Saturday, January 04, 2014

And Then

     Went to clear the tub drain before taking A Real Bath (instead of a shower): slid the spiny hair-clog-removing gadget down the drain, took a good grip on the tab, pulled gently and--

     It came off in my hand, leaving about seventeen inches of Zip-It stuck in the drain and no way to get it out.  I tried fishing it out with another one -- they don't usually break! -- figuring the first one was stuck in the inevitable hair clog* and would come out with it.  No dice.  I did get the plastic blade cover from one of those cute little pink razors and a big glob of hair, which helped the drain speed, but the broken Zip-It is still in there.

     I'll still use them; they're practically a necessity here.  But I'm going to be looking them over very carefully from now on.

     If I didn't have things to get done today, I'd go right back to bed and pull the covers over my head.  This day hasn't started very well.

     Update: And I lost one of a $67.00 pair of gloves at the five and dime -- the mega five and dime, where I had joined a few zillion fellow locusts citizens in clearing the shelves of anything edible.   Retraced my steps, checked at Lost & Found -- nothing.  This day certainly could have been worse but it's not been much fun.
* Two women in this household and neither of us is Susan Powter: hair clogs are a fact of life.


DJ said...

Is this widget a "sewer auger", essentially a long, thin, helical spring that is pushed and screwed down into the pipe to grab ahold of the gook, tear it loose, and let it either flush along or be pulled out? If so, and it breaks off in the pipe, there is a widget that can be affixed to the end of the remaining spring so it can be screwed down into the pipe and retrieve it.

Been there, done that, and taught its use, many times.

You can see it one in use here.

I worked as a mechanic in a rental center back in high school. We rented sewer augers, and sometimes, despite our best inspections, they broke. Spring steel does that. We never lost the broken off piece; we were always able to retrieve it with that widget.

DJ said...

Oh, and before you ask, yes, I did follow the "zipitclean" link. I waited and waited, and it never responded with more than a blank screen.

Robin said...

No, DJ, the ZipIt is a long flexible plastic strip with "teeth" and a handle. I don't think your tool would be useful in this instance.

DJ said...

Thanks, Robin. I should have Googled for it when the link didn't work, but I though, either way, this might generate an idea for how to retrieve it, so I posted it anyway. That was the whole reason for my comment.

Roberta X said...

DJ, that's a slow-loading site even on my DSL. A little plastic gizmo just about inexpensive enough to throw away after a single use is certainly not the kind of thing one thinks of when "drain-clearing tool" is mentioned but until today, they'd worked very well for me.

benEzra said...

In this household, hirsute inhabitants of shower drains are referred to as Shower Wookies, as in "I'm going to go pull the wookie out of the shower drain."

I currently use a big long pair of forceps to perform the wookiectomy, and am wondering if the broken-off end of your wookie extraction tool would similarly be reachable with a long pair of same, assuming they will fit through the drain guard and have the grip strength to pull the tool out.

Otherwise some sort of narrow snake with a hooking end might work, even a wire hanger with a hook bent in the end; push it past the stuck tool and see if you can hook the clog and entrapped tool on the way back out. Just bend it in such a way that you can get it back out of the drain later.

DJ said...

Thin (1/4" to 5/16") drain augers are quite cheap. Consider this one for less than nine bucks at Home Depot.

Note the widget on the end of it. Now, imagine opening up that widget such that it has a wide open "mouth" and spirals down to a smaller diameter where it mounts. Next, imagine stretching it such that it starts with the spirals at a larger spacing and narrows down to a smaller spacing where it mounts. Finally, make sure that the sharp end is not tucked into the spiral. All that makes it a "broken plastic whatsit grabber". (And, you might have to heat it to bend it, if it's made of the same steel as the rest of it.)

Just push it in 'til it meets a bit of resistance, then wind it in until it screws onto the broken whatsit. It doesn't have to screw directly onto the broken end, rather the sharp end of the "grabber" can hook over it at any point along its length, then wind onto it such that it is firmly gripped. When it feels like it has, keep the pressure on it and pull it out.

That's how the retriever works that I used many decades ago. It's cheap enough that it's worth a try.

Will said...

F'n Blooger gave me a 404 when I clicked send, and it's gone. Grrr.

Auto parts store. Look for a retriever/grabber. 18-24" spiral wound body. Plunger controlled fingers. Fingers can be recontoured with pliers for better grip.

I use this for drain junk retrieval.

Ritchie said...

A few inches of snow in Mordor-on-the-Platte (Denver) and morning temp foretold to be low single digits in German measure. I'm taking the Chevy K5 photo accessory to work. On the drain problem, do you know anyone involved with small black powder cannon? This sounds like a job for a worm, artillery style. (I got the Blazer to extend my range of photo ops.)

Levi Eslinger said...

It really broke? That is something new! Usually those unclogging tools are sturdy, maybe it got lodged on a bad spot that's why it broke off. Glad to know that you got your drains working again! I hope this time you consider getting professional's advice and avoid the same incident from happening all over again.

Levi Eslinger @Capital Plumbing CA