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Video:How to Retrieve an Item from the Drain

with Karin Dubois

Dropping something down the drain is very frustrating, but all hope is not lost! We'll show you how to retrieve an item from the drain.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Retrieve an Item from the Drain

Hi there, I’m Karin DuBois for About.com. Today I’m going to show you what you can do, if something you treasure happens to slip down the sink drain.

What You Need to Retrieve an Item from a Drain

For this task you’ll need either a pair of tongue and groove pliers or a plumber’s wrench. You’ll also need a pair of safety goggles. And to place under the sink, you’ll need a floor cloth, and a bucket. First, I’ll drop this ring down the drain, and then explain how to retrieve it.

Prepare the Work Area

If you can’t see the item you’ve just dropped from the top, that means you’re not going to be able to get it from here either, and you’re going to have to work under the sink. Since we’re working under the sink, we need to first clear everything in the area. Now we’ll put the safety goggles on, and I’ve already placed the floor cloth here, and now I’ll just slide the bucket right under the pipe. There’s no need to turn off the main water source here, but you have to make sure that your taps are fully closed.

Remove the Trap and Retrieve Your Item

There are two coupling nuts, one up here, one down here; what we’ll do is we’ll loosen both of these, then we’ll take off the trap, and retrieve our item.

Now take either your plumber’s wrench, or your tongue and groove pliers, and then loosen the top coupling nut by turning counter-clockwise. If you’re using a plumber’s wrench, make sure you use the smaller side for the top nut, and same thing you just turn counter-clockwise to loosen. Now use your hand to loosen it completely.

For the bottom coupling nut, use the wider side of your plumber’s wrench, and then turn clockwise this time to loosen it. Once you’ve loosened it a little bit, you can also use your hand once again, to loosen it further. Once it’s loose you just need to pull down, empty your trap, and TA-DA! There we go. We’ve got our item back.

Replace the Trap

Now to replace your trap, make sure you haven’t lost any washers in your pipe, sometimes there’s washers there; this one doesn’t have one. And then you’re going to replace the top portion first, and then line up the bottom, and then with your hand you’re going to start to screw it back on, the top coupling nut first, and then the bottom one. And then you’re going to use either your pliers or your wrench to do the final tightening, making sure you don’t tighten too much.

So first the top coupling nut, you’re going to turn clockwise to tighten, and you’re using the smaller side. And for the bottom coupling nut, again you’re using the wider side of your plumbing wrench, this time turning counter-clockwise to re-tighten. Make sure you don’t tighten too much though. Now it’s back in place.

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