Sunday, December 11, 2011

Drain, Drain Go Away OR When It Drains, It Pours

For some time now, we have been having minor drain problems with the garage sink into which clothes washer drains.

Part of the problem, we know, is lint and pet hair from the wash clogging the sink.  So we have a rubber lint catcher which sits in the drain to catch lint, pet hair, etc before it enters the pipes.  We clean that out every load.  Sometimes a couple of times in the middle of a load.  Still the water backs up until the sink is full and sometimes beyond - flooding the garage.

But it is not just that.  When we clean out the lint catcher or sometimes even remove it, the water starts to flow down the drain, but after several inches stops or significantly slows.  Indicating a clog somewhere down the line.  Sometimes we have to stop the washer and wait to keep the water from over flowing.  Sometimes we don't, but should have.  : (

Today our friend Ron Brown came over and ran a 20 foot long or so snake down the pipes from the garage and also from the outside cleanout.  Found nothing.  He put the sink back.  Alas, perhaps a gasket is missing or something, because now there is a slight drip under the sink.  We temporarily put an old ice cream bucket under the sink to catch the drips.  No big problem.

More fun!  Suddenly the washer is not draining.  This has happened before.  I just tell the washer to try again.  It does and life goes on.  Not this time.  It spun, but did not issue forth water.  Water leaked from under the washer.  Still more water on our already wet from flooding floor.  Benjamin discovered that if he took the hose out of the sink and lowered it nearly to the floor that water came out.  Bucket by bucket he emptied the washer.  When it was nearly empty, the washer again spun and spit out water into the sink.  So, he set the washer to spin out and rinse again.  Will it work?  Oh the excitement!

So, now we have a drain that doesn't drain well, but does drip  and a washer that may or may not spin out the water.

I have purchased untold amounts of liquid drain cleaner and poured them down that and other drains. Thinking that was the responsible good homeowner thing to do.  It has not helped the laundry drain. I don't know if it has done any good with the other drains - my particular concern being the bathtub drain to deal with the copious amounts of hair and soap scum that gets beyond what I can clean out by hand.  So far, no problems there (count your blessings and knock on wood).  But one of my friends says that at best I am wasting my money and at worst I may be damaging my pipes.  argh!

And like I said, the garage drain remains very, very slow. I fear I must call in a professional plumber for that drain.  My house pipes are not very old.  We completely re-piped not long before the divorce - one of the few things actually done for the house with money borrowed for house repairs (and mostly used to buy a then brand new Prius for the then head of household). 

I may also need to invest in a new washer.  I long ago got tired of throwing away money on the maintenance plan for the washer and dryer (which now sometimes squeaks, also not good).   I am thinking that a few years of a maintenance plan is enough for a new appliance and that when I replace the washer, I will get one that catches the lint and stuff like my previous one did.  I am not looking forward to 1) shopping for an appliance or maybe two (I am not a super smart informed shopper) and 2) depleting my savings.  But!  I do have some savings and should be able to flat out buy a basic washer (and dryer if need be).  : )

I hate to draw from my not very large savings, but what a blessing to be living now so that is the option instead of adding to the (now non existent except for larger than it should be mortgage) debt load as under the old regime! 

I still have no retirement savings, but I no longer live in debt.  Wonderful! I am struggling to pay even for community college for my guys to take even a handful of classes and I will only be able to pay a fraction of Benjamin's mission costs.  But inch by fraction of an inch, I am becoming (hopefully) financially secure. Not rich, mind you, but debt free (except my mortgage and 2 credit cards that I pay off every month) and able to meet minor (very minor) emergencies.

What a relief after after living through a period of getting several calls a week from debt collectors for debts I didn't even know existed, going through a bankruptcy and then a few years after paying that off with a surprise inheritance discovering in addition to house and car loans that I knew about another $30,000 in secret debts and rushing headlong towards another possible bankruptcy.  All the while scrimping on almost everything to get by.  This while my husband was earning very good money (but spending better and not on his family).

So I whine and complain and worry a bit about money, but life is so much better now.  If I am careful and blessed, I will remain solvent.  NICE

Still, I would rather that the washer emptied and the drain drained.  Just glad the toilets work! and kitchen and bathroom sink and tub!

Washer problem persisting.  Looks like I get a new washer for Christmas!


  1. Did this drain ALWAYS drain in this way or is this something new. It may be more an issue of "venting" than it is a clog.

    Without an open access to venting, the water "sticks" in the pipes (much like soda does in a straw when you cover the top with your finger).

    Have you considered used appliances? Much less than new, but it's a gamble.. I have bought some used appliances without problems - the refridgerator, stove, and washer and dryer in our first house were all used... Craigslist?

    Also, watch for scratch and dent... Our first dishwasher was a scratch and dent sale - and our current washer and dryer were on closeout because they were in a "trendy" color that the store no longer wanted to carry (Black)..

    We are struggling to become "debt free" as well - but we had about 10 years of "single income" while my wife stayed at home. Unfortunatly, those ten years were "supplemented" with the use of some credit. (Robbing Peter to pay Paul, if you will). We knew this going in, and now are working hard at getting back to where we were.

    Hang in there, you are doing the right things for the right reasons!

  2. Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that plumbing has never really left the dark ages? LOL I know we have indoor plumbing and all that, but that just moved the problems in out of the cold.

  3. I don't know. I remain blissfully unaware of the mechanics/physics/whatever of plumbing. I just know I love it when it works, which thankfully is most of the time. Even now, it is not my most critical plumbing giving me trouble. I am grateful.