How to Use a Snake to Unclog a Drain


Whether you are using your bathroom sink, kitchen sink, or ready to feel the hot water hit you as you take a shower, whenever there is a blockage and you have a clogged drain, life can feel like it stops, until that backup is cleared and the drain opening is restored. 

Often, the best way to deal with stubborn clogs is to prevent them from happening at all. There are many DIY drain cleaning tricks homeowners use, from baking soda, vinegar, drain cleaner to corkscrews and other items to keep the build up to a minimum, for floor drains, main drains, shower drains, bathtub drains, sink drains, drain pipes, p-traps and more. 

If you are past being able to prevent a clogged drain, however, there are a number of options and tools at your disposal. The most common being a plunger and drain snakes. While cleaning and plunging can often do the trick, sometimes, you need something with more power to clean out that drain line. In this post, we will discuss how you can use a drain auger, or plumber’s snake, to get rid of tough clogs.

First of all, what is a drain auger or drain snake? This is a quarter-inch thick coil that has a handle. They go by various names, snake cable, toilet auger, auger, plumbing snake, plumber’s snake, and more. You would send the snake down the drain through the clog, sending parts of it down or pulling the obstruction out. This auger can be a powerful unclogging tool, as it can reach clogs that are far down the pipe, well beyond the stopper. Where can you find this snake tool? One option is to rent it, either one that you will turn by hand, or an electrical auger. It’s also a good idea to have rubber gloves and safety glasses, if possible.

Even though using this tool can be straightforward, you should still talk to the dealer about how to use the tool. Generally speaking though, this is what you should do and how plumbing snakes work:

  1. Insert the snake’s end (auger head) into the drain, then crank the handle to send the snake along.
  2. As you crank, you might need to also push the snake down, giving it the force necessary to navigate that bend in the pipe (the drain trap/p-trap, and the trap arm between the p-trap and wall) under your sink. After that point, the only thing that should slow the snake down is the clog.
  3. When the snake finds the clog, keep turning. This can break the clog up, or it can attach the snake to the clog so that you can pull both out at once.
  4. Turn the water on all the way for several minutes. Check that the clog is really out of the way and your tub drain/sink drain/floor drain/main drain is open.

Call A-1 Sewer & Septic Service for Expert Help 24/7

At whatever point you experience trouble with your drains, you can find the friendly assistance you need at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. We’ve been serving the Kansas City area for more than four decades, and no job is too small or too great for our expert plumbing team to handle. We can handle nearly all kinds of drain cleaning, including removing tree roots, gunk build up, grease, or any other blockages. We also can service garbage disposals, main drains, sinks, faucets as well as septic tanks and grinder pumps. Don’t hesitate to check out our online specials or to schedule your estimate. Call a trusted Kansas City professional plumber today!

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