Drum Trap Clean Out Ideas

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d drickhamer
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:33 pm
Location: Lakewood, Northland Avenue

Drum Trap Clean Out Ideas

Postby d drickhamer » Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:53 am

We need some help cleaning out a drum trap in a second-floor bathroom which is original except for the supply lines, porcelain tile/cement floor and all. Lakewood Plumbing just came out and cleaned out the drain to the trap but wouldn't open the brass screw top of the trap to clean the pipe from the drain to the stack. (Wasn't home so I don't know the explanation.)

I ran into one of these before in another Lakewood house that I replaced by knocking out the cement floor. I was also remodeling the kitchen at the time. In this house we've already remodeled the kitchen and I don't want to open up the ceiling again. We plan to completely redo the bathroom in about 12 months or so, so I'm looking for a temporary fix.

I want to open up the top of the drum trap (probably with a reciprocating saw), because I'm pretty sure it won't unscrew, and snake it from the trap to the stack. The challenge/question is resealing it afterward. There's got to be some kind of expanding rubber fitting that I could use if I can't find a screw-in fitting that will work.

When we do remodel, we're going to want to cut into the floor rather than tear out the kitchen ceiling but that's another story....

David.


Stan Austin
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Postby Stan Austin » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:00 am

d drickhammer----

If you're going to make a new opening why don't you visit an auto parts store and see what they have in the way of temporary or replacement plugs for oil pans.

Then drill out the coresponding size hole and if it's a temporary plug you're in luck. Otherwise it's just a matter of cutting some new threads for the replacement, threaded plug.

Stan Austin


d drickhamer
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:33 pm
Location: Lakewood, Northland Avenue

Drum Trap

Postby d drickhamer » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:10 am

Thanks Stan for the response.

A little more detail for those who haven't seen one of these. Without a U-bend, the drain pipe from the tub goes straight into the side near the bottom of what's essentially a short vertical pipe 4-5 inches in diameter sealed at the bottom and the top. The pipe to the stack exits at the top, forming the trap to keep out sewer gases. The whole thing is embedded in the concrete floor. The top of the trap has a brass cleanout plug (4 in. diameter or so) that's flush with the bathroom floor with a square head that you're supposed to be able to take a pipe wrench to and unscrew, kind of like the normal cleanout that you'd see on any sewer pipe.

The problem is the brass cleanout plug on the top of the drum trap is old and brittle and hasn't been touched in 50 years so one twist with a wrench will probably break off the square head, which is why I'd probably have to saw out the rest of the plug to get it out. Cleaning the pipe to the stack then becomes a snaking exercise. Then I will need to reseal the trap with something, ideally another cleanout plug. A google search turns up brass cleanout plugs from 3/4" to 8" diameter. But I don't know if these will fit the trap's diameter/thread pitch. If anyone has run into this before, I'd appreciate any advice.

I'll keep you posted on what I figure out. I'm starting to lean toward knocking out the floor, but I've got other projects that I'm in the middle of and I don't want to start something new until I finish them, for once :).

David.


dl meckes
Posts: 1466
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:29 pm
Location: Lakewood

Postby dl meckes » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:08 am

Take all the info & dimensions you have and go to the shrine of all plumbing, Menyhart Plumbing, 6304 Lorain Avenue, 631.5519.

That's where the best plumbers seek counsel.


Joe Ott
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:59 am
Location: Lakewood

Postby Joe Ott » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:29 am

Take a sawzall, cut it out, and replace with proper pvc. I was a bit luckier than you in that mine was under the flooring in the closet next to the tub - our bathroom is unusually large for a lkwd home. One hour job.

Along the lines of Stan's suggestion you might want to try going to Menyharts (can't remember the spelling) on Lorain just past W.65th. They can probably help you and/or suggest a fix. That is the one and only plumbing place around worth going to. The place is amazing.

Don't bother going to Home Cheapo...

Good luck.

edit:
sorry, didn't see DL's post...


dl meckes
Posts: 1466
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:29 pm
Location: Lakewood

Postby dl meckes » Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:48 pm

One more thing about Menyhart: unless I really know what I'm about to get into, I go talk with them.

I have also gone to talk to them carrying pieces parts that needed to be replaced and not only did they sell me the replacement parts, they put everything back into the proper order so I'd have a good chance of getting it right when I got home.

Aside from all of the knowledge and experience they have, they treated me with a great deal of respect and they talked with me in a manner I could understand. The latter isn't easy in my case, as I only recently took up minor plumbing as a hobby.


d drickhamer
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:33 pm
Location: Lakewood, Northland Avenue

Success/Don't call Lakewood Plumbing

Postby d drickhamer » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:44 pm

So I went to Menyhart's--I'd forgotten about them--and they suggested a universal drum trap cap; I didn't know there was such a thing. It has wings on springs that slip into the threads on the side then a screw in the middle that allows you to tighten the top down on the trap once you have it open.

Funny thing is I didn't need it. I stripped the head a bit but I was able to get the top off of the trap without destroying it. I removed it and snaked all of the pipes--both of the drain lines that go to the trap, and then the outlet to the stack. And now it's draining fine. FYI in case someone else has a similar situation, the top flange was 5" diameter total but the threads and pipe were inset a bit, so the opening was only 4". So I could have used a 4" test plug that you can find anywhere--including the new hardware store on Madison--to seal it again since I was only looking for a temporary solution.

So I over-thought this a bit. I still haven't heard anything from Lakewood Plumbing about why they charged us $120 to snake the pipe from the tub to the trap, probably 3 ft. total, and didn't open the drum trap and snake everything. Maybe somebody has had a positive experience with them but you can bet I won't be calling them when I get to the bigger project of redoing the bathroom.



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