Kitchen drain clog madness!

My kitchen drain is…complex.

The drain pipe comes out of the wall barely lower than the bottom of the sink, and at a weird angle. From there there is a piece of flexible drain that corrects the weird angle (since it’s not an angle found in nature or stock drain parts) and then the P-trap. Above the P is a branch that comes from the disposal (this branch is almost completely co-planar with the pipe in the wall) and above that the main bowl of the sink.

In the wall, things get worse. There’s another weird angle bend to the left, then it joins the stack at a T: down for drain, up for vent. These bends make it almost impossible to get a snake past all that and down the stack: the end of the snake comes out of the T and strikes the side of the pipe squarely; it won’t go down (which is what I want) or up (which would do me no good anyway), and there are too many bends in all directions to get a kink at the end of the snake pointed the right way.

Down the stack is where my trouble is this time. Above the cleanout at the bottom of the stack in the basement, but below the T. If I try to use a pressure or vacuum solution in the kitchen, the vent above the T defeats me.

I have a couple of drain pressure bladders, and a Drain Blaster. The last time this happened I was able to put one of the bladders downstream of the cleanout and Y from the kitchen to plug that pipe, feed in the drain blaster, then one in the cleanout, and apply pressure to the clog from below until it was ejected into the kitchen with great force.

Since then the short garden hoses I used to hook these things all up are mostly missing. I have one 4-foot one left. I’d need four (one each to the two bladders, one to the Drain Blaster, and one to go from the faucet to where all those come together. I left the house yesterday after assessing the situation to do what I had to do and “somewhere along the way” pick up a few more hoses. But I found that I was running short of time all day, rushing to get where I was going on time and at the end of the day it was 11:30 pm and I still had no hoses.

So this morning I took another look at the situation. I opened up the cleanout and discovered a prodigious quantity of poo-brown gunk. Probably mostly actually poo, shoved there by the last main sewer backup. I took the Drain Blaster and the 4-foot hose, and threaded the blaster quite far down through the gunk. Then I turned it on and slowly pulled it back, clearing the blob of gunk from the back to the front as I did so. When it was all clear and “clean” I took a look.

Last time I’d been a little prissy about putting my hand in the sewer, which is why I devised the system with the two bladders etc. Since then I’ve done things a lot worse than putting my hand in a freshly-rinsed sewer pipe. I reached in and was able to bend the Drain Blaster around the corner and start it up the stack toward the kitchen. I turned it on and with my hand in the sewer to keep feeding it around the corner I slowly fed it up the stack, cleaning the crud from the walls of the pipe as I did so. Eventually I hit the clog. Bigger bits started falling on my hand. Then a lot of bits and some cold water. I reversed, slowly working back and forth through the trouble area, then slowly back down the pipe.

I went up into the kitchen and filled the sink. It drains well.

Now I need a shower because I’ve been in a sewer. But I used all the hot water clearing the sewer. Oops.


A guy in his early 50s, living more or less alone in a 90-year-old house, trying to keep it all together.

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Posted in Plumbing, Tools
One comment on “Kitchen drain clog madness!
  1. workwizard says:

    I bet professional plumbers hire other professional plumbers to work on problems in their own houses, for this very reason.

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