Stubborn Tub Drain Clog? Best Pro to Help

LESLIE: Mary in Texas is on the line and has an issue with a tub drain clog. Tell us what’s going on.

MARY: We have a bathtub that we’ve had plumbers out and they can’t even seem to get it unstopped. They think that it – and it was – would slowly – if you took a shower in there, it would slowly go out that day. But then it stopped up and it was going so slowly.

We called up a big company here – plumbing company – and the guy came out and checked it. And he couldn’t get it unstopped. He thinks it’s in the P-trap. But he checks, he lined the hat – the tub is on the back of the house. About 2 feet from that is the clean-out. And he took a picture in the clean-out, all the wall to the alley and told us to get the city to come. And they needed to clean it out, the alley. They did that.

TOM: So wait a minute. You’re telling me that the plumber was able to clear the drain from the house to the street but he thinks that the restriction is beyond that?

MARY: Yeah. He thinks – and it’s just about 2 feet from the drain. The tub that’s on the back wall of the house, it’s about 2 feet to the clean-out where he worked. And all the other lines are back farther. I mean the utility line is farther. It’s on that same line. It’s farther. The sink in the vanity area and the commode where it’s just fine – it’s right by the tub. It’s just – it’s past them.

TOM: I can tell you right now that he missed something in the tub, because all of those plumbing lines come together in that same general area. And if you’ve got flow from the toilet and the sinks and everything else but not the tub, it’s going to be the tub itself.

When it comes to clearing a tub drain clog, my experience has been that plumbers are not the best ones to do that. Generally, you’re better off to go with a specialty plumber that does drain cleaning. They have the tools, the equipment and the knowledge to get that done. And sometimes, the day-to-day plumbers – if it’s a simple clog, they can clear it but they don’t necessarily have the tools. For example, drain cleaners have cameras that can go down those pipes and see exactly what the obstruction is.

So, my recommendation would be to call a different kind of professional: not a plumber but someone that specializes in drain cleaning and has a good reputation for being able to take care of a tub drain clog. I think that’s going to be the easiest way for you to get to the bottom of it. I would not recommend any type of additive to that drain to try to clear it and these liquid products that clear drains, because they can be very, very corrosive.

Mary, good luck with that project.

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