T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rube Goldberg vs. The Clogged Drain

TRex Dad here. Guest blogging today. This is only my second time writing for our site. My first was a Christmas Eve tribute to Apollo 8. This time, you'll see what was lurking at the bottom of our shower drain. Could something similar be in yours?

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.

The "clean" and open drain.

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!


septembermom said...

I'll tell my husband to read this post for inspiration when our inevitable clog drain disaster happens. Great when you don't have to lay out any money!! I have long hair too so it is all over the place. Great job guest hosting the blog. My hubby would run the other way if I suggested that he pinch hit for me :) Send bloggie hugs to your wife!

BallerinaBiker said...

That's pretty gross! But, I guess it's something that really can't be stopped! way to go on your resourcefulness!

Caitlin said...

Nicely done, Skip. Very cool tool- and I bet there was a whole lot less butt crack involved then if you'd called a plumber! That is a little gross- but Jenn does have great hair!

Jenners said...

We had the same problem and pulled up the same disgusting stuff! We were able to do it with regular tools too ((never used those kitchen tongs again) but somehow lost the screw that keeps the drain cover on and have tried to find a replacement and cannot find one that works!!!!

Clogged Kitchen Drain said...

Sewer Maintenance may be something you need, but if your home is in a part of the country where the weather is bad for half of the year, there may not be much you can do about it until spring arrives.