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Thread: Standing Water, Slow Drain in new tub install

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member spoon's Avatar
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    Default Standing Water, Slow Drain in new tub install

    Recently had a new tub installed as part of a complete re-do of a surround tile job that was done poorly the first time round. Contractor offered to put in new tub as they had chipped the previous one, and were redoing all the initial tile anyway.

    During installation, when old tub was ripped out and new one was being installed, the contractor had to remove the drain line because of misalignment. He pointed out how amazed he was at how clean the pipes were for an older installation. I said we were having drainage issues and had used vinegar and alkaseltzer and it had cleared the problem up perfectly. We had a good chuckle about it because he hadn't heard of that trick. The old tub was draining perfectly the week before the work.

    And now... the new tub drains very, very slowly. I can see grit in the drain and some larger pieces of debris and can feel hardened material on the 1 1/2" pvc drain with a finger. The contractor insists it is a pre-existing condition based on our conversation above. The only reason we had the conversation is that he was amazed how clean the line was!

    Anyway, attached you can see the picture of the drain. I had to "dry out" the drain with paper towel because it has standing water in it.

    My questions:

    1. Is the standing water in the drain, hours after the tub finally drains, a clear sign of pipe blockage directly in the tub drain?

    2. What is the likelihood that, if the contractor washed material down the drain during tiling, that a larger issue exists further down the line?

    3. Is it acceptable practice to wash any material down a drain during a tiling job?

    Any advice on countering the argument of pre-existing condition, if you agree with me, would be appreciated.
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    Spoon

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Have you checked the tub drain linkage assembly?

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member spoon's Avatar
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    Not sure what the terminology refers to. It doesn't have a trip lever for the drain if that's what you mean.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Yes the trip lever that is attached to the overflow is what I was referring too. Yours may not have one, but I could not tell from your photo.

    http://www.misterfixit.com/tub_drain1.jpg

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That drain is tapped for a "push/pull" or "lift and turn" plug so there is no linkage. It is seldom acceptable to flush tile grount residue down the drain, and I have had several instances where it completely closed the drain, and in one case it filled the main drain line for the entire house. There is no way for us to tell WHY your tub does not drain, but since vinegar and alkaseltzer, (or baking sode), may make a good volcano for a science project, but do nothing to clear the drain, it could be a "preexisting" situation.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  6. #6
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    That sure looks like mortar or grout residue. This is so common in the industry and shameful that such little respect is offered to clients new purchases.

    One common practice with tile crews is to send the youngest employee to do the grouting. It is often these "Green Horns" that do the most damage.

    JW


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member spoon's Avatar
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    To test my theory that it is just the immediate tub drain causing issues, as suggested by the standing water, I directed full shower flow thru the overflow pipe. No backing up at all after a minute. Within 3-4 seconds the same flow in the tub is backing up.

    As for the vinegar treatment, we had water over our ankles after a shower before for about a week, getting progressively worse. After treating there was zero backup, so it's not just a perception that it helped, it was night and day. The grime free pipes that have been there for over 10 years suggest it did something as well.




    Thanks for your responses.

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Acid disolves the calcium in cement so what's left is sand and other aggragates that may be in the mix. How quickly it does this depends on the strength of the acid. Most vinegar isn't all that strong, but leave it long enough, and it will do it. Had some residue in a plastic bucket that didn't get washed out completely...covered it with vinegar overnight, and what was left just rinsed out. A quick flush with it won't do much unless you can add some scrubbing action or use a much stronger acid (stronger acids can be dangerous - be careful and read and follow the warnings on the label). Weak acids over long periods of time created things like Carlsbad caverns, and numerous other really significant cave systems in the world all on weak acid rainwater.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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