Ask An Expert: Tub Troubles

Sep 23

Reader Pamela asked:

We tried to DIY to clean out old tub drain at our first home we just purchased. We stuck an iron hanger down the drain with a small hook on the end. It entered fine and went all the way in. Sadly now it is stuck. It won’t come back out.

Any hints? We don’t want to spend a fortune on a plumber!!! We didn’t buy the drain “un-cloggers” from Home Depot since they were too thick for the opening.

Bill McLoughlin of McLoughlin PHC says:

Many years ago, tubs were manufactured with a hole on the inside of the tub where the faucet was placed. Consumers quickly realized that if the water level in the tub reached where the faucet was, the water would back siphon through the spout and cause flooding. The faucet was then moved to the wall, and the hole where it used to be placed remained, as the molds were too expensive to remake.

Advances in tub and plumbing design lead the hole to be covered with a plate, and used in the design of the drain stopper. A simple mechanism similar to the ones used in today’s tub design, a stopping device was attached to a lever, covered by the tubs exterior, and used to prevent water from going down the drain while filling a tub.

With that said, the wire you used to try and unclog the drain is probably hooked around the overflow spring, part of the draining system of your tub. You’ll need to carefully remove the overflow cover plate on top of your tub in order to try and release the wire from the overflow spring. Good luck!

For plumbing services in the Greater Philadelphia Region, contact McLoughlin PHC today at (610) 649-8080.

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