Mysterious clog in kitchen sink

Old 12-06-18, 06:03 PM
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Mysterious clog in kitchen sink


I have a kitchen sink that is clogging on both the right and left sides. I'm a woman and I don't know the correct terms for all the plumbing, however, I do know how to take apart the plumbing under the sink and put it back together and how to snake the pipes.

So I took it apart at the (trap) and the trap had some stuff, but not clogged. I cleaned it up. I have a little plastic snake about 18 inches and ran it from right side of sink down and could see it come through at the bottom, and ran it upwards as well. I also took the piece of plastic pipe that connects the the main metal pipe going down into the ground apart and it also had some gunk but not clogged. I cleaned it out as well. I ran the plastic snake down the main metal line as well and it wasn't clogged in that 18 inches and very little came out on the snake.

While the trap was removed and I had a bucket under the pipe, I ran water down both sides of the sink and it is coming through into the bucket on both sides. Seemed to be working fine. So, I put everything back together, but it still keeps clogging. It drains out eventually, but very, very, slow. And sometimes it is more severe than other times. Sometimes it takes forever to drain and sometimes it moves quicker, but not quite normal. Left side comes up on right and vice versa.

I don't understand. All the pipes are clear, the water flows through into the bucket when the trap is not on there, but when the trap is put back together it all appears to get trapped before it makes it to the trap. Because I fill up a 2 quart size pan and pour water into the sink on both sides, and the right side clogs with only 1 quart of the water, and the left side clogs with the full pan of water, so it isn't making it very far down the pipe before it clogs. But there is no clog in there. The snake goes through it. Any ideas on what the heck is going on here? It makes no sense. Would appreciate any thoughts you may have.

I don't think the issue lies in the pipe going out of the house, because of the fact that it only takes a quart of water before it clogs. It appears the water is getting hung up at the point where the left side of the pipe and the right side of the pipe intersect. But there is no clog there. So how could it be getting hung up there?

And now the right side of the sink is draining normal, but not the left, but every now and then right side slows down and comes up in left side.

I have a bigger metal snake that I could run through the pipe going out of the house, but I just don't think that is where the problem is and don't want to waste the time and energy. And I'm a little afraid to try that.

Second issue - I poured lots of hot water down the drain to clear the clog before I took it apart. Sometimes that does the trick, but it didn't this time. It helped, but didn't get it all. The hot water loosened the seal of the little plastic fitting that goes against the metal right at the base of the plumbing where the plastic pipes all connect to the sink. I don't know what that is called. It's a little round plastic piece it goes right up against the metal of the sink and then the plastic pipe screws over it. I've had to replace that little plastic fitting before after I ran hot water down the pipes before. So I knew how to do it and I had a spare one in case it ever happened again. So I replaced that little plastic fitting. But now the piece that screws over top of it (I think it is called a nut) and on to the metal sink is not tight enough. I think the nut might be stripped. I can't get a tight seal. It's leaking. I don't know how to get that nut off of there, it is attached to the middle plastic pipe and won't slip off. It appears I would have to replace the entire plastic pipe in that area. Is that correct? Or is there a way to get that nut off of there and replace just the nut?

Thank you.
Old 12-06-18, 07:17 PM
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A clogged vent would cause the sink to drain slowly. Unfortunately you can snake the vent.
Old 12-06-18, 07:35 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Typically in a setup like yours..... the problem is not under the sink. It's a clog where it connects to the drain line in the wall. If it's an older house.... it will be at the Tee in wall. From the Tee down is what needs to be snaked.

Old 12-06-18, 07:37 PM
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A picture would help us see if anything is improperly put together or incorrectly pitched. In the meantime, read this old post and look at the photos.

Plumbing a kitchen double sink, with dishwasher and disposal

Your plumbing should look similar to whats picured in the link above.

I would suggest you remove your slip joint trap and snake the drain with a longer snake... 25 ft or so... available at rental stores. You could also try to blow the lines clear with a shop vac... hook the hose up to the exhaust to use it as a blower. Vents don't generally get clogged but drain lines do. Especially kitchens.

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