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Thread: question of snaking a T intersection

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member strangerdanger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default question of snaking a T intersection

    I recently bought a new house.
    There are two bathrooms next to each other on the second floor. Both sinks connect
    into a T inside the wall.
    I had a backup and tried snaking it hoping to get it. I've only succeeded in having the snake come up through the other sinks drain. The blockage appears to be in the section that T's off from the sinks.

    Short of taking one sink apart and ripping the wall is there a trick in getting the snake to make the turn in the T?
    The snake is one of those that I can hook up to my drill and have it spin and feed.
    I've tried the fast and furious approach as well as the slow. I've bent the tip to see if I could
    catch it in the T but so far no joy.
    It looks like the T goes horizontally to the outside wall and then down to the main drain somewhere.

    I've looked into going into the basement and maybe trying to go backwards, but I can't seem to find
    the pipe coming down not sure if it ties in somewhere in the wall with another T or 45.

    Would appreciate any pointers.


  2. #2

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Now you see why it's so important to use the proper fittings!
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Hairyhosebib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    Name:  ROOTER BUDDY 7.jpg
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Size:  39.5 KBName:  ROOTER BUDDY 8.jpg
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    Here is something I invented from my resin casting ideas. I call it the ROOTER BUDDY. I work on a college campus. This kind of installation is the norm and a real pain in the ass to unstop. My original version was a 3/4 inch 45 and pipe. You have to grind down a portion of the 45 to get it in the pipe. Once in, it just drops down a little and this will allow the cable to easily pass and go down where it needs to.
    Recently we hired a new plumber on the night shift. We went to a similar situation. I whipped this out to stick in the pipe . I let Kevin fiddle for awhile and he could not get the cable to drop. I told him I invented this thing and he said he sure wish he had thought of it. I stuck the 45 in the drain, shoved the cable in and ran it and we had the drain unstopped, put back together and out the door in about ten minutes! Though I don't know all there is to know about plumbing, I'm pretty good at unstopping a drain. Two months later that same scenario happened again but Kevin forgot. I told him I would bring my magic invention over after he and the electrician spent an hour trying to get the cable to go down. I arrived at the scene and my boss was there. He supposedly has 17 years of plumbing experience. He later told me he never thought of doing that after all the times he has endured the same problem and told me I should sell them. BINGO! That's the smartest thing this guy has ever said to me. So, I made up the rubber cap with a nice hole and decided to use 1 inch copper pipe. It also comes with two solid caps for testing to make certain the stoppage is actually cleared. I created this cutaway to show what it is and how it works. They are $35.00 each with free postage to the lower 48 USA. The pipe is 6 inches long. It takes a lot of steps to put a kit together. I cut the bottom off of a pop can and glued to to the end of a 1 1/2 inch PVC adapter. I made a silicone mold of it. I then took the master and cut a hole in it so that the pipe would be a somewhat snug fit. It helps keep it in place so that your two hands can safely operate the drill snake.. I use a rubbery resin from Polytek. It is PT FLEX 60. Mixes 1:1 by volume and cures pretty quickly. These are pressure cast too.
    Last edited by Hairyhosebib; 03-16-2013 at 12:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    IF it was installed properly, there will be a cleanout plug in the wall either between the two sinks or underneath one of the openings. You do NOT have to demolish the room to clear the drain, but you probably need a plumber with the right equipment. My snake's head will not go through a 3/4" copper ANYTHING, but why would I pay $35.00 for a piece of copper tubing and a cut off 45?
    Last edited by hj; 03-16-2013 at 02:07 PM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Hairyhosebib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    I know your head won't go through 3/4 inch anything because I run with a 3/8 inch cable with the head cut off. I chose to make them out of 1 inch copper because most people would not think about cutting a head of of a cable and too freaked out at the mention of doing such a thing. You have probably never lost a head off of a cable. It is not good news to get a drain unstopped that you may have had to do battle with only to pull the cable out and find the head snarled in a mess or not there anymore. I sure have. Now you have something new left in the drain to cause another stoppage later.
    Why would you pay $35.00 for a length of copper and a ground down 45 and those three rubber caps? Because a 1 inch 45 is damned near 8 bucks at the hardware store. The store did not give me the pipe. I made it up to begin with. I took the time to create it. There is plenty of manual labor to create the kit to begin with. Would you be able to build your own drain cleaning equipment? They don't give that stuff away. They are in business to make money like you are in business to make money fixing peoples plumbing because most are not smart enough to know how to not have a plugged drain. The rubber cap with the hole in it will allow the cable to get washed off some so that you don't pull it out covered in that yummy old black drain goo. The solid caps can be used in case you need to go get parts so that sewer gas won't spew into your work area and stink it up.
    There are several gigantic kitchens in dorms that have constant drain problems. I have told them about things like BIO CLEAN. The idiot managers say they don't have money for that kind of maintenance but they have to pay Facilities management a lot of money every time we respond to a call. They pay about two grand to get the gigantic grease traps sucked out, maybe more. For a supposed world class institution of higher learning they sure don't have very smart people running anything.
    CLEANOUTS! I could go on and on about cleanouts or the lack of them. I love it when I am told there are two sinks plugged in a restroom. I walk in the restroom and there are four sinks and no cleanout at all. So I have to pick between which trap is the least likely to fall apart or cause any other problems when taking it apart. Then I stick the cable in only to have it cross over to the other sink trap and of course not go down because it is not plumbed right. So then I have to feel what the cable is doing and it might just go up the vent too. I can't just cut a hole in the wall to install a cleanout as the wall might be "hot" or contain asbestos. Unstopping a drain like this is not very fun. A lot of times when a cleanout plug looks like it is going to be a pain in the ass to remove I take a unibit and drill a hole in it big enough to get the cable in and then plug it with one of those expandable urinal drain plugs.

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