A little while ago, the laundry room light blew up. With a shower of sparks and blown breaker.
It did that because of water. The dishwasher had wet itself, the water had dripped through the floor of the kitchen, which is the ceiling of the laundry room. The ceiling where the light is. So it all got wet, and kazappp! I’ll tell you about repairing the light in a later post. This is about the “dishwasher wet itself” situation.
The dishwasher wet itself because the kitchen sink backed up.
The kitchen sink backed up because there was a clog in the stack. Again.
I tried the same trick I did last time the kitchen drain clogged.
It didn’t work. The water jet hit the bottom of the clog and just stopped. It did not break on through to the other side.
Eventually, I was out of ideas. I went to second-hand stores and found a serious drain auger. But it had no auger heads. So before buying it, I looked around to see if any local stores could sell me new heads. Harbor Freight has a set that includes a new cable and heads for their heavy-duty auger. I didn’t need the new cable, just the heads, but I went to Harbor Freight to look at it. I wasn’t impressed. But next to it on the shelf was their hand-held power auger. It looked like it had a good chance of getting my clog cleared up. So I bought that.
Don’t buy that. It’s crap.
First problem is, augers don’t like to go up. They like to go down. Getting it up the pipe from the basement cleanout plug was…arduous. And then it wouldn’t push up. It kept falling down. (This is not the reason I don’t recommend this tool. Any auger would have the same problem.)
So I went up to the kitchen and pushed from the top. After a few tries, I got it to go down. It went all the way to the basement, then I started trying to pull it back.
It has a front grip. Theoretically, you push the handle forward and it feeds the auger out. You hold the handle in neutral and no feeding happens, only spinning. You pull the handle back and it reels the auger back in. Theoretically. The one I got, you push the handle forward and it feeds the auger out. You pull the handle back and…it feeds the auger out more.
So I had to unlock the chuck and pull the auger back by hand. Eventually I got it all reeled back in, put the drain back together, and ran water in the sink.
It backed up again.
Apparently the auger had bored its way through the clog and that’s all. It had done nothing in the way of actually breaking it up. So now I had a clog with a 5/16″ hole through it. Which is not enough.
I took the tool back to Harbor Freight.
They wouldn’t take it back, because it was covered with sewage. Because duh. But there’s a number you can call. 20 minutes later the person on the phone verified my purchase and sent out a refund check. They won’t take the thing back. They will replace or refund it, but they don’t want the filthy thing back. I tossed it back in the car and came home.
I sat and thought about the problem for a while.
I sent the auger back down. Once it was at the bottom, where I could grab it through the basement cleanout, I strung a bunch of zip-ties to the end of it. Radially, like the branches of a tree. Then I went back to the kitchen and started spinning the auger while slowly pulling it back. (No choice but to pull it back slowly; the power retract doesn’t work…) When it got to the top, the zip-ties were a: bent into a spiral pattern, and b: covered in black muck.
I put the drain back together and ran water in the sink. It drained. My problems were solved!