and go to the street to drain. I have pulled the pop up out and cleaned that, i took the p trap out and cleaned that i snaked the drain pipe with a 25 foot snake and there was nothing blocking it. what could be wrong? could this be a vent problem? if so how can i fix it? i would think if it was a vent problem then i would be having problems with the toilet and the tub but they drain fine. any help and i would so thankful.

    thanks

  2. #2
    In the Trades mtcummins's Avatar
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    Post some pictures please, of the piping under your sink as well as whatever lines you were able to see underneath, where you said they join together and go to the street. This will help us in trying to determine your problem.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    here is under the sink. i am not able to get a pic of under the house but i will try to get one.Name:  2011-11-20_14-04-34_740.jpg
Views: 505
Size:  17.8 KB

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    i just posted a pic of under the sink. i hope this helps you to help me out.

  5. #5
    In the Trades mtcummins's Avatar
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    Nothing looks obviously wrong under the sink. Is there a vent line coming off the top of the Tee where the drain line enters the wall? I can't see that from this picture.

    Technically, a clogged or missing vent shouldn't slow down or cause a clog in the drain. Its primary function is to ensure that water remains in the trap and sewer gasses don't escape into your house. There is a small effect of helping water move more quickly as the drain can cause a suction force and the vent allows air to freely move through, but this is relatively minor. The lack of a vent won't cause a clog, but could make an existing problem get worse than it otherwise would.

    You probably have a problem under the house, but w/o seeing it, its hard to say.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtcummins View Post
    Nothing looks obviously wrong under the sink. Is there a vent line coming off the top of the Tee where the drain line enters the wall? I can't see that from this picture.

    Technically, a clogged or missing vent shouldn't slow down or cause a clog in the drain. Its primary function is to ensure that water remains in the trap and sewer gasses don't escape into your house. There is a small effect of helping water move more quickly as the drain can cause a suction force and the vent allows air to freely move through, but this is relatively minor. The lack of a vent won't cause a clog, but could make an existing problem get worse than it otherwise would.

    You probably have a problem under the house, but w/o seeing it, its hard to say.
    no there is not a pipe going up into the wall...it just goes down when it goes into the wall...

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    Name:  SINKKITCHENSINKROAD.jpg
Views: 489
Size:  41.7 KBName:  TUB.jpg
Views: 481
Size:  35.6 KBName:  TUBTOILETSINKROAD.jpg
Views: 471
Size:  41.4 KBhere are 3 pics i hope they help...i labled the pics the best i could...

  8. #8
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Your first picture shows a cleanout at the end of the line labeled "sink". Snake the line through that cleanout. It may help to run water down it at the same time to flush it out.

    We cannot see all the bends, but using that cleanout it should be pretty easy to determine if the restriction is above or below that point.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    ok i will do that next...and as far as the bends what you see is all i can see...the pipes come out oc the floor and come straight down and then you see then from there.

  10. #10
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Also worth mentioning is that if you are pushing a 1/2" diameter snake down a 2 or 3" pipe, you won't be accomplishing much. The line should be scoured with a mechanical power snake with an appropriately sized head.

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    DIY Junior Member robertbarnes's Avatar
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    i was thinking that too so i went and got a bigger snake. the pipe under the sink is like 1.5 inch pipe and the head of the snake was almost the same size. I have a drill powered snake that is a little smaller and a bigger hand powered snake. tomorrow i plan on removing the cleanout and running the snake from under the sink and then going down to the cleanout to make sure i see the snake and then taking the snake down to the clean out and cleaning out the pipe from down there. If all is cleaned out where do i turn next? I mean if all is clean to the main drain pipe that is going to the road what do i do next if that dont fix the problem? cause i know the tub and topilet that go into that same drain pipe have no problem. man i hope this works

  12. #12
    In the Trades mtcummins's Avatar
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    does the kitchen sink flow easily? If so, then your problem is between the downturn of the pipe under the sink and where the kitchen sink ties in. Most likely it is in the horizontal portion by the cleanout. shine a light down in there and see what it looks like... it may be time to chop out a section there and put in some new piping, that horizontal part is probably corroded all to hell and making the water flow slowly, catching hair, etc.

    also, you have no venting whatsoever in this setup that I can see, other than some wet venting from the main stack. if i were you (without going to the huge trouble of putting in a proper vent which would be the right fix), I would cut into that horizontal PVC line under your sink back near the wall and install a Tee with the Tee part pointing up and the curve going towards the wall, go up about 4-6 inches, and install an air admittance valve. a little air flow behind that drain won't hurt, and if nothing else, will prevent sewer gas from entering your bathroom.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    IF the sink drain turns downward, then you have an "S" trap, and MANY things, other than a plugged sink drain, can cause the sink to drain slowly, or not at all, and snaking the sink line will NOT help it. IF this is the problem, an "air admittance valve" will be completely useless to help the situation.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  14. #14
    In the Trades mtcummins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    IF the sink drain turns downward, then you have an "S" trap, and MANY things, other than a plugged sink drain, can cause the sink to drain slowly, or not at all, and snaking the sink line will NOT help it. IF this is the problem, an "air admittance valve" will be completely useless to help the situation.
    would you care to enlighten us what some of those things could be? i thought that S traps were only really a problem b/c the suction force of a fast draining bowl of water or something like that could suck the water out of the trap and cause a sewer gas problem, which an AAV should address. are there other problems associated with S traps?

    what other problems would cause a slow drain if everything else on that main line is draining fine?

  15. #15
    DIY Member Hardt's Avatar
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    Red face

    After replacing my lav faucet a few of months ago, it drained slowly. It drained slowly with the old system, too. When removing the old pop-up assembly, there was a lot of hair & crud snagged onto the bottom of the stopper and I figured that this was the cause of the slow drain so I was puzzled that I still had that problem. Well, I lived with it for a couple of months before I decided to fix it! I didn't care that it drained slowly but that because of the resultant pooling, there was hair/shaving cream, etc. stuck to the sides of the basin that I had to clean! What was happening, was that there was only about 3/16" gap between the bottom of stopper and drain flange and it was not large enough to avoid pooling. The rod that raises the stopper was at its max lift limit, so my only alternative (as I saw it) was to glue a 1/8" thick piece of plastic to the stopper assembly at the point that the rod lifts the stopper assy. and this fixed the problem. So now the opening is 5/16" & no matter how wide open the faucet valve is, it will not pool and there is less cleaning!

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