How to Clear a Clogged Drain: When Things Get Personal

The sink in my basement is clogged more often than it’s clear. I’ve tried three different brands of sink-clearing goop but now I just have goop and standing water in my sink. So now I’ve moved on to more desperate measures.

Plunging
I read somewhere dumb that this would work. You’re supposed to fill the sink up with four inches of water. Then take the gross plunger that’s been in the toilet, place it over the hole and work out your triceps. The instructions didn’t say how long to keep plunging but I kept at it until I got frustrated and there was still four inches of water in the sink. Maybe a bubble or two but no movement.

Surgical Strike
I’m not really into plumbing, but the basement sink is the only one large enough to wash my home brewing equipment in. So now I’m going after the u-trap under the sink. The u-trap is just what it sounds like: the u-shaped section of PVC or metal pipe that hangs under your sink. You’ll need a pipe wrench to get it free and a strong stomach to handle the contents.

My pants drop below my butt crack when I’m down there and I kept giggling even though there was no one there to see it. But then I loosened the pipe fittings and pulled down the u-trap. You’d be surprised at how seamlessly you can move from giggling to gagging.

Murky grey water spilled out onto the floor and onto my shoes. I probably should have emptied the water from the sink first or at least put a bucket under the u-trap. I won’t describe what I pulled out of the u-trap.

Dangit
I put the u-trap back onto the pipe assembly with a little right tighty. The sink drained for a few seconds, then slowed, mocking me at this point.

I turned off the trap and went straight upstairs to the internet then to the hardware store to get an auger. Augers are long, bendy metal tools designed to reach down in to that bleeping pipe, clear the clog and make it drain water like it’s bleeping supposed to do.

I had to remove the u-trap again. I augered both sides of the pipe (up towards the sink and back towards the wall). You just have to stick it in until you meet resistance from a blockage. Then, twist the handle and pull it out. Again, I’ll spare you the description.

Victory!
I put the u-trap back, again and now the sink works fine…most of the time. The trouble with basement sinks is that they’re located at the bottom of a long line of drains. And because the pipes in my house are extra narrow or extra evil or something, the drain runs slowly about thirty percent of the time. But that’s better than being clogged and certainly not bad enough to spend on a plumber so I’m going to tick this one in the victory column.

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