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plumbing06.htm Plumbing

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CLEARING STOPPAGES IN FIXTURES

There are several methods you can use to clear stoppages. All of the methods take time and require a certain procedure to accomplish the job.

Clearing a lavatory stoppage (plain plunger).

FIGURE 2.  PLAIN PLUNGER METHOD
FIGURE 2. PLAIN PLUNGER METHOD

Before using a plain plunger to clear a stoppage, place a wet cloth in the overflow opening. Then:

  1. Remove the stopper or set it in a fully open position.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain opening and push it up and down several times.
  3. Then, lift plunger off the drain opening.
  4. If the water in the bowl flows down the drain, the stoppage is cleared.
  5. Turn on the water to double check that the stoppage is cleared.
  6. If the stoppage is cleared, replace or reset the stopper.
    If the stoppage is not cleared, use a drain snake.

Clearing a lavatory stoppage (drain snake).

FIGURE 3.  DRAIN SNAKE METHOD-DRAIN OPENING

FIGURE 3. DRAIN SNAKE METHOD-DRAIN OPENING

 

To clear a stoppage with a drain snake:

  1. Remove the stopper.
  2. Push the snake into the drain opening until it meets resistance.
  3. Turning the handle in one direction only, push and pull the snake until it moves freely in drain.
  4. Then run water into the drain opening.
  5. If it flows freely down the drain, the stoppage is cleared.
  6. Remove the snake and replace the stopper.

Clearing a lavatory drain line.

FIGURE 4.  DRAIN SNAKE METHOD-DRAIN LINE
FIGURE 4. DRAIN SNAKE METHOD-DRAIN LINE

If the stoppage is not in the trap but in the lavatory's drain line:

  1. Remove the trap.
  2. Push the drain snake into the drain line.
  3. Turn the handle in one direction only. Push and pull the snake until it moves freely.
  4. Remove the snake and replace the trap.
  5. Run water into the drain to make certain that the stoppage is cleared.

NOTE:

  • If the stoppage cannot be cleared, the stoppage is in the building's drainage system.
  • Sink stoppages are cleared in the same manner as lavatory stoppages.

Clearing a water closet stoppage (cone plunger).

FIGURE 5.  CONE PLUNGER METHOD
FIGURE 5. CONE PLUNGER METHOD

A stoppage can be removed from a water closet with a cone-type plunger.

  1. Place the plunger over the trap and push it up and down often until the water level returns to normal.
  2. Throw a piece of toilet paper in the bowl and flush the water closet to assure that the stoppage is cleared.

NOTE: If a plunger cannot clear the stoppage, use a water closet auger.

Clearing a water closet stoppage (auger)

FIGURE 6.  AUGER METHOD
FIGURE 6. AUGER METHOD

To remove a stoppage using a water closet auger:

  1. Push the auger into the water closet's trap until it meets resistance.
  2. Turn the auger clockwise as you push and pull until the stoppage is cleared.
  3. Remove the auger by turning it counterclockwise.
  4. Throw a piece of toilet paper in the bowl and flush the water closet to assure that the stoppage is cleared.

Clearing a urinal stoppage (P-trap)

FIGURE 7.  CLEARING A P-TRAP URINAL
FIGURE 7. CLEARING A P-TRAP URINAL

A urinal with an exposed P-trap that has a stoppage is cleared in the same manner as a lavatory. Use a plain plunger first, then the drain snake.

Clearing a urinal stoppage (seal trap)

FIGURE 8.  CLEARING A SEAL TRAP URINAL
FIGURE 8. CLEARING A SEAL TRAP URINAL

A urinal with a seal trap that has a stoppage is cleared by using a cone plunger first. Then use the drain snake that has a rounded end or the water closet auger.

Clearing a bathtub stoppage (P-trap)

FIGURE 9.  BATHTUB WITH P-TRAP
FIGURE 9. BATHTUB WITH P-TRAP

  1. Remove the pop-up stopper with its linkage.
  2. Unscrew the overflow cover and pull it out with its linkage.
  3. Push the snake down into the overflow opening until it meets resistance.
  4. Turn the snake handle clockwise pushing the snake until it turns freely. The stoppage is cleared. Remove the snake from overflow opening.
  5. Turn on the water to check that the stoppage has been cleared.
  6. Replace the overflow cover.
  7. Replace the pop-up stopper.
  8. Make sure the pop-up stopper works properly after replacement

Clearing a bathtub stoppage (drum trap)

FIGURE 10.  BATHTUB WITH DRUM TRAP
FIGURE 10. BATHTUB WITH DRUM TRAP

  1. Remove the drum trap cover with a wrench.
  2. Remove the gasket from the trap.
  3. Push a snake into the trap's lower pipe to search for the stoppage. If a stoppage exists, clear the stoppage.
  4. If there is no stoppage in the lower pipe, remove the snake.
  5. Push the snake into the trap's upper pipe and operate the snake to remove the stoppage.
  6. Replace the gasket if the gasket is worn or damaged.
  7. Screw the cover on hand tight and tighten it with a wrench.
  8. Turn on the water to check that the stoppage has been cleared.

Clearing a shower floor drain stoppage with a hose.

FIGURE 11.  HOSE AND WATER METHOD
FIGURE 11. HOSE AND WATER METHOD

  1. Remove the strainer.
  2. Hook up a hose for a water source where possible.
  3. Place the other end of the hose into the shower drain.
  4. Stuff large rags around the hose to form a tight seal.
  5. Turn water on full force, off and on again. The surge of water will clear the stoppage.
  6. Remove the rags and run water down the drain to make sure the stoppage is cleared.
  7. Replace the strainer.

Clearing a shower floor drain stoppage with a drain snake.

FIGURE 12.  DRAIN SNAKE METHOD
FIGURE 12. DRAIN SNAKE METHOD

  1. Remove the strainer.
  2. Push a snake into the drain opening until it meets resistance.
  3. Turn the handle in a clockwise direction, pushing and pulling the snake until it moves freely in the drain. Remove the snake.
  4. Run water into the drain to make sure the stoppage is cleared.
  5. Replace the strainer.

NOTE: A floor drain stoppage is cleared in the same manner.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015