Drain snakes are plumbing tools that are designed to remove blockages that have become lodged in your pipes. They prove much more effective at unclogging drains than plungers or drain cleaners do because they physically go down the drain and claw away at the detritus obstructing your plumbing. Knowing how to properly use a drain snake can allow you to quickly and easily unclog any blocked pipes in your home when they develop.
Before You Begin
If you do not own a drain snake, you can rent one from most hardware stores. When using a drain snake, be sure to place newspapers or old rags around the clogged drain in question in order to cut down on clean up. Additionally, place a cup or bucket nearby to dispose of any waste or blockages that the drain snake brings up. It is a good idea to wear work gloves when using a drain snake to prevent your hands from being cut or from becoming dirty from touching the blockages as they are removed.
Using a Drain Snake
- After you have prepared the drain for cleaning with a drain snake, feed the screw (sometimes also called the auger) end of the drain snake into the drain. Then, slowly turn the handle of the snake to push the screw end of the snake deeper into the drain.
- You will feel resistance once the cable has hit the blockage. When this happens, continue turning the handle for a few more rotations to ensure that the screw end of the snake hooks onto the blockage in question.
- Once you are fairly confident that the screw end of the snake has latched onto the blockage in your pipe, begin to turn the handle backwards. Keep turning until the screw end of the drain snake emerges from the drain, with the blockage attached.
- Remove the blockage from the drain snake and place it in the empty bucket.
- Run the shower or faucet to flush water down the pipes and remove any loosened detritus or debris in the plumbing. If the water is still not draining properly, repeat the above steps until it drains properly, pushing the drain snake deeper into your plumbing as you do so to remove more established blockages.
- Once the water runs clear down the previously clogged drain in question, you are free to resume using your drain normally. You may want to install a drain cover to prevent further debris from accumulating.
For professional plumbing assistance, contact a company such as Benjamin Franklin Plumbing.