Every so often, I get first hand experience as to what our customers are going through. In this case, I managed to do everything wrong and get our kitchen sink clogged.
Our experience with the clogged drain was a doozie. We tried – OK, HE tried all the home remedy tricks but nothing worked. My new job was to empty the sink with a bucket, and then empty the cupboards beneath while he went to retrieve the small electric drain cleaning machine from work. Yes, were he not a plumber, this would be a service call; and an emergency one at that, on a Sunday afternoon! A plugged kitchen drain also means no dishwasher since they run on the same line, and while I don’t mind doing dishes by hand, I did not want to do them in the bathroom!
So, out came the drain cleaner and off came the drain under the sink. “Why not use the clean-out?” I asked innocently. Clean-outs are openings in the drainpipes that allow the insertion of the drain cleaner to address clogs without disconnecting the sink drain. It turns out our clean-out was too far down the line and the if we had tried to open it, all the standing water above it would have drained into our cupboard. Since the cupboard with the clean-out was the corner cupboard with the lazy susan, getting a bucket in and underneath to catch the water was not possible. So off came the sink drain and in went the auger. Most sinks like ours have a built in strainer and prevents insertion of the tool from there.
Round and round it went as the cable played out, and out and out. 25 feet, then 35 feet, then back in again to change bits. Was it going up the vent pipe? It was impossible to know. Back out again, back in again, test, nothing. Every five minutes he’d look back at me and say accusingly, “What did you PUT down there?” Nothing really…there was some chicken that had gone bad that I didn’t want in the compost for two more days attracting rats and stinking to high heaven, but that went in the garburator. (See tip number 2 which I didn’t do) There was the burger grease that I had cleaned out of the pan (see number 4), and the quick on /off I did with the coffee grounds that morning and every morning (see number 1) – other than that…nothing. EXACTLY.
I must say I am REALLY surprised at just how stuck things were in there I mean, it was SOLID. It took about an hour before he finally cut the cable and fed it down the drain from the sink side to gain a different angle on the pipe. Finally that seemed to work. It must have been building up for a while, as I had noticed our drain was quite slow before that, but not all the time. There were fewer warning signs because the clog was so far down, but I did notice the sink did not smell very fresh. It didn’t always drain slowly, only when I had a lot of water to let out.
So learn from the mistakes of this plumber’s wife and avoid an emergency call to R&B.