Slow running drain in bath

14 Apr 2009
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Tyne and Wear
United Kingdom
Hi there,

I have a bathroom that is about 5-6 years old. Last year I noticed a slow running bath drain, took the side off the tub, opened the drain and gave the trap and drain a thorough cleaning.

I'm getting a slow running bath drain again. When you first begin showering, the bath slowly fills up to about 8 inches high. Then, a few minutes later, it starts to drain, and you are left shower in less than 1/4 of an inch of water (how it usually is when there are no flow problems). Is this indicative of problems in the trap?

Is there an easier way for me to clean this out than disassemble the drain again? It is one of the drains where there is a screw hole suspended in the middle of the mouth of the pipe, and the screw goes down the middle of the silver plug mesh thing. (Sorry for lack of terminology, I'm pretty bad with plumbing tasks :) ).


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Plastic pipe has an affinity with fat. Soap is made from fat. This combines with hair etc. and builds up around the pipe. Also you may a have a problem with the fall in the waste. If the problem is new and not a problem of fall then pour some drain cleaner down the waste. Follow the nnstructions. I also pour boiling water down the waste from time to time.
yeah drain cleaner is the way forward. beware though, some brands r very strong. get some kind of flunnel to ensure the liquid goes straight down the out let as they can damage the bath / or other sanitaryware itself. there can also b overpowering fumes comes off it. i was using it one time and spilt a tiny splash on my jeans after getting a blast of the fumes up my nose . a hole later burnt though them. :(
Fumes can be a booger. Had six weeks lung trouble once after using "Starit" . Only after a lot of questions did the quack realise I had chlorine gas poisonning and not the lurgy.
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Try an air based unblocking tool.

£24.93 plus £4.45 p & p

This gadget works with toilets, baths, sinks, etcetera, you pump it up to pressurise it, release the trigger, and it fires a blast of compressed air down the pipe to clear the blockage.

It is said to also have a cyclonic action, which helps to scour the sides of the pipe in order to clean them, and you can also use it as a preventative maintenance device in order to prevent gunge building up in the pipes and eventually causing a blockage.

You can get this device from the QVC television shopping channel, and either this device, or similar devices are also available from most of the main DIY stores, or possibly also from plumbers merchants.

The above link also includes a vid link about the device.

The link below has some reviews from users.

I'm not sure if this is the same device that I have seen demonstrated on QVC on several previous occasions.

The vid link mentioned above just shows one of their presenters displaying the device and talking about it, but the proper, full demonstration that I am thinking of that was shown several times on QVC, was done by a representative of the supplier, and it was very impressive.

He set up a several foot long horizontal section of transparent pipe, with a U bend at the far end, plus an additional length of horizontal pipe coming from the far side of the U bend.

He wadded up two J cloths, and rammed them down the pipe, then he fired a shot from the unblocking tool down the pipe, it blasted the J cloths right around the U bend and out the other end of the pipe, it looked very powerful and impressive.

As far as the cause of your blockage is concerned, our friend who mentioned soap buildup is almost certainly correct, as he also is about hair mixing with soap deposits to form a blockage.

Soap and washing machine powdered detergents can also end up periodically blocking drain pipes, especially in older houses, the problem can be reduced, but not completely eliminated by using liquid detergents in washing machines, and our friend is correct, the deposits do look just like congealed fat.

However, although it's not very likely to be the cause of your problem, it might also be worth checking that your external drain pipe isn't blocked by something such as leaves, and if your bathroom waste pipe drains into an open topped hopper, ask someone to go up a ladder and check that the hopper isn't blocked.

If you also want to try chemical unblockers, there are a number of these products listed in the following link.

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