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Unclogging a bathtub drain [2010-07-26]

About once a year the bathtub drain gets a little slow.  If I ignore this problem, unfortunately it does not seem to go away, it only gets worse.  We end up taking shower baths, which is really annoying, at least to me.  So, once a year I venture into the basement to unclog the beast.

bath tub drain below the floor

bath tub drain below the floor

Because I am the one who installed the bathtub, I am the only one to blame if it is difficult to remove the drain to unclog it.  I think I had good intentions here, but they kind of got buried in the pipes for the solar hot water system.  Anyway, it is not too bad, just a little bit of reaching.  When I removed the trap I stuffed a rag into the sewer line to prevent gas from seeping into the basement while I cleaned out the various pieces.

Fortunately all of the drains are plastic and come apart with little effort.  A pair of slip joint pliers is all that is needed.  In fact, most of the connections are hand tight.

clogged up bath tub drain pipe

clogged up bath tub drain pipe

As I suspected, my wife’s long hair is the culprit.

more hair in bath tub drain

more hair in bath tub drain

Lots of culprit.  I sprayed each part out with a high pressure garden hose and wiped the inside with a rag.  Where the P trap meets the 2 inch drain there was some junk too, I cleaned that with a rag.

Once all the parts are reassembled I ran a little water into the trap to check for leaks and prevent any sewer gas from seeping into the house.

While I was at it, I cleaned out the bathroom sink as well.  This fixture had been draining a little slowly lately.  Same situation, hair.

Took about a half an hour to do and it is a little bit smelly and dirty or disgusting if you think about it too much.  Plumbers charge a lot but they earn their money.