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How to Use a Plumber’s Snake for Unclogging a Drain

Are your drains all clogged up?

It’s never a good sign to see any type of liquid coming out of your drains instead of going down it. A stubborn clog can wreak havoc on your pipes and lead to even bigger problems if you don’t attempt to resolve it as quickly as possible.

You could try a plunger initially to try and unclog a drain. But if you’re unsuccessful, then your next course of action should be a plumber’s snake.

No need to rush out and get a degree to understand how to handle this piece of equipment. Simply follow the guide below to ensure that you safely use the plumber’s snake and get that drain working properly again.

What is a Plumber’s Snake?

You don’t need to go to any specialist stores to get a plumber’s snake. Some places may call them an auger, but it’s the same piece of equipment. It looks like a long, flexible, metallic cable with a handle at one end and an auger or uncoiled spring on the opposite side.

Some plumber’s snakes can span up to 15 metres in length, but you shouldn’t need anything this long for the sink, toilet, or outdoor pipes. When it’s not in use, it will naturally coil up, hence the reference to the infamous reptile.

How to Safely Use a Plumber’s Snake

Before you start any messy plumbing job, you should ensure you’re wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting wet or grimy. Be sure to lay some towels near the drain you’re planning to unclog too, just in case some liquid spurts out and makes a mess.

Removing Parts

Depending on which drain is clogged will depend on what parts you may need to remove. While it’s optional to remove these parts, it may help remove the blockage without having to use the plumber’s snake at all.

The P-trap or P-bend is located underneath sinks and connects it to the main drain in the house. After removing it, clean it out and look for any large obstacles before you continue.

The drain trap arm can also get removed. It’s the piping that goes into the wall and connects to the previous part. You should see a plastic or metal nut that you can unscrew. If you don’t see it, then it might be glued into the wall. In this instance, leave it where it is.

The sink trap arm is also worth removing to give you more space. You can also look through it for any clogs that may be responsible for the problems you’re having.

Using the Snake

Place the head of the plumber’s snake down the drain. If you didn’t remove any of the above parts, flush some cold water down the pipes to help ease your way through.

Try not to force the plumber’s snake if you can. Pushing too hard may end up damaging your pipes. Grab the handle and start uncoiling it. It should be as close to the top of the drain as possible. 

Start rotating the handle at a medium pace. When you feel some resistance, it means you’ve reached the clog.

Unclogging the Drain

Continue rotating the plumber’s snake. What it should be doing is slowly breaking up the obstruction that’s causing the problems.

Try to avoid smashing the auger into the walls of the piping. You’ll know you’re doing this if you hear scratching noises. Immediately stop and reposition the plumber’s snake.

If it feels stuck, pull on the handle to see if that unclogs the drain. If it doesn’t, continue to rotate the handle until there is no more resistance or the plumber’s snake has completely uncoiled.

Reassemble the Drain

If you took any pieces apart, now is the time to put everything back the way you found it. Clean the plumber’s snake of any gunk and dry up any water that spilled around the drain.

Test the Pipes

The last step is to make sure that you got rid of the nasty clog once and for all. If your drain is still playing up, then repeat the above steps over again.

However, if you still have no luck or don’t meet any resistance with the plumber’s snake, then there might be other problems at hand. In this instance, you need to call in the professionals.

Are Your Drains Still Clogged?

Unclogging a drain is often a simple issue to resolve. A plunger can sometimes work, but a plumber’s snake is often the best tool to eliminate any obstacle causing problems in your pipes. 

But if you don’t know how to use one, it can end up causing more problems for your drainage system. So before you start poking and prodding anything in your drains, make sure to follow the guide above so that you don’t end up breaking the pipes or pushing the obstacle out of reach.
If you don’t have any luck unclogging your drains, then let All Day Plumbing do it for you. It doesn’t matter if you hear gurgling sounds from the pipes first thing in the morning or during the middle of the night as you try to sleep, we’re ready and available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency. Book an appointment today, and we’ll get rid of any obstruction clogging your drain once and for all.