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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Clogged Sink

Well, it's been building for some time now.  My bathroom sink drain was sloooowly starting to get plugged up. 

Then I came home from working all day and found this:

Yep.It was no longer a clog.  It was a back up. Which is kind of weird.  Because for some reason at work I got to thinking about how my Dad of All Trades helped me gut and remodel my bathroom.  Plumbing is one of THE most expensive home repair things to do.  I was contemplating the fact that I could have picked up all kinds of useful skills by watching him and I would have come out of the project fully equipped to do all kinds of home plumbing jobs.
But did I pay attention?  Nooooo.  His part of the project took over seven months.  Seven months of knowlege I could have soaked up.  But I didn't.

And then...a clog.

I'm not afraid of clogs.  My sisters and I all have long hair.  I've always been the one to pop open the shower drain from time to time to clean out massive hairballs.  It's gross.  But that's the price you pay for long hair. 

Here's my mop, taken down after my sister Carrie's wedding.
I'm careful in my own house with the shower drain and only have to clean it once every six months or so.  But I'm SUPER careful over the bathroom sink.  And yet, a clog.  And I can't call Dad because then I'll get the Dad Lecture (probably something along the lines of "weren't you paying attention?")    ~Sigh~

Some would be tempted to just pour Drain-o down the sink.  But I don't like that idea.  One, you're dumping chemicals.  Two, Drain-o works by pushing the clog out.  I worry it will push the clog to a point in the plumbing that I can't get at...then leave it stuck there forcing me to pay for a repairman.  Either, way, I'd rather go au naturale.

Normally I could just pop out the stopper, clean around it and be done with it.  But the kind of stopper my sink has is fixed with a loop on the bottom.  A metal piece holds it into the rest of the plumbing from underneath. 

See the horizontal pin in between the pipe and the vertical metal piece behind it?

(I guess that's there in case someone were to break in my house and try to steal the sink stopper?)

In short, there's no way to unclog the sink without undoing the plumbing.  At this point, my dad's voice popped in my head (remember my dad?).  His famous advice is, "Ya gotta ask yourself:  'Am I about to do something stupid?' And if the answer is yes...DON'T DO IT!"

But sometimes doing potentially stupid things - like undoing your plumbing when you don't know the first damn thing about plumbing - is how you learn. 

First, I emptied out as much of the backed up water as I could:

Then I put my dishpan under the sink to catch any possible deluge of water.  (I at least remember Dad doing that).  From there, it was just dumb luck pure genius on my part. 

My awesome Dad-of-All-Trades used PVC which is not your grampa's plumbing.  I figured I'd have to hammer away with a wrench and a hammer.  Turns out, all I had to do was unscrew the U-shaped piece:

- with a mere flick of the wrist, no less - and take it off.   Once I did, I saw a few dangly threads from something:

you can see them dangling from the vertical pipe.  And I thought, "you mean to tell me this whole clog is from a few stupid threads?"  So I stuck my finger up inside there.  Uck.  Big mistake.  I don't know what on earth  was decaying inside there but whatever it was, I stuck my whole finger inside it. 

Suffice it to say, I definately  needed to get the stopper out. 

That, too, just took one bit of unscrewing near the horizontal pin to loosen it right up.  I futzed with the pin on top that raises and lowers the stopper until I loosened it up enough to pull the pin out of the loop that held the stopper in place and I was finally able to see the clog:

 Ew!  You can't even see through the pipe at all!  What on earth died in there?

After pushing the dead elephant...or whatever it was through the drain and down to the dishpan below, the sink was clear.

All I had to do then was repeat my steps- that is, flick my wrist a few more times, just in reverse- and the job was done.

Into the trash went this:

I don't even have any explaination for this at all.

I didn't break a single nail.  I didn't get dirty.  I didn't make a mess.  Best part of all, the whole job, from start to finish, took less than 10 MINUTES and I was off to toot my horn. 


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm quicker to get a screwdriver or hammer than my hubby will ever be. I believe, if I can do the job myself then why bother telling the man that something needs a fixin'. I just do it myself! Men take too long to do what a woman can get done in a jiffy. Stellar performance on the plumbing job, Jill. You saved yourself a fortune! Sarah

Caroline said...

You are braver than most! And more intuative!

Sally said...

Hi there...visiting from A Bowl Full of Lemons. WOW! You're a rockstar. I think we have a nasty clog in ours too, only it's my HUSBAND that has the long hair! :)

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Bibi Karpel said...

Great job, Jill! You handled the task very well. If your dad happens to know this, he must be so proud of you. Anyway, pardon me for saying so, but the one on your last photo looks so gross. Hehe. It’s a good thing that you were able to take it out from the sink.

Althea Tumlin said...

It really pays to be a good listener; it makes you become a good follower. Thanks to your Dad! His endless lectures saved you from having to pay costly repairs. Good for you!

-Althea Tumlin

Darryl Iorio said...

You deserve a round of applause, Jill! I remember the first time I tried to fix our sink; I didn’t know what I was doing so I consulted my father first. Turns out, my sink problem requires professional help that’s why I called for one. Just recently, my sink got clogged somehow and I managed to fix it with ease. I was so proud of myself, hehe! The feeling of achievement is so nice, isn’t it? ;)

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Kurt Verdejo said...

Sometimes, there are some things that fire can easily kill;) In any case, yeah, a leaky sink can be a very bothersome business; it strains even the easiest chores in the house. Have you ever thought of getting a plumber for this? Because that blockage looks like it's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

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