How to Unclog a Bathtub With a Drum Trap

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When a bathtub that has a drum trap forms a clog, removing the clog and restoring the tub’s draining ability may present extra steps and effort. Most modern bathtubs have a p-trap, which is a curved section of piping located just below the tub’s drain. Drum traps are like a metal box or enclosure that connects to two sections of the tub’s drain pipe. You will see the metal, circular opening for the drum trap on the bathroom floor, or sometimes on an adjacent closet’s floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Plunger
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Penetrating lubricant
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Cable auger

Remove the drain’s stopper or cover and reach down the drain pipe with a pair of needle nose pliers. Pull out any debris you can reach with the pliers and then run the tub’s hot water for two minutes to loosen up any remaining debris.

Plunge the tub’s drain once you have at least two inches of standing water around the drain opening. Place the plunger’s cup firmly over the drain opening and pump the handle up and down at least 12 times. Continue plunging if water begins to drain out of the tub.

Turn the drum trap’s cover counterclockwise, using an adjustable wrench, until it comes free. Spray a penetrating lubricant on the cover’s threads if it does not turn easily, and allow the lubricant to soak into the threads for a half an hour to an hour.

Put on rubber gloves and remove the debris in the drum trap with your hands. Wrap plumber’s tape around the threads on the drum trap’s cap. Replace the drum trap’s cover and run the tub’s hot water for another two minutes to flush out any leftover clog debris.

Remove the drum trap’s cover and feed a cable auger into the trap and down the pipe flowing away from the bathtub. Turn the auger’s handle clockwise as you push it further down the drain. Once you have pushed through the clog, turn the handle counterclockwise as you retrieve the auger.

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