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Larry Pish
Iron debris when I plunge the clogged bathroom sink.
Larry Pish

I live in a 3 story home build in the '40s, basement, mail floor, upstairs. In the upstairs bathroom, I can't unclog the sink. No other sinks/toilets are clogged. When I plunge the sink, I get rusty pipe-looking debris that comes up into the sink/water, and will stain the sink. A while ago I snaked the sink drain with a 25 foot snake attached to my drill. There were no noticeable big clogs on the end of the snake when I retrieved it; some twine looking stuff, and other gunk, but noting obvious. This drain goes from the second floor to the basement, and into the main drain pipe which is about waist high in the basement - where it then goes out the front of the house, thru the 10 yards to the street, and the main sewer.
So, can you help me? Why would I have metal-type filings come out of the drain up into the sink upon plunging? I fear the old pipes are disintegrating and if I snake it much more I might punch a hole in the pipe somewhere along the line. Thanks for any help you can give me. You could email me at [email protected], also.

Re: Iron debris when I plunge the clogged bathroom sink.

You need a camera inspection. Most plumbers have video cameras. Some specialize only in video camera inspections. This service will enable you to examine the INSIDE of your pipe from the sink to the street, and it runs around 150 to 300. Some will do it for free if you give them the job.

Without seeing what you have, it's possible that you have cast iron pipes that are going bad. After a vid inspection, you could get some opinions on what to do. Then it would be up to you.

Your house is about 70-75 years young - anything is possible. I have a few homes with cast iron drain pipes and I've seen some turn into rusty dust, after so many years.

Replacing your waste pipes is a major job, which involves opening walls and breaking slabs - but jobs like this are done often.

How about your fresh water supply pipes?

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