Clogged drains inevitably occur in every home, and when they do, you have a few options for resolving the issue. When homeowners encounter a challenging drain stoppage that cannot be cleared by cleaning the trap nor plunging the clog, a snake (also known as a drain auger) is your final weapon.
A snake is a long, flexible, metal cable that has a cone-shaped auger attached on the end. Typically about 50 feet long, you can use it by feeding the end into the drain and pushing it through the drain line while turning a handle so the cable spins inside the pipe.
Due to the device’s flexibility, it can bend around the drain pipe’s twists and turns without getting stuck. Keep moving forward until it reaches the blockage in the line. As soon as the snake encounters the obstruction, the twisting motion of the auger end attaches onto any clogs so they can be pulled back out of the drain.
How to Use a Plumbing Snake
Drain snakes are easy to use. Additionally, having your own can save you hundreds of dollars over the years.
The following are the proper steps for using a plumbing snake:
- Be prepared. Begin by setting up some old towels or shirts around the area. You may need to wear gloves since you will most likely touch the cable after it comes out of the drain and whatever caused the clog. Work gloves work best because latex gloves can get caught by the coils of the cable and tear.
- Place the auger end of the snake into the drain and feed the cable in while turning it. Slowly keep twisting the handle on the snake as it works its way along the pipe. If you are unclogging a drain in a tub, feed the auger through the overflow drain instead of the floor drain of the tub. You will probably need to remove the cover to do this.
- As soon as you feel resistance against your turning, slowly pull the cable back out along with what’s clogging the drain. When the snake comes across the blockage, you will feel the cable back up. Keep cranking the cable so it catches on the clog, then slowly pull both the cable and blockage out.
- Run water down the drain to flush out anything the snake may have dislodged. Afterwards, clean and dry the snake and put it away until the next time you encounter a clogged drain.