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73 votes
Accepted

Good way to remove something from a bathroom sink overflow drain?

I'd be going at it with a strongest vacuum you can come up with. Maybe put a nylon stocking over the end of the hose so the earring doesn't get damaged flying down the pipe.
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  • 106k
40 votes

Is it safe to flush newspaper down the toilet?

No, that would not be safe. If you want to use something other than regular tissue (like paper towels), you would need to dispose of it in the wastebasket. Toilet paper is made to fall apart ...
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  • 26.6k
32 votes

What can cause a never-frozen indoor copper drain pipe to crack?

I would inspect the entire property for more such pipe and replace any that was found. That's almost certainly a manufacturing defect and likely to be pending failure wherever that batch of pipe was ...
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  • 2,862
29 votes

Is it safe to flush newspaper down the toilet?

Newspaper is actually one of the worst types of paper materials to use for flushing. One of the things not mentioned is the gummyness of newspaper. When newspaper gets wet it sticks to more ...
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  • 46.2k
27 votes
Accepted

Why would a P-Trap be required before an air gap for a refrigerator drain?

It's preventing air movement through the drain pipe. Without it, cold air from the refrigerated space will constantly flow out the pipe, and warm air from outside will constantly leak in - wasting ...
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  • 136k
26 votes
Accepted

How can I temporarily repair a lengthwise crack in an ABS drain pipe?

Tape it. You are not proposing this kludge as a permanent fix. That's good. The wrap-tape products are good for an emergency bodge, and that's what you are proposing, on a temporary basis. The problem ...
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  • 136k
23 votes

How do I open this sink trap?

That bottom piece should unscrew by turning it counter clockwise. They usually come with a tool to unscrew it. You can use a steel washer and a pair of pliers or a large screwdriver. You don't want to ...
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  • 54.9k
22 votes

Can anyone tell me what kind of drain this is?

That is a bone stock "bell-trap" floor drain. They are illegal for interior use under the IPC (at least) since the trap weir depth is perhaps 1/2 an inch or so; well below the minimum 2"...
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  • 136k
22 votes

How do I open this sink trap?

Apparently it is called a bottle trap. To clean it in-place Use a large coin to unscrew this part: Here is a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_sUB9PlTw8 To remove it: Unscrew this part to ...
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  • 221
22 votes
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French Drain: Why do I need 3" of rock bedding beneath the pipe?

If you put the pipe right on the fabric, you'll end up filtering the inflow through the 1/2" circles of fabric pressed up against the holes in the pipe, as opposed to filtering through all the ...
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  • 136k
21 votes

How do I handle a piece of wax from a toilet ring falling into the drain?

Assuming anything like a normal, to code, plumbing install: Unlikely to be a problem. Per (IBC) code: Toilets are installed on a 3" pipe, minimum. Drain pipe sizes stay the same or get larger in ...
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  • 136k
20 votes
Accepted

Strange suction in toilet and sink, like a vacuum in the sewer pulling the water out

Even if someone was "working on the sewer lines with a vacuum" properly sized and functional vents would keep the traps from siphoning. So, you have vents which are not functioning as they ...
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  • 136k
18 votes

What can cause a never-frozen indoor copper drain pipe to crack?

Copper does erode over time through mechanical wear and chemical corrosion. My guess is that it simply got thin enough that thermal stresses popped the weld (or the extrusion resulted in a thin side, ...
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  • 106k
18 votes
Accepted

Under sink has cylindrical fixture instead of J-pipe, what is it and how to clear it out?

That is a drum trap. [Evidently also called a bottle trap in some parts of the world, per comments] They are rather old school, and out of favor in code now. I'm more used to finding them embedded in ...
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  • 136k
17 votes

What is this mysterious pipe in my back yard?

This could be part of a larger yard drainage system. It could let water from the screened end of the pipe drain out into some buried drain field. It could also drain onto a deep buried french drain ...
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  • 61.5k
17 votes

French Drain: Why do I need 3" of rock bedding beneath the pipe?

The water will still flow through the rocks with the pipe assuming your ditch slopes as well. If any sediment makes its way through or around the fabric, the extra 3" will help prevent the ...
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  • 753
15 votes
Accepted

How does an external tower style bathtub drain work?

It's called a "standing waste". It works just like you say. The cone at the base of the inner tube seals against a flange and the water must fill the outer tube (attached to your floor) before (over)...
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  • 2,310
15 votes
Accepted

Does a plumbing vent need to penetrate the roof? (Can it penetrate a wall?)

No problem, as long as the vent meets the criteria listed below. Not directly below a door, openable window, or other air intake opening (of this or any other building). Not within 10 feet ...
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  • 128k
15 votes
Accepted

Is Liquid Plumr or Drano safe to use with a septic system?

TLDR; As a one-off use, Drano® is fine provided you aren't cleaning your floor or doing a couple loads of whites on the same day. What independent studies say: According to a 2004 paper by Cornell ...
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  • 2,377
15 votes

Good way to remove something from a bathroom sink overflow drain?

If you absolutely, positively, must know for certain that you've hooked the earring, the whole earring, and nothing but the earring, then you want an endoscope: An inexpensive USB or WiFi endoscope ...
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  • 578
14 votes
Accepted

Why does a laundry drain need to be installed at a minimum height of 30"?

The water in the wash tub will drain out if the drain in the wall is lower than the water level in the washing machine. Simple physics, water seeks its own level. The drain located at the recommended ...
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  • 31.3k
14 votes
Accepted

What is this mysterious pipe in my back yard?

Looks like a rain gutter or sump pump outlet. Place a noisy device directed into it and walk around and listen. You could probably bury the white pipe and just leave the grille exposed, flush with ...
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  • 106k
14 votes

can a dishwasher be installed 17 feet from sink?

You can put the dishwasher wherever you want. You will have to provide it with water and a drain that meets code - and it's not at all likely that you can run 17 feet to join the sink drain while ...
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  • 136k
14 votes

Is my p-trap installed correctly?

Didn't know about trimming tailpices to fit, leading to odd arrangement with more pipe than needed. And more critical; that's an S trap now. The pair of vertical elbows at the wall entrance is a ...
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  • 136k
13 votes

slow draining bathtub - is a frozen pipe a possibility?

It seems pretty unlikely that the drainpipe would freeze in your crawlspace. Even if there was a 20 degree wind whipping through it (which there isn't: it's enclosed), the only way that could be is ...
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  • 1,771
13 votes
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Snaking a clogged tub drain

Because the standard tub drain has a sharp right-angle T junction where the overflow and tub drain meet (this is also where the stopper is located if the stopper is operated by a lever on the overflow ...
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  • 136k
13 votes

Is it safe to flush newspaper down the toilet?

I am living in a country where it was pretty much a normal practice some 30 years ago. Communist party press was issued in excessive numbers and everyone was forced to subscribe, so the old issues ...
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  • 2,092
13 votes

How do I handle a piece of wax from a toilet ring falling into the drain?

If the piece is smaller then the drain I would pour several 5 gallon buckets of the coldest water down the drain to flush it into the street sewer. Once it gets in there it's the city's problem. Don'...
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13 votes
Accepted

Connecting a p-trap via bending the drain stem vs the trap arm?

It's standard practice to use one or more horizontal bends on the drain stub (trap arm) to gain alignment. In this case, a single 45° elbow toward the camera should do nicely. You'll swing the trap ...
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  • 106k
12 votes
Accepted

Persistent sewage smell coming from basement drain

You are correct that floor drains do need to be monitored and occasionally the trap refilled with water. So the first thing to check is that your floor drain actually has a trap. The way to do that ...
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  • 19k

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