Clogged shower drain, help?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by caryatid, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    My shower drain is very very clogged with calcium and lime. DH insisted on going the chemical route (drain-o, CLR), and I've tried more tree-hugging methods *wink* (plunger, snake, a gallon of vinegar, hot water) and nothing has worked!

    Short of calling a plumber, does anyone have another other suggestions??




    Oh, and the calcium and lime being there is my fault. *blush* I did not notice a small stream of water coming out of the shower head. It wasn't an annoying drip- it was silent, so you wouldn't notice it unless you actually stood in the stall. Because of another minor problem, we had been using the shower in the guest bathroom, so this went on for months until I went in to replace the shower handles and noticed it. We have EXTREMELY hard water, so the mineral deposits on the wall were thick. After fixing everything, I spent 2 days scrubbing the walls... I swept up most of it, but I think enough flakes and powder went down the drain to clog it.
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Are you sure its scale that has plugged your drain? I would think that your 1/2" to 3/4" water supply lines would plug before a 1-1/2' plus drain line. I'd suggest going to the rental supply store and renting a power auger.
     

  3. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Most likely a combination of what you scrubbed down, old soap scum, hair, skin cells, etc. Yucky slimey.

    I don't think CLR is for cleaning drains. Isn't it more for surfaces?

    I do think you need a roto rooter.
     
  4. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    Pretty sure it is scale since I dropped it down there while chipping it off the walls.

    :doh:
     
  5. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    CLR- tell that to my husband

    roto rooter- *sigh* I was afraid you'd say that. (unfortunately I agree)
     
  6. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    I use a gallon of cheap bleach poured down the shower drain and left to sit in the trap overnight. The next day justflush it with hot water and maybe a plunger. The bleach deteriorates the hair and scum build up.
     
  7. Willowdale

    Willowdale Well-Known Member

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    Or just remove the trap and clean it by hand. I just did that. Gross. But no chemical was able to clean it.

    It was full of my roommate's long hippie hair - ack!
     
  8. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have hard water, don't waste money on CLR when you can just as easily soak a limed up showerhead in a jar of vinegar overnight , then add a little baking soda to the vinegar to "scrub finish it". Rinse and reinstall.

    Vinegar and baking soda can also be used as a pressure assist on moving a clog. Pour a quarterbox of baking soda down the drain, then wash it down the drain and immediatly seal the sink end with a plunger.

    The resulting reaction will build up pressure and force the plug further down the line.

    I use the baking soda / vinegar catalyst only after first using a dollar store gallon of bleach if the drain still seems too slow because if the clog isnt first deteriorated, it can cause a impaction from the catalyst reaction pressure.


    Also when using a plumbers helper, never just plunge with forward pressure. Use a plunger to both forward pressure and back suction the clog to jitterbug the blockage.

    If a big turd and paper clogs your toilet, before using a plumbers helper and getting that crappy water and floating toilet paper in the bowl, try pouring a bucket of hot water in up to the rim to build up water weight and water temperature change to pursuade the stubborn Mr. Hankey on his way through the toilet.

    In 25 years, I have plunged a toilet only two times since the plumber taught me the water weight pursuader.
     
  9. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I also vote for vinegar.

    I heat vinegar that has some water dilution until near boiling, put a ¼ cup of baking soda directly in the drain, then pour in the heated solution in several pours. Allow the bubbling to nearly subside before adding more.

    Give it a second dose if you need.

    Flood the drain to try to get everything to wash on down the drain.
     
  10. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Assuming you have already removed the drain screen and cleaned everything you can see?
     
  11. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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  12. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    first question
    Do you and other members of your family have long hair ??
    If so the clog is more likely hair and can be removed using a thin stiff wire with a hook on the end . You'll likely have to work pieces of the disgusting hair ball out of the drain .
     
  13. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    By "trap" do you mean the lint trap, or the bend in the pipe under the drain?

    The lint trap is long gone (was replaces by a removable mesh one that is easier to clean since DH and I both have long hair).

    We actually went under the house not too long ago to fix a leak and I thought about trying to fix the shower while I was down there, but messing with pipes under the house is a little beyond my plumbing skills. :)
     
  14. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys (I"ll have to look into one of those agmantoo)
    I haven't tried *heating* the vinegar yet.....Hmmm...

    Most of the things you mentioned I have already done to no avail, posting here was kind of a last hope.
     
  15. fixer1958

    fixer1958 None of the Above

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    A shop vac works really good. DW has long hair and it plugs up every 6 months.
     
  16. tamsam

    tamsam Well-Known Member

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    Do you have metal or plastic pipe. If metal some hardware stores sell acid that will clean them out. Just be very careful with it as it wants to bubble back at you when it hits the water. Good luck. Sam