Got an old house? Lots of plumbing issues? Bathub/shower drain clog a lot? Hate to snake out the drain? Hate to pay a plumber big bucks to snake out a drain? Don’t want to use caustic chemicals (Liquid Plumr, etc.)?
I have a secret.
And I’m going to tell you what it is.
If you’re struggling to get the bath water to go down the drain, bring it up instead.
I know, crazy, right?
Here’s how you do it:
1. Procure an old wet-dry vacuum that won’t make you suicidal if you ruin it. Mine is an old Sears beauty (pictured here) that has already paid for itself many times over in helping undo water damage.
2. Allow clogged drain to mostly drain out (bail water if necessary — chances are the commode is nearby).
3. Ventilate room well. You’ll learn why shortly.
4. Plug in wet-dry vac, turn it on and apply vacuum hose to drain opening, making as complete a seal on the drain as possible.
5. You should notice an increased strain on the vac’s motor and perhaps some “chunking” in the hose as it sucks up water and other unsavory matter. It will probably stink.
6. Watch carefully for overflow in the vacuum. Shut off immediately.
7. Drain vac into toilet. Eeewwww! Nasty!
8. Test tub with fresh water. If it flows freely, you’re done! If not, repeat steps 2 through 8.
This gem from Sears has saved me countless times, from flooded cars to plumbing disasters of all ilk.
This unconventional technique is one I came upon in desperation after wrestling with our annoying, cramped bathroom tub/shower for years. See previous experience with the dread tub. We have a love-hate relationship, which truthfully is mostly hate.
The reason it worked, and I’m totally guessing here, is all that hair and gunk was building up against downward pressure. So the reverse pressure had much less resistance from the gunk and up it came. Just a theory.
So there you have it, an unconventional way to unclog a stubborn bath drain with (if you’re lucky) less mess than the old snake or chemicals. Professional plumbers will probably tut-tut this, say it’s a terrible idea and all that, but tell that to your haranguing wife.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional plumber, nor do I have aspirations of becoming one. I mean, have you seen the gook that comes out of those waste lines? Or ever had to install a kitchen or bathroom sink? No thanks! My point is this may or may not work for you. And if you’re not careful, there is a risk of electrocution. Make sure you use a vacuum designed to handle water by the gallon.