Gypsy's Travels

Monday, June 22, 2009

Down the Drain

It began with a slow drain and progressed to a clogged drain. Apparently, there was a little hole somewhere because the sink would be clear by morning. Using it didn't fill the drain immediately, suggesting the clog was down the line a bit.

Over the next few days, I used my usual earth-friendly techniques for clearing the drain. Baking soda followed by vinegar gave a satisfying eruption which I reasoned was sure to burst through most clogs. Indeed, it had worked several times in the past. I followed that with pots of boiling water. There was no change so I unleashed my ultimate weapon - industrial strength degreaser. Nothing. It was time to resort to manpower, or woman power as the case may be.

I assembled my tools and tried to open the trap under the sink. There is a pipe with an inner plug that must be unscrewed. I settled on the flat end of a long file to turn the plug. It inched around but not enough to open. The file was too long. I went to the local hardware store to see if there were a special tool for this job. No one had ever heard of such a contraption, or such a tool. I looked on my own and found a mini-crowbar. A cute little piece pushing to make the 6" mark. The plug turned some more, but I could not get it out.

Fortunately, Gunner and family are staying with me but had been out of town during my early trials. On their return, Gunner easily turned the plug and inserted the snake, all 15? - 25? feet of it. He replaced the plug and tried the sink. Still stopped up. It was time to give up and call the plumber.

The plumber was a genial fellow who wanted "to do things right."
"The garbage disposal was put in on the wrong side," he told me. "The pipes were put together with chrome fittings where it should have been plastic." He would "have to remove the garbage disposal to be able to access the tap with his snake."
"Well, the last time I had a plumber out, he didn't have to do that," I protested.
"Also, one part of the PVC pipe was bad and needed to be replaced. I can do it for free if there is one on my truck, but it will be $49.00 if I have to get one."
"For an 8" plastic pipe?"
He could replace everything and make it "right" for about $250.
"What would that do for me?" I asked.
"Well, it would make it easier for the plumber to get to the trap," he answered. "I will have to charge you for taking it off next time."
Mr Super Plumber used his ultra-snake in the pipe of the trap.
"I only found a small plug," he said, "not very much to cause the difficulty. You might benefit from the special solution I carry on my truck [associated with the company]. It is $60 [for a 1/2 gallon of bacteria to pour down the drain weekly].
I opted out.
"Well, at least the drain works well," he exulted as he turned on the garbage disposal and opened the drains to the filled sinks. He postured proudly standing in front of the sink, anticipating my pleased reaction, I gasped and could hardly speak as water poured out from under the sink. He had forgotten to replace the plug!
Not one to lose face, he laughed, mopped, and said, "This cleaning is at no extra charge."

I am thankful my sinks drain!


  1. I always require them to be licensed and carry insurance. It just gives me a better feeling to know that I have something to go after.

  2. Yikes. What an ordeal. Plumbing problems are the worst. You handled it very well! It is the simple things in life that make us happy. :)


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