I have a problematic pipe that has a blockage. Problematic for three reasons:

  1. I could not snake through it (I have a 25 feet snake with a manual spin, spent a good while spinning trying to snake through, could not :(

  2. it builds up blockage very quickly (2 months) - now can have only about 5% water in shower than usual to avoid flooding

  3. no clean out cap/access point around the bendy area (red circle)

enter image description here

Can someone please suggest:

a) short term/quick fixes I can do?

b) solutions (expensive/inexpensive) that a plumber may be able to do?

Note that there's not much of a drop from shower drain level to the soil pipe level (because of the storage door and where soil pipe is located). See below.

enter image description here

Note also that the pipe is all glued up. Can't disconnect anywhere in order to take out the blockage.

Very many thanks for any comments/answers,


  • 2
    Not sure what the fix is, but a snake won't pass through a 90 degree fitting. Normally "sweeps" are used rather than sharp 90's to help water flow and consequentially allow snakes to navigate. What city/country is this in?
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 8, 2015 at 15:16
  • 1
    Just curious because I've not seen drains on the outside of a wall, or 90's used in drain pipe... Does liquid drain cleaner help at all since the mechanical snake can't get through? Maybe a weekly regimen of some drain cleaner after the shower is in order?
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 8, 2015 at 15:36
  • 1
    Michael's answer is what I was getting at. This is kind of devolving into a chat, and I don't even know what brand of drain openers the sell in the UK. replacing the 90's with sweeps and adding some Y-type cleanouts shouldn't be a big deal for you or a plumber to do.
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 8, 2015 at 15:47
  • 1
    just an aside...I love the idea of outside plumbing. Why hide this stuff in walls? Make it accessible!
    – DA01
    Dec 8, 2015 at 16:51
  • 2
    @DA01 Unless you live in a cold climate, then it could be quite troublesome.
    – Tester101
    Dec 8, 2015 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


I'd suggest the following (apologies for the crude drawing).

From left-to-right:

  • extend pipe out past the black pipe
  • attach yellow clean-out elbow (not 90 degree!...use a sweep (yellow))
  • this will be angled down aiming towards the run along the other wall
  • connect the sweep to the other pipe using two 45 degree elbows (purple)

enter image description here

Sweep with cleanout:

enter image description here

45 degree elbow:

enter image description here

That should:

  • remove any 90 degree turns (never a good thing in a drain)
  • reduce turns in general (from 5 to 3)
  • give you a 'snake-able' cleanout entry point.

While you're at it, I'd also move upstream to that inside corner 90 degree angle and replace that with a 90 degree sweep as well.

  • Brilliant. Very clever. That is almost what I had in mind, I thought that perhaps the hopper container could be removed as well (I believe it's unused - the water pipe originally went into the hooper until we replaced it with the pipe that you see). Really like your diagram. Thanks :)
    – bjfletcher
    Dec 8, 2015 at 17:36
  • I agree, there are too many directional changes in this plumbing. The plumber went with form over function, which might be a side effect of visible plumbing. Where gravity drains are concerned, less turns and wider turns are always better.
    – Tester101
    Dec 8, 2015 at 18:23

Glued up PVC pipe should not be any sort of detriment to getting inside to remove a clog. Just cut open a section, clean and then install new fittings to rejoin the line. While you are at it replace some of those horrible 90 degree elbows with a better type of couplings that will not clog so easily as a bunch of these sharp turn elbows. Also take the time to add some access points with screw thread caps to permit the introduction of a clean-out tool in the future.

From the pictures shown this plumbing job looks like it was a total hack job.

  • 2
    For reference, this is a Y-type cleanout that could be added, and this is an example of sweeping curves that are used rather than hard 90s (no idea if that plumbing job is good form, just look at the curved pieces...)
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 8, 2015 at 15:53
  • In terms of mechanics, I agree totally...total hack job. That said, we gotta give them a few points for aesthetics. :)
    – DA01
    Dec 8, 2015 at 17:04

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