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Not so simple drain

My shower drain sometimes profusely leaks in the basement ceiling plumbing. I am unable to get the spring steel snake down past about 16 inches, no matter how I twist and use back and forth, push and pull method. The drain flows, but sometimes the water will drip all over the floor in the basement. It seems to happen only when someone takes a bath or sometimes after during a shower...but not always! I have used the gel chemical, I have removed the drain filter plate and snaked with the short plastic snake with barbs, but nothing ever comes up. My theory is that there is a clog, down past the "P" elbow somewhere. When the volume of drain water is such, it backs up the flow so that water leaks out of "somewhere". I can't figure out where that "somewhere" even is, without ripping out ceiling in the basement bathroom(above both sides of the bathroom door, where all the tub drain pipes run to meet the main drain to the outside line). I don't see any holes or cracks, when I look up in the "space" horizontally from outside the downstairs above the bathroom door, where I have removed one "drop down ceiling" tile. The leak seems to run backwards along the drain pipe, to a spot outside the downstairs bathroom door, where it sometimes runs down the door molding or the door or off the "P" elbow pipe, sometimes splashing on to the floor.....BUT not every time the tub or shower is used.
I can't figure out why the snake gets stopped at the same point. I have tried going down the overflow pipe, but get nowhere. Sometimes going down the tub drain, if I don't angle the tip of the snake the right way, the snake will go back up the overflow pipe. Useless!
SUMMARY: certain volumes of draining water end up dripping or running along the tub drainage pipes and splashing onto the basement floor and I cannot figure out why!

Re: Not so simple drain

Using a snake is not a high tech science requiring a Master's diploma. But it's definately not for everyone. The snake moves forward better when it rotates. Then you must use the correct size snake for the drain line you are working on. Snaking does work, that's how we clear drains. In most cases it's a problem with hair. I've had other unimaginable obtructions that bad tenants leave behind, so you deal with them on a case by case situation.

If using a snake is not for you, avoid headaches and frustration and hire a plumber, how bad could it be?

A. Spruce
Re: Not so simple drain

Unless the drain is physically backing up into the tub/shower, a blocked drain is not your problem.


It seems to happen only when someone takes a bath or sometimes after during a shower.

By this I assume you've got a tub/shower combo. If this is the case, the leak is most likely the overflow on the tub. If the escutcheon is loose or the gasket is misaligned or damaged, water can easily slip past this point and you won't know it unless you see a leak somewhere, which is what you're describing.

During a bath, it's easy to splash water around the overflow, showers are less of a problem, but some splash does occur. Check here first, it's all accessible from within the tub.

If that doesn't cure the problem, then I'd remove the ceiling from below and run water until I found the source of the leak.

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