Tackle a Slow-Draining Bathtub
Richard Trethewey gives advice on how to unclog a slowly draining bathtub
My bathtub is draining slowly, and I'm pretty sure the cause is a hair clog. How should I take care of this problem?
— Katrina Namad, Eagan, Minn.
Most likely, your clog is in the p-trap, a curved section of the tub's drainpipe just below the floor. The tool of choice to unclog it is a plumbing snake, a flexible length of tightly coiled wire with a wire auger, known as a boring gimlet, on the business end. You insert the snake through the tub overflow, giving you a straight shot to the trap.
First unscrew the overflow cover and remove it along with the stopper assembly. Feed the snake down the overflow until you feel some resistance—you've reached the trap. Turn the handle clockwise as you push the snake 6 to 8 inches farther, through the clog. Now, without spinning it, slowly pull the snake back up. With any luck, you'll retrieve a wad of wet gunk, and that will be the end of your slow drain. Even if you get nothing, there's a good chance that you've pushed the clog through and cleared the trap.
Run some water to see if it drains. Just to be sure, reinsert the snake into the trap and jam it up and down as you flush water through the drain. Remove the snake, replace the stopper assembly, and reattach the overflow cover. Then consider placing a strainer over the drain to catch hair before it reaches the trap. See a video of the steps I go through to snake a tub.
— - saboteamos.info plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey