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My kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, and its drain crosses the entire house within the height of the first floor joists. With 9 1/2" joists, that's at most 7" drop over 23', or a hair over the minimum 1/4" per foot slope. However, I've had clogs in the past, and I'm guessing the slope isn't constant (the basement ceiling is plastered so I can't check).

I've stopped running eggshells and onion peels down the disposal, but I'm still worried about clogs, and I'm thinking that once the drain is blocked it'll be a lot harder to deal with (and a "have to deal with it right now" situation to boot).

Some possibilities:

  • Buy/rent an auger and clean the drain out every few years
  • Hire a service to do the same
  • Fill the sink with hot water and then run the disposal to rapidly drain it and clean things out
  • Don't worry about it until (and unless) it fails.

What's my best bet?

  • Another possibility - remove the garbage disposal and only put liquids down the sink. – Alaska Man Feb 4 at 3:59
  • @Alaskaman well, as you can imagine I'm not enthused about your idea ;) – Daniel Griscom Feb 4 at 4:04
  • @Tyson sounds like an answer to me! – Daniel Griscom Feb 4 at 16:38
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In a prior house of mine I had a kitchen sink with a long undersized poorly sloped lateral that ran under slab. That itself is an icky situation, but was even worse because it ran the entire width of the house and was about 13 feet longer that the standard cable on a drain machine. As a result I always had to call a pro, and not any pro--I could only find one company with a small drain machine that had a cable long enough.

My regular serviceman after a couple visits suggested that I start preventive cleanings. After I started “drain cocktails” once a month I never had to have it augured again.

Drain cocktail: fill 2 five gallon buckets with hot water, fill sink with hot water. Remove the rubber baffle from the garbage disposal opening (if yours is not removable figure out how to hold it wide open so that it doesn't slow the flow). Start disposal, drain sink and pour both buckets as fast as the drain will take it, leave the faucet running too--the idea is to flush the pipe with as much fast moving water as possible. Add a small stream of liquid Dawn directly to the center of the garbage disposal opening throughout the whole process. The garbage disposal acts as both a pump to speed the flow and whip to mix and froth the Dawn. (Sure, I used a lot of dawn but it's bio-degradable and contains no phosphates--and it's a hell of a lot cheaper from Costco than calling a drain cleaning pro every few months.)

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Depending upon the location of the kitchen sink with the garbage disposal, you could re-pipe the drain to a dump tank with a "macerator pump" or sewage pump. This would reduce the garbage disposal stuff to an almost liquid state, thus reducing the chance for a clog further down the drain. Our worst waste product that always plugged our drains were lettuce leaves or any leaf products. This may not be the answer you are looking for but it would be a solution.

  • Thanks for the answer, but the additional complexity could never be worth it in my situation. – Daniel Griscom Feb 4 at 16:36

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