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Old 26-07-2013, 02:58   #1
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Shower Draining Slowly

Anytime I take a shower, water builds up an inch or two deep, and takes another 15 or 30 minutes to drain, as the sump pump switches on and off multiple times, leaving grime on the shower floor that I have to scrub every could days (of it drained faster, most of the ground would probably get swept down the drain instead). I have an 800 gph Rule sump with delay float switch, all of which looks pretty scummy/dirty (see pic). I'm not sure the best/easiest way to clean it, since it's only accessible through a 3" diameter circular hole in the closet floor, a couple feet below (see other pic). But I actually don't think the problem is the pump itself being gummed up - it seems more like the water just drains into the sump box way too slowly. How to clean without tearing up the floor to get to the hoses? Is there a liquid drain cleaner that won't eat up the hose/impeller/pump/etc?
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Old 26-07-2013, 03:29   #2
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

My guess...

Are you using soap or low-foam gel? If soap, switch to gel and clean everything, removing all of the soap gum.

My guess is that it is fairly clogged with soap gum before and after the pump.

Bill
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Old 26-07-2013, 03:30   #3
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

You might want to take the plastic screen tube out and remove all the crud and hair on it. When it gets clogged the tube will be very slow to drain......Dawn soap in the catch box to see if it will break loose the body oils is also a good idea. Let it set and slosh a long time.....
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Old 26-07-2013, 09:31   #4
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You need regular access to that box. It's not a set and forget system. There is a hair screen in it and I have found that the goo needs to be cleaned out periodically as well. As for the slow drain, you have clogged hoses. Thats another reason to access the box - you need to plug up the end of the shower hose. Run hot water through it. Drain that, then a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. Then hot water again.
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Old 26-07-2013, 09:47   #5
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

It's not the box. I just dealt with this problem for a customer. The drain hose at the shower floor makes a sharp turn, with a 90 degree elbow, then runs pretty flat to the shower sump pump. Any plumber can tell you what happens next. The carrying capacity of moving water depends on velocity of flow. Hair is a major contributor to the "dam" that collects just past the elbow. So, either shave your body completely before showering, or find a way to poke the crud out of the line. Sadly, the elbow and line are beneath a non-removable shower pan, and the bend is too tight for most snakes. You could dose the line with sodium hydroxide (Draino or its equivalents), then neutralize the outflow with vinegar. Then follow up with a heavy wire cable (I use #6, the color red works best for me) to periodically ream out the elbow. Then, force the shower hose stream into the drain. Carrying capacity increases as the cube of velocity. It's a powerful relationship. It works the same in reverse, which is what the OP is complaining about. The sodium hydroxide converts the oils and protein of the hair into soapy-like crud, easier to flush out. The vinegar waits in the sump for the mass to flow in and render it harmless to your fingers which will scoop out the mess trapped in the mesh cylinder. Vinegar and bicarb only makes things foamy.
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Old 26-07-2013, 10:26   #6
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

full body shaving? things you learn on the internet. googled and this was one of the results. can you use pvc pipe in the 90 degree bend to keep the hose from collapsing?

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Old 26-07-2013, 13:59   #7
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

Whatever works to achieve the bend is better than the hard 90 degree that I've seen in most shower pan installations. Ideal would be what is called a "sweep", but no one seems to have that much bilge depth for such a fitting. So, we are stuck with accumulating hair, which then clogs with soap scum and other crud, all of which slows the flow down to allow more detritus to settle in the drain. Eventually, it all packs up.

Turn off the power to the shower drain, fill the box that houses the pump halfway with vinegar, then put a hefty tablespoon of sodium hydroxide crystals in the shower pan drain. Wet it down SLOWLY with several tablespoons of water (wearing adequate face and eye protection, for those not bright enough to understand this in the first place), and wait a half hour. Then pour enough water in to cause the water to overflow the shower drain, BARELY. Let it sit a while until the water is gone, then wiggle the wire around in the drain to assist unplugging the crud. Turn the shower sump pump circuit back on, then blast it with water for a moment. The vinegar should have neutralized any base flowing into the strainer, and there should be an ugly, semi-gelatinous mass of hair and yuck inside. Remove it and wipe the pump enclosure clean. Repeat if needed.

Once a month, repeat this process.
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Old 26-07-2013, 14:51   #8
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

Hi Roy! I am not sure that your recommendation in using Sodium Hydroxide is a sound one. Sodium Hydroxide is caustic and will release heat when hydrated. Prolonged skin exposure will destroy your skin without you even knowing it; the slippery feeling that you'll get on contact, is a sign that you have not wash it off completely. I am not sure who would sell you the pellets and how will you determine the concentration of your prep. Wouldn't be better off in using DRANO?; follow the directions on the label.

Mauritz
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Old 26-07-2013, 17:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
Hi Roy! I am not sure that your recommendation in using Sodium Hydroxide is a sound one. Sodium Hydroxide is caustic and will release heat when hydrated. Prolonged skin exposure will destroy your skin without you even knowing it; the slippery feeling that you'll get on contact, is a sign that you have not wash it off completely. I am not sure who would sell you the pellets and how will you determine the concentration of your prep. Wouldn't be better off in using DRANO?; follow the directions on the label.

Mauritz
Per msds of drano crystals
Main ingredient: sodium hydroxide.
Instructions are pretty close to Roy's suggestion too.

Edit: here's the link
http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source...49784469,d.cGE.

I like the suggestion to neutralize in the tub under the floor, that's very slick!
Never thought of that and was removing pumps before to avoid damage.
I've had a similar problem(and set up) on a customer's boat, I used the shore hose and one of those self inflating plumbers nozzles to stick in the hole.
However, in his case, the issue was not fixed, the line was only draining fast with the screen in the shower removed. Partly turned out to be a boat trim issue.
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Old 26-07-2013, 17:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgbrown View Post

Per msds of drano crystals
Main ingredient: sodium hydroxide.
Instructions are pretty close to Roy's suggestion too.

Edit: here's the link
http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source...49784469,d.cGE.

I like the suggestion to neutralize in the tub under the floor, that's very slick!
Never thought of that and was removing pumps before to avoid damage.
I've had a similar problem(and set up) on a customer's boat, I used the shore hose and one of those self inflating plumbers nozzles to stick in the hole.
However, in his case, the issue was not fixed, the line was only draining fast with the screen in the shower removed. Partly turned out to be a boat trim issue.
Drano is nasty stuff. It's sodium hydroxide with some metal flakes for a catalyst. Works very well. On a pH scale of 0 to 14, pure sodium hydroxide is 14. Hydrochloride acid is 0. Muratic acid is diluted HCl. It's a logarithmic scale. Vinegar (ascetic acid) has a pH in the mid 2s. It would take about 40x as much vinegar to neutralize the same amount of sodium hydroxide. Be very careful.
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Old 26-07-2013, 18:36   #11
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I wouldn't use drano in my hoses. The vinegar soda solution works for me. You should see what comes out. You do need the hot water to help loosen stuff up. This is regular maintenance. Don't let it get so bad. Also, note that that shower sump is not watertight so you can't just turn off the sump and fill the system up to a level above the top of the box. It'll end up in your bilge. Also, those little drains have a solid divider in them with a bedded nut to hold the screen on. I could not get any kind of snake in there around it but maybe he has a different one.
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Old 27-07-2013, 15:49   #12
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

One tablespoon of Draino vs. 8-16 oz. of vinegar is a good match. Again, this is for people who have the frontal cortex still fully intact (that place in the brain of someone older, generally, than 24 years, that is responsible for understanding that there is consequence for actions taken). If you are uncomfortable with this technique, if you don't read well, or if you believe in a different reality, DON'T USE THIS TECHNIQUE. Otherwise, do it and get on with your lives, and don't let the drain plug again. Periodically perform preventive maintenance with the draino and vinegar. You can use smaller amounts of Draino (or its equivalents) for preventive maintenance.

If you are building a shower, try to make the elbow accessible, a gentler sweep, or a big enough diameter that you can maneuver a snake down the full length of the drain line to the sump pump. You still will need to clean the entrapment cylinder to prevent the hair from fouling the centrifugal pump. That is a real mess to untangle.
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Old 27-07-2013, 16:53   #13
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For the record, Roy is correct that it is a clog near the shower drain itself, not the outlet to the sump or the sump box itself. I actually have two showers - one in the foreward bedroom/head where I can visually follow the hose up from the sump, through a gentle sweep, into a vertical clamp onto the shower drain pipe. I never use this shower, so tried it out and it drained fine; I could actually see the water peeing into the sump, the switch floating up and tripping every ten seconds or so, and the shower never backed up. The shower I normally use is in the mid-ship master bedroom/head, which has a farther horizontal run to the tee with the other shower drain hose (tee is right next to the sump box). I can't see most of this run, but I'm betting there is a sharp elbow as Roy describes.

So, while I am over 24 years old and my frontal lobe is mostly intact, I didn't have any drano or vinegar aboard. Not hard to get, but instead I decided to try NoFlex digestor, which I've been using for my toilets/holding tank, but also advertises itself as a shower drain unclogger. Put in capful, add one cup cold water, wait overnight and the hair and scum will pop up out of the drain where you can clean it away, the instructions say. So I added a capful and a cup of water, waited an hour or two, figured it had all run through already (since I heard the sump run not much later) and tried the shower. Drains WAY better now (still seems not quite as fast as the other shower though, but at least you're not standing in a tub of water in the shower), and even the sump box looks much cleaner. I might put another capful in before bed, and maybe some directly in the sump box too.
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Old 27-07-2013, 18:15   #14
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Re: Shower Draining Slowly

I guess there are many ways to bliss. I love this forum.
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Old 28-07-2013, 18:01   #15
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Followed up with pulling out and cleaning the strainer cylinder, and some palmolive and elbow grease on the sump box (running the shower for a while in between a few scrubbings). Wish the box was not so hard to reach, but got the job done. Before and after photos:

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