Shower Drain working slowly

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Old 01-21-18, 10:40 AM
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Shower Drain working slowly

The shower drain in my upstairs free standing shower is not working right The shower is filling up on me. I have a small diameter drain snake, but Im not sure what I am going after under the shower floor, as I cannot see thru the ceiling on the dining room below it. This house was bult in 1963 and I am pretty sure that the drain pipe goes from the drain itself over to a main copper pipe that is under the toilet next to the shower. I do not want to overdo it with this snake and punch thru something (like a P trap) How were these drains made in 1963?
 
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Old 01-21-18, 11:27 AM
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The trap for the shower drain will be directly under the shower. The line would need to travel horizontally until it connects to the main stack in the wall.... most likely behind the toilet. I doubt you could get the snake to go thru the trap unless it's completely corroded thru.

Have you tried putting the snake in ?
How far does it go ?
 
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Old 01-21-18, 11:41 AM
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For cleaning a shower drain that runs through a p trap I wouldn't use any snake larger than 1/4" in diameter. Those little hand crank sets are appropriate for this type of cleaning. You may have copper drain pipe in a house of that vintage which is a concern as copper is not the most durable of drain piping as it is reactive with household chemicals. It tends to corrode away and get thin after a while. Still, you don't have much choice as the drain still needs to be cleaned. Run the snake multiple times, flush with lots of water and then test afterwards by filling the shower pan up with as much water as you can, then drain it. Check for leaks and wet ceiling below. Cross that bridge only if you need to.
 
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Old 01-21-18, 01:38 PM
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Shower Drain

I had a hand crank snake (1/4") ready to go, so I went after it a bit ago. It went in about 10" or so and just wouldn't go any further. When I pulled it out it brought 4' (lol that's FEET) of hair with it. (no wonder I'm almost bald) I re inserted the snake and I guess I pushed thru whatever may have been 4' downline as it was all free movement from there. I water tested it, and its draining great now. I will be watching the ceiling below now for awhile.

Thanks for the advice and the replies!
 
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Old 01-21-18, 01:46 PM
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A good old fashioned plunger can work on a shower drain too.

Hair tends to collect with soap buildup, and causes slow drains. A snake should get you what you need.
 
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Old 01-21-18, 01:54 PM
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If the snake only went 10".... you probably just cleared the trap.
It could possibly be a drum trap. I'm not sure when they stopped using them.
 
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Old 01-21-18, 01:59 PM
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Drain

please note that I re snaked it after the 4' of hair pulled out. I was able to put the entire length of the snake into the drain after I did that. I could I could tell when it got thru the pipe and into the main 4" copper going into the basement, (no resistance) I can assure you that a plunger would not have cleared this. lol
 
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Old 01-21-18, 02:10 PM
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The worst that can happen

I know from experience 4 years ago, that if the line wont drain right, and the grout in the shower has cracks or holes in it, that the water will overwhelm a 50 plus year old rubber shower drain pan and go thru the plaster ceiling (try to match the pro hand done swirl pattern on your own!) then it gets into the hardwood floor because your wife didn't tell you about it (she stores her junk in the dining room) The hardwood is destroyed and you cant replace the slats because they are tongue and groove, You have to buy the slats and make them fit without tongue and grooves, and you have to shim them because they are a different thickness from the yard. Other than that, it was no problem....
 
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Old 01-21-18, 02:15 PM
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Ahhhhhhhhhh yes..... the water thru the floor trick.
 
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Old 01-31-18, 01:25 PM
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10-4 on being careful with old pipes. I knew this pipe was pretty heavy after seeing it live when the shower leaked 4 years ago, and went thru the ceiling as described previously. I couldn't find the picture I took of it when I needed it. Anyway I had a small 1/4" dia. snake that worked its way into the pipe, and I didn't have to go very far to snag a ton of hair which all pulled out when I pulled out the snake. That allowed me to effortlessly go the rest of the way to the junction of whatever pipe it joined up with, probably the big pipe the toilet flange fastens into right next to the shower. It is working fine now, ceiling is staying the same color, and there is a "drain wig" in the shower drain now that I saw on "Shark Tank" (If I can't see it, or don't already know what's there, the MOST that goes into the drain is a flexible clear plastic tube with a flared end that allows me to hit it with compressed air. Thanks for the warning!
 
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