What to do when the sink gets clogged.
This back to back, duel drained system was built way back in ancient times before plumbing codes were enforced, and without consideration for running a snake into the tee. When both sinks clogged up, I unfastened the bathroom drain assembly and inserted the snake into the galvanized steel nipple. The snake never found the tee but instead exited the kitchen sink, much like in the old Three stooges skits.
I couldn’t access the tee with the existing 6″ nipple so it had to be removed. The threads were welded tight, so I cut the steel pipe with a grinder, and adjoined the two cut ends with a standard “no hub” coupling. (picture, right.) Even after cutting the pipe down to a mere nub, it was still difficult to access the tee. Now, the standard coupling is easily removed which makes the drain easier to clear.
I had to put a bend at the tip of the snake in order to guide it down the tee. I managed to get the snake down the tee, and was successful in clearing the drain. Before re-connecting the drain kits, I deposited some vinegar/baking soda down the tee while continuing to operate the snake.
Once both sink drains were re-connected, I opened hot water on both faucets to give the clogged section a good flush.
Of course it would be better to install a new drain system, complete with cleanouts, and sanitary tees, but such an installment would be super high in cost. For most moderate homeowners, the repair isn’t feasible.
Anyone who has this unkind and outdated drain configuration in duel drained sinks should use quality strainers to avoid jamming up their pipes. It is also good maintenance to use a gel based drain cleaner according to the product’s instructions. Harsh chemicals such as muriatic acid, hydrochloric acid, and sodium hydroxide should be avoided because they are caustic, volatile, and have been known to rupture pipes.