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The PermaFLOW Never-Clog Drain promises to end drain clogs forever in your sink. It is a transparent P trap that has a rotary wiper at the bottom of the U which allows you to whisk obstructions out of the way. PF Waterworks claims it increases turbulence, thus improving flow, and can be used to clear obstructions behind or beyond the trap by generating flow by turning the hand wheel. A lot of claims. Reviews on Amazon [What’s This?]are somewhat mixed between those who find it solves their problems and those who see it as a foolish waste of money or just can’t install it. We do think a transparent trap is a cool idea, at least to gross the kids out.

Has anyone used the PermaFLOW or something like it? What do you think? Let us know in comments.

PermaFLOW Never-Clog Drain [PF Waterworks]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


21 Responses to Hot Or Not? PermaFLOW Never-Clog Drain

  1. D says:

    Well, it certainly won’t stay transparent for long…

  2. jeffrey immer says:

    it seems to me the transparent stuff typical acrylic or something along those lines typically seem brittle. the flapper seems it could cause more problems then solve

  3. Chris says:

    Yeah, wouldn’t stuff get stuck on the flapper, creating a trap that’s actually *more* likely to clog?


  4. Mike says:

    I believe the flapper is normally at the 12:00 position, unlike what the photo shows. So it’s normally out of the way unless you rotate to clear a clog.

  5. rick says:

    most of the clogs I have cleared are hair… that will just foul the rotating axle…. I see it helping the first time or two… but after tha tit will just be a horrendous mess that required replacing or a hefty dose of draino to clear.

    If your clogs are not hair, but something else, maybe it would work. I wouldnt use it.

  6. aaron says:

    i got a clog once that was mashed veggies from the disposal being used improperly… this wouldve helped then. but for the ONE time that happened, it wasnt worth the price of this unit. better to just not get it clogged to begin with.

    another note is that this was on the MAKE blog some weeks back and turns out there’s a similar product out there that has been around for longer… IIRC it was like a mini clean-out for your sink drains.

  7. Jerry says:

    I appreciate the ingenuity, but it seems like potentially more trouble than it’s worth. The flapper (specifically the seal on the axle) seems like problem waiting to happen. Although I hate doing it, removing and clearing a trap really isn’t that much trouble. Besides, isn’t the trap there to prevent schmutz from causing trouble further downstream?

  8. Jim says:

    Jerry, the primary purpose of the trap is to keep the smell/gases from the drain from coming back up through the drain and into the living space.

    A variation of this prodduct would be to simply make a traditional clear drain. This would allow you to see if a clog was within the trap or beyond it. I would find this useful since I have disassembled the trap only to find the clog further downstream. But, from a value perspective, I would not replace my current traps and not pay alot extra for this feature.

  9. Old Coot says:

    I really don’t want to see what’s in there on a regular basis.

  10. Jerry says:

    A different Jerry here. Yes, the trap has a main purpose of trapping water to create a block from sewer gasses coming back up.
    This device does not look like it would do what it claims. For a couple bucks, buy yourself a Zip-It drain cleaning tool. Better yet buy a couple of them. It’s just a simple strip of flexible plastic with “prongs” cut into it and a small loop handle at the top end. Shove it down the drain and pull it back up with globs of very unattractive stuff attached. Push it up and down a few times if the clog is a bit more stubborn. These things have saved me digging out the auger from “somewhere in the truck” many times. Sears has their brand here:

  11. Kurt says:

    I could see combining the clear trap with a easily removable clean out plug, especially for a bathroom used by people with long hair.

  12. Theron says:

    I’m a plumber and …this would be against nearly every state’s plumbing code to install. No mechanical devices are allowed in the flow of drainage water. If you’re having that much trouble with clogging, you should probably be replacing your pipes. Two words will solve almost every trap and tub and shower hair clog – Shop Vac.

  13. JW says:

    Plumbing bladder works WONDERS!! Best product out there. If it can’t blow it out. Then you got serious problems.


  14. Matthew Gerber says:

    Does anyone know whatever happened to the rubber drain trap? I had one of those on my bathroom sink for over ten years, and it never failed, deteriorated or leaked. At the slightest sign of drain flow slowing, just a gentle squeeze cleared the line and everything was hunky-dorey once again. I would replace all of the traps here in my new home right away if I could find them again.

  15. ttabob says:

    In addition to the good points made above………I would think that the axle/pivot shaft would be the main culprit for leakage here. Your supposed to twist that knob every so often to clear out sludge….despite the drain not being under pressure, i would never trust that.

    This is the kind of stuff designers come up with to impress other designers, not to solve actual problems or address needs or even to be ingenious.

  16. Chris says:

    Matthew Gerber: Last I knew, even Lowe’s still had ’em. I’ve got one in the spare bathroom that I bought when we re-did it about five years ago.


  17. Noah Ramon says:

    Actually, code-wise it’s clear – they’ve mentioned that it’s good under both the UPC and IPC (and plumbing provisions of the IRC). (http://www.pfwaterworks.net/testing_certification.html)
    So if you’re under a model code here in the US, you’re probably cleared.

    Lame or not, still under question. But not a red flag for an inspector.

  18. ambush says:

    Every low spot should have a cleanout plug, and traps should be threaded, cleaning out a trap should be a matter of a simple twist.

  19. David Bryan says:

    They sell all kinds of plastic doodads for unclogging sinks, but I take a gallon jug and cut a long strip out of it, spiraling down the jug to get a strip 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, and then I notch little barbs into it every so often. That’ll pull all kinds of nastiness out of a bathroom sink. You might have to double it, but it works pretty well on hair. That’s the kind of tool you just want to get rid of after you use it anyway, so why buy one?

  20. Sanjay Ahuja says:

    I am with the manufacturer of PermaFLOW and wanted to address your comment.

    It is obvious that you haven’t seen or installed and used the PermaFLOW and therefore your ignorance about its design is understandable.

    Just to clarify a few of teh issues raised above:

    a. PermaFLOW is approved for Uniform Plumbing Code, International Plumbing Code and International residential Code. It does not restrict the fow of water or cause any partitions. It provides the sewer seal like conventional p-trap and teh seal is not dependent upon the moving part.

    b. PermaFLOW does not become black or gunky like a traditional P-trap sicne it is self cleaning as well has the squeegee wiper to clear the trap area (just like your car wind shield wiper).

    c. PermaFLOW reduces the possibility of clogs down the line since it eliminates the clogs in the ptrap in teh first place, so the debris flows down the line with water normally and not as lumps of clogs which is wjhat happens when we use a plunger or chemiclas in the clogged p-trap.

    d. PermaFLOW has won severall leading awards such as Popular Science ‘Best of What’s New’, Professional Builder’s ‘Best 100 New Products’, Kitchen and Bath Business’ ‘Product Innovator Award’ and Design Journal’s ‘Platinum Award for Design Excellence’. Additionally, it has been awarded the Member Tested and Recommended stamp by the Handyman Club of America, the largest DIY Club in America.

    e. PermaFLOW does not shut off water – it has a patented design that acutaully offers a unique by-pass that the conventional P-traps can’t claim or offer.

    f. PermaFLOW is larger than regular P-traps and has two P-traps built-into one, so basically when a jewelry or item drops through the sink, it goes to the bottom P-trap and moving the dial to 3 0’Clock position prevents it from flowing away and the water begins to go through the upper by-pass chamber. This way, there is no panic or shut down of the sink immediately. At home owner’s convenience, they can rotate the dial to 9 0′ Clock position and locate the jewelry in line with the sink and can use a simple grabber to go through the sink to fish the item. Since PermaFLOW is transparent, you can see the item and the grabber, it is easy to catch the item.

    Our website http://www.pfwaterworks.com has a lot of information. Please do not hesitate to call me directly at 1-877-265-9777, should you have additional concerns or questions…Thanks…

  21. Squidwelder says:

    @ Sanjay: How many drains have you installed yourself?

    If someone really wanted to install this, I would wonder how fast it would leak out the axle. That seems like the biggest problem to me. Also, a flap? come on, if you’re going to annihilate a clog, use something that will dig into it like a steel tooth or something.

    I would think taking the plug out of the trap and sticking a coat hanger up both sides is an equally (if not more) valid solution to the same problem. But if you’re nuts about not using a bucket and coat hanger or something similar, Walgreens still sells that little Billy Mays toy you can pull your hair out with.

    I could also see this thing turning into a permanent clog if you don’t turn it when it clogs the bottom part. Forgetting there’s a pile of gunk down there and trying to turn it later when you reach for dish soap four weeks later and go “eeeeww” only to find that it’s so compacted that it’s not going to go anywhere for you seems like a likely scenario.

    But hey, that’s just me. I’ with Ambush on the drain plug thing. I don’t mind getting messy. I’d also rather know if I have a clog or not. Of course, I’ve only gone off what I’m seeing. If this thing really is a super-invention that makes traps awesome, kudos to the inventor. But personally, I’ll go with what I know works and stick with the drain plugs.

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