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Floor drain with brass strainer?

mattmia2
mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
edited March 31 in THE MAIN WALL
I have this floor drain which is clogged. I need to know how to take it apart or how to clean it without taking it apart. I took the cap off of the drum trap and it is clear to the main sewer. It is the brass piece. I can't tell if it is just a strainer or another trap. The drum trap seems to be all part of one casting with the drain. Is there a spanner for the brass piece? Where is the outlet? I couldn't seem to get a wire down through it. Can I get a replacement brass piece if I have to cut it apart? Why is it threaded on the outside?

That plug is in the top of the drum trap.




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Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,312
    A drum trap in the floor? It may be a p trap with a clean out, or a backflow cap on it.

    You can get those "drain king" deals that go on a garden hose. They expand to seal off and use the water pressure to blow it clean.

    If it has roots, you may need a cable or jetter.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    It is a drum trap that seems to be cast all as one with the floor drain basin. If you take that plug out it is the top of the drum trap. There is an outlet in the side near the top that is connected to the main sewer line under the basement floor and you can pour water in there and the side outlet is flowing freely.

    The clog is somewhere in that basin part. From where the pipe plug is in the top of the trap I can stick a wire over and under the basin part and there is a chamber there that feels more or less clear minus 70 years of sediment.

    That part with what looks like some sort of a lug the width of the top is brass and is threaded on the outside then under the top of it which is threaded i can feel intermittent slots. If I try to stick a wire down through the slots I can't get that to go in to the chamber below. I'm not sure if there is only a smallish hole in the middle i couldn't find or it it goes up then down to form another trap in that brass part or if it is just a strainer of sorts to keep larger debris out of the drain. I tried to unscrew it but I couldn't get much of a grip on it, I tried a piece of 1" pipe with a slot cut in it to grab that lug but it was too awkward to get much force on it.

    I would like to know what the brass thing is and what it looks like in the inside so I have a better idea of what I am trying to fish a wire through to clear out.

    This I think was installed when the house was connected to the municipal sewer in 1950.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,947
    I've not seen such a gadget, but my guess would be that indeed that assembly is a strainer -- and that it is well and truly clogged. If you can't get that brass cap off, can you empty the drum trap (yuch) and find the inlet from that assembly -- it will be near the bottom -- and see if you can backflush it? Stick a garden hose into the inlet and seal it as best you can, and let her rip (again, yuch...)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,763
    As said, back flush.
    I would put a bucket over it first.
    Shop vac up the goodies.
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    As a side bonus here the floor slopes away from it.

    I'm sort of thinking I can make a spanner with a piece of 3" pipe or a 2.5" fitting and drill a hole through it so I can put a 1/2" or so pipe through it as a t-handle so I can lean over the whole thing and hold the piece of pipe down on the lugs while turning so it doesn't cam out. I'm thinking like a 6' piece of pipe with the nipple in the middle.

    But I kind of like the idea of the garden hose and the much smaller possibility of breaking something that no one still alive has seen new in a box.
    PC7060reggi
  • realliveplumber
    realliveplumber Member Posts: 60
    It is a floor sink, not a floor drain. It wont be easy to get that plug out.



    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526

    It is a floor sink, not a floor drain. It wont be easy to get that plug out.


    So is that supposed to be something that is openable and closeable or is it supposed to not drain at all with that in there or what? It is in the middle of the basement floor as a floor drain whatever it is.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,947
    Good grief. Well, somebody knows what it is. I'll be the best way to clean it out is going to be to backflush it. First lean all the gunk in the bottom out, right down to metal... then back flush.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    edited March 31

    Good grief. Well, somebody knows what it is. I'll be the best way to clean it out is going to be to backflush it. First lean all the gunk in the bottom out, right down to metal... then back flush.

    Yeah, I think I can stuff a hose controlled with an inline valve in underneath it and stuff a rag around the hose so I seal it off from the sewer and let some water flow up and out of it. assuming it isn't so clogged that water pressure won't push the debris out.

    I ended up running a sewer rod out to the main sewer before I figured out that the floor drain itself was clogged. When I replaced about half of the orangeburg about 15 years ago I put cleanouts in the yard. One has a Y so I couldn't see the lateral itself and the other has a tee but has some offset in the riser to the cleanout so I couldn't really see if there was standing water in the lateral or not. Then I pulled the cap off the trap and figured out that the main line was clear.
  • No manufacturer's markings? J.R. Smith, Josam?

    I've never seen anything like it.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526

    No manufacturer's markings? J.R. Smith, Josam?

    I've never seen anything like it.

    No markings that i've seen but it was kind of trying to not get too close to the sewage. Which i guess is just condensate and humidifier overflow mixed with whatever is in the drain. i suppose i could wash the cover off and see if it has a name on it. Remember this is from 1950. The other 2 floor drains kind of look like the brass thing in the middle was removed and don't have the cleanout plug next to them but that might be buried in the concrete.
  • Gary Smith
    Gary Smith Member Posts: 400
    If you can't clean the basin to allow unrestricted flow, you might measure the size of the brass plug in the top (the thing with the groove in it). It very likely is a standard size NPT thread and could, if that's the case and if needed be drilled and cut out and replaced with a new brass or plastic plug of the same size.
    mattmia2
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,763
    At my last repair job, I just saw floor drains from 1951 with brass swing check in them.

    I assume the reason was to prevent sewage backup. These flappers were stuck half open.

    I wonder if there is some form of backflow preventer inside that floor drain.
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526

    If you can't clean the basin to allow unrestricted flow, you might measure the size of the brass plug in the top (the thing with the groove in it). It very likely is a standard size NPT thread and could, if that's the case and if needed be drilled and cut out and replaced with a new brass or plastic plug of the same size.

    It is hard to tell but that is not a groove but a ridge on the top. The brass cap thing is hollow inside and I can feel slots in the bottom of it. I could stick a wire in the slots but I couldn't find a place for the wire to go down but I was fishing at a really weird angle while squatting in sewage.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,004
    I think that that "Floor sink" acts as its own trap. Picture an oil tank vent cap on a pipe sunk into a pit. The water enters and rises up to the top blocking & sealing the outlet to prevent sewer gas back up but any additional water goes down the drain
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,805
    edited April 1
    when I first saw that as slotted I thought, damn, he's gonna need a big screwdriver,
    now, as it's a ridge, well, it still begs to be unscrewed,
    have you tried rapping on it? a wood block / short length of 2*4 and gentle but firm pound hammer stikes? both ends, both sides ?
    you said you see threading, correct?
    known to beat dead horses
  • george_42
    george_42 Member Posts: 104
    Looks like a job for a hammer and chisel to back out the plug so you can clean the trap
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    neilc said:


    you said you see threading, correct?

    I see threading on the outside larger diameter that is right below the top. If I remember it looked like the other drains that seem to be missing it looked like they were threaded or had a threaded piece broken off in them.

    I think that that "Floor sink" acts as its own trap. Picture an oil tank vent cap on a pipe sunk into a pit. The water enters and rises up to the top blocking & sealing the outlet to prevent sewer gas back up but any additional water goes down the drain

    I was sort of thinking that too but the plug that is in the floor toward the bottom left of the picture is very definitely screwed in the top of a trap under the floor that is either a very large and sort of squared off j bend or a drum trap.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    george_42 said:

    Looks like a job for a hammer and chisel to back out the plug so you can clean the trap

    The trap under the floor is very clear, i can pour water in through the plug in the floor freely and I can fish around with a wire and feel the bottom of it is clear enough that something would flow through it. It had a brass plug that had a recessed square or slot when I bought the house which I broke out years ago and replaced with the black iron plug.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,805
    that center piece has to come out somehow,
    I'm back to nudging it firmly, yet gently, with the pound hammer and wood block, get it moving,
    it either unscrews, or is slip fit over a riser,
    is that upper groove around the full perimeter ?
    and just the upper "shouldered cap" comes apart?
    known to beat dead horses
    HydroNiCK
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    neilc said:

    that center piece has to come out somehow,
    I'm back to nudging it firmly, yet gently, with the pound hammer and wood block, get it moving,
    it either unscrews, or is slip fit over a riser,
    is that upper groove around the full perimeter ?
    and just the upper "shouldered cap" comes apart?

    What do you mean by "upper groove"? There is a gap between that brass thing and the cast iron basin and slots in the brass thing are the next step in the water's journey to the trap underneath. The whole larger diameter outside of the brass thing is threaded.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    We are way beyond a basin wrench. A piece of 1" pipe with some slots in it and a 24" or so pipe wrench didn't budge it. It may not have moved in 70 years. I would try Kroil but i'm concerned about getting that on the remaining orangeburg.
  • realliveplumber
    realliveplumber Member Posts: 60
    mattmia2 said:

    It is a floor sink, not a floor drain. It wont be easy to get that plug out.


    So is that supposed to be something that is openable and closeable or is it supposed to not drain at all with that in there or what? It is in the middle of the basement floor as a floor drain whatever it is.
    Ive only worked on a couple, a long time ago. I think I just poked around with a boiler brush or screwdriver.

    If it is a plug in the center, I wouldnt waste much time trying to get it out. Id consider just replacing it with floor drain and trap.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,805
    that center, shouldered cap piece looks like it has a seam or groove down about a 1/4 - 5/16s, maybe it's just another casting line(??), but again, something there wants to come apart for you,

    take a look at the specs for that newer sink pictured up above, same seam, differing materials, same idea,
    an upside down trap,
    whether it just rests there, and needs breaking free, or is threaded, which would add that difficulty factor , , ,
    https://standartpark-usa.com/collections/stainless-steel-floor-drain-basins/products/12x12-stainless-steel-floor-drain
    bang on it, nudge it
    known to beat dead horses
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 3,249
    edited April 2
    Can you drill some holes in the plug enough to get a sawsall blade in there and make some relief cuts?

    This is really frustrating!
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    MikeAmann
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    It turns out that back flushing was the way to unclog it. Sucking it up with the shop vac didn't help, it would still clog up once it settled down, I think the clog was iron sediment and stayed near the bottom, it just took backflushing, letting it drain and repeating a couple dozen times. I put a hose in to the trap underneath the drain with a valve on it. I stuffed a towel in the cleanout and the branch to the sewer but it didn't seal completely so it would drain after i stopped the water. There is some sort of mechanism in there, maybe it is a check valve or float or something. I thing i could loosen the cap with heat if i had to.



    It looks like the thing with the lug is a cap that unscrews off of the piece with slots in the ide. There are slots under most of 2 sides of it.







    I think I need to add a condensate neutralizer to the furnace and boiler. Any recommendations? Why does a tube filled with like calcium carbonate seem to cost 50 bucks?
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 129
    edited April 3
    What drum trap...it's a floor drain or the actual sewer check. It looks like this underground if a floor drain:



    From the outside and things getting covered/added to incorrectly/lost in time this cleanout w/valve might be mistaken for a floor drain 



    Or Since you keep referring to  it as a drum trap it could be a sewer check like this gate valve:


    What your feeling is a backwater valve attached to the outlet or the wafer/gate  The wafer is  probably stuck.  If it's stuck closed you can only vacuum out the trap.  If your getting a constant small flow it's stuck partially closed. Sediment builds up preventing it closing all the way.  Stick a hose in the drain.  How much comes back up?  Do you have a house trap?  Shoot water towards the drain and see if the valve works.  Snake through the clean out. If the snake goes down stuck hose back in or water jet it.  OR forget the snake, water jet , and detective work and use this:  you may have to end up doing anyway.
     

    Intplm.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 183
    This I think was installed when the house was connected to the municipal sewer in 1950
    I have some oddities in my '26  that were always just the way it was without much of a second thought. ..   until something needed to be done and it didn't look like anything in the Readers Digest Home Basement Pluming Repair book..

    But as you mentioned, getting hooked up to the new Municipal Sewer must of been a neighborhood event..AFAICT on my side of the block everyone bought 2 lots and built on 1 lot and save one for family yet to be born yet...
    Well anyway the waste  2 story house , was built and plumed to run to the back where it would exit into it's own tank to decompose..
     
    When the Municipal was announced the residents had to get their plumbing turned around and pitched the other way because now it was going out the Front door instead of the back door. .. They got creative.  Especially with all those cast pipes

    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    edited April 3
    It did reverse direction when connected to the municipal swere but the connection to the septic tank/cesspool is still in the basement wall and about 3 ft above the floor so all the plumbing was replaced and buried when it was connected. Since I dont see any repairs to the floor I suspect it was a dirt floor before that. This drain is on the opposite corner of the house from where the sewer connection to the street is and other side of the back of the house from where the private sewerage connection was. It very clearly just wyes in to the lateral from the kitchen under the floor.

    The trap may be curved under the floor but with the plug in the top and the side outlet and whatever the device is in the basin of the drain restricting flow it acts like a drum trap In that any solids that get in to it never leave and the water volume is much more than that of the inlet to it.
    reggi
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,376
    Hey @mattmia2 . This is certainly a floor drain. I have seen them installed in old commercial buildings. So, @HydroNiCK is right on the money with this one.

    In the "bowl", at the bottom, there should be small slots for water to drain through. As you can plainly see those slots are gone. Rusted/filled into a solid base.

    You should be able to find those slotted holes by using a hammer and chisel, The rusted over holes should brake free of the rust with some hammer and chisel persuasion. You shouldn't have to hit it too hard to see the rust flake off and through its base.

    If you need to remove the plug, the same chisel, and hammer.
    HydroNiCK
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,763
    There may be a float ball under that top cap.
    If like the PVC ones of today, the ball comes up to plug the inlet when the lower trap overfills.


    Ah, the blessings of Orangeburg!
    That was popular for a short time, apparently in the 50's or early 60's.

    FWIU, it was OK until detergents (rather than plain soap) was introduced.
    That washed the oil/asphalt out of the fiber.
    Also the couplings were just press fit and jammed together.
    As a kid I watched a service line installed.
    Part of the system was to lay an asphalt shingle over each joint??
    Maybe that was to keep the tree roots away, but it didn't work.
    Trees loved the joints.
    And when it was removed, most of it was oval shaped from the weight of the earth on the weakened pipe. And often crushed shut or broken open.

    I did attach to a piece that was about 50 years old, it was is great/new shape.
    It was servicing a seasonal shower house. Not much detergent in the discharge.

    I even passed up a chance to buy an actual Orangeburg cutter with the end tapering tool at an auction of an old plumbing shop.
    The guy with me brought it.....said he should have one ;) ....we were pretty close to a bar and he made some visits there.


    30 years later he had his retirement auction, it probably sold again for $5....I didn't go the the sale.

    PC7060
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 129
    Intplm. said:
    Hey @mattmia2 . This is certainly a floor drain. I have seen them installed in old commercial buildings. So, @HydroNiCK is right on the money with this one. In the "bowl", at the bottom, there should be small slots for water to drain through. As you can plainly see those slots are gone. Rusted/filled into a solid base. You should be able to find those slotted holes by using a hammer and chisel, The rusted over holes should brake free of the rust with some hammer and chisel persuasion. You shouldn't have to hit it too hard to see the rust flake off and through its base. If you need to remove the plug, the same chisel, and hammer.
    Noooo don't hit it with a chisel.  The hole in fact is ..only a hole. It's the drain.  The strainer screws into the threads and they are to be adjusted to the floor grade.  People have the habit of sweeping everything into drains when there's a flood.  Floor sinks sit a little higher to prevent garbage being swept in.  As a side note trough urinals are illegal because people would sweep garbage into them and cause back ups.  Drum traps are installed with access.  If your saying you have a drum trap with something inside that something could be a gate valve with a broken gate or removed gate. With gate removed someone thought maybe they should use it as a drain or plug it.  If in fact it's a check valve it's going to smell because it's not trapped.  I think it's just a floor drain except however your description of it being a "drum" and feeling something check valvish inside leads me to believe there might be a bit more to it.  I'd hate for you to use it as a drain and get sewer smell back up or if it's a uncapped broken back water valve something worse. It was installed for a reason.  Now I'm in suspense  to see what's buried beneath.  Quick..Grab the chipping gun!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    Nothing in the trap. The thing is right under that brass cover in the basin between the slots under that cover and the section of pipe that goes down in to the trap. I sort of suspect it might be a hollow brass ball float that sits on some sort of slots that are supposed to allow for drainage when it is not floating on water backing up out of the sewer and those slots had fine iron oxide powder in them.
    HydroNiCKreggi
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 183
    trough urinals are illegal
    I've bellied up to a few old Bars in my day (none were in service best as I recall)  that still had these from the Golden days of Anthracite coal.. .. well not really golden because they found good and easy coal right in the City. All they did was undermine the infrastructure collapsing Buildings, Streets, Utilities but the Coal Barons took it and the Federal Government to Fill it in , Dispose of it and Subsidize any company that wants to buy what's left of it 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 129
    edited April 3
    breggi said:
    trough urinals are illegal
    I've bellied up to a few old Bars in my day (none were in service best as I recall)  that still had these from the Golden days of Anthracite coal.. .. well not really golden because they found good and easy coal right in the City. All they did was undermine the infrastructure collapsing Buildings, Streets, Utilities but the Coal Barons took it and the Federal Government to Fill it in , Dispose of it and Subsidize any company that wants to buy what's left of it 
    No coal in urinals but there are crystals. Also occasional teeth depending on if it was a rowdy golden day in the bar. 
    reggi
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 129
    mattmia2 said:
    Nothing in the trap. The thing is right under that brass cover in the basin between the slots under that cover and the section of pipe that goes down in to the trap. I sort of suspect it might be a hollow brass ball float that sits on some sort of slots that are supposed to allow for drainage when it is not floating on water backing up out of the sewer and those slots had fine iron oxide powder in them.
    Anticlimactic. Then you understand what you got there.  Chisel away..be careful of breaking cast iron.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,526
    The float ball is just a guess. It could just bee a screen or something too. Whatener it is I couldn't find anything that felt like a hole with a wire. I was hoping someone saw one before. My concern is also in breaking brass. I think i will make a big wrench to grab the lugs and turn it.
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 129
    edited April 4
    For some reason I got lost in back water valve land and lost site of the fact that your just trying to take the plug out.  Do ya have a torch? Maybe clr or Lyme away?  They may help but unfortunately those things get trampled on and mishapen making them hard to get out.  Get a sawzall and slice off the muffin top horizontally as high as possible.  Once you open it up stick a hacksaw in and make a vertical cut and chisel the plug threads inward away from the drain.
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 422
    mattmia2 said:

    The float ball is just a guess. It could just bee a screen or something too. Whatener it is I couldn't find anything that felt like a hole with a wire. I was hoping someone saw one before. My concern is also in breaking brass. I think i will make a big wrench to grab the lugs and turn it.

    No, you need to fabricate a socket.
    But that might be more work than doing as HydroNICK said.