I come from along line of Rube Goldberg's. If you aren't familiar with him, Rube Goldberg was famous for crazy tools to solve simple problems. My father and grandfather are known for their "Rube Goldberg-isms". Grandpa once unplugged a clogged concrete pipe to his rain cistern with a half a stick of dynamite! My Father, while not quite as..., flashy, is well known for his tool time creativeness. Often his creations involve securing very large objects to the top of his wood paneled station wagon with vinyl threaded tape. So whenever I need to fix something, I have great sources of inspiration.
This came in handy this week when our master bathroom shower turned into our master bathroom 'lake'. Every shower would end with ankle deep water and only sloooooowly drain away. Clearly, we had a plug. Now my lovely wife has very long hair, and she does her best to collect any she loses, but inevitably some slips down the drain. We tried Liquid Plumber, but it wasn't up to the task. Since we are on a super tight budget, a professional plumber was out of the question. I decided to give it a shot.
Everything used to successfully unclog the drain.
I removed the drain cover and took a look. YUCK. There was a huge wad of hair, soap dregs, and indefinable 'stuff' under the drain cover. Gross, but easily removed. However, an examination down the drain with the big Mag flashlight revealed an insanely scary mass at the bottom. Three feet down... How to reach it?
With my father and grandfather as inspiration, it was easy. Make your own tool! I assembled a make shift plumbers snake from 8 gauge wire, a large roll of which I always keep on hand! I made a tight loop at the bottom of a four foot length of wire and attached three other loops to it. Intentionally leaving sharp points on my extra loops. I carefully lowered my new tool down the pipe, and withdrew the frightening mass of hair and goo. WOW. Good thing I have a strong stomach. I repeated this action two more times to make sure I got it all. You can see the results in the 'after' picture, along with all the tools I used. Yes, that scary black blog of hair was what I pulled out of the drain. Wow.
This is what was hiding in the drain.
My own Rube Goldberg tool.
My captive audience - they kept me company during the 25 minute endeavor.
Total cost $0. Total time: 25 minutes from start to finish. Now that I know how to do it, I could do it in half the time. I spent some time cleaning up some of the 'goo' at the top of the pipe with paper towels, but I now know that I could have skipped that step. The hair at the bottom was the culprit. Today I took a nice long shower and the Master Bath Lake was no more. Problem solved! Oh, but remind me to tell you about our kitchen disposal sink plug this weekend.... YUK. Next time....
Until then Happy Plumbing!