Saturday, March 18, 2017

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

We have made a lot of progress around here making the place more suitable to our needs and more to our tastes and I've chronicled a lot of that progress here. However, it seems we've entered a season of regression. How timely.

I shared the sudden demise (?) of our chest freezer* and one of our stove burners. It seems like we may be to the point where the road and driveway will be passable for the appliance repairman to get here. Well, now we can add a plumbing "situation" to the list. Luckily, this situation is not toilet- or directly-sewage-related.

Suddenly, the main bathtub drain is all but completely clogged. Oh, it'll drain, but one shower's worth of water can take a couple hours to drain. ICK! Of course, I am diligent about keeping hair out of there, but anyone who knows me personally, knows that my hair will not be tamed and it will not be contained nor constrained. I did my due diligence digging around in there, using the non-toilet plunger, and measuring out enzymes, even though it was too late for that. So I dug out the drain snake, I mean canister auger, annnnd... realized that with the tub, I couldn't just feed it down the drain. Sigh.

In general I would rather read a step-by-step description with thoughtfully rendered illustrations than watch a video for my how-tos. I would also prefer those illustrations to be some kind of high quality drawing than a photo. You don't have to stop, rewind, fast-forward, pause, repeat a piece of paper or an onscreen still shot. That said, This Old House has decades of experience using the video medium to show people how to do stuff, their people know how to explain quickly and clearly, and they have all the lighting and audio equipment, too.

Hello, YouTube and the This Old House channel. One clear, concise video and I'm on it! Too bad the stop mechanism is stuck in the overflow drain and stuck good. Stuck better than the one in the video, which the TOH plumber, Richard Trethewey, got out with just a little bit of channel lock persuasion. Try as I might, I couldn't get that sucker dislodged. This explains why they last folks were using a rubber stopper in the tub and a removable strainer - the stop is stuck in the open position.

Then I saw this video. I have a ShopVac so I decided to give it a try. It didn't work for me. If the diameter of the hose in the video is any indication, they are using a larger, more powerful shop vac. Mine is a small, 1.5 HP model. It did do a good job of sucking the water out of the P-trap and then what was left in the tub, though! We'll be using the tiny upstairs shower in the meantime. Sigh.

When I was searching, in vain, for tips on getting the drain stopper unstuck I did learn about this cheap tool for unclogging drains. I picked on up on Thursday with the plan to try it over the weekend... then I saw that Saturday is World Plumbing Day, so I felt committed to trying it then... hoping that I would be the recipient of a World Plumbing Day Miracle.

I was hoping it would be flexible enough that I could push it through the drain and it would bend and go down towards the P-trap, but it would only bend up towards the stuck stopper. Sigh. I think we'll have use for it in the bathrooms sinks, so it was not an entire waste of $3. Oh, well!

I ended up back on YouTube and saw a couple other options, or rather variants on the plunger method, that I decided to try using plungers we already have. Which didn't work. Next step: Nick. Next week.

Other plumbing adventures this year so far:

The "new" kitchen faucet was dripping, but once I had a closer look I was able to fix it in a few seconds, sans tools. Just a little loose where the hose attached to the nozzle.

The kitchen sink drain is leaking a tiny bit. We know why... it's because we got a little creative, as suggested by our neighbor who is a real plumber, to get everything connected since our new sink is deeper and the original plumber installed the drain stubout/waste line higher than standard. The creative solution was employed to avoid having to cut out the wall and who know what all else to move that. Blast! Temporary solution? Didn't work, made it worse. So we have been washing the dishes in the bathroom sink again. Too bad it hasn't been long enough since the kitchen remodel for us to feel nostalgic about that. More work for Nick!

Boy, I am not excited to tackle the bathroom sink drain! I know when I take apart the P-trap to clean it, it will fall apart. It's that same crappy chrome plated stuff that was under the old kitchen sink. When I finally get around to moving forward on the remodeling in there, I know we'll decide that we want a new, less utilitarian faucet, too. Sigh.

In conclusion: lots of FAIL happening around here lately. Shoot.

*I saw that a local TV station and a regional appliance retailer have teamed up to give away an upright freezer, so I entered to win. WISH ME LUCK!

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