Plumber's snake

Do you have a clogged drain that just won't go away with a plunger? And are you hesitant to call in the plumbing services experts? Even the best drain cleaner in the market seems to be no match against stubborn clogs.

If you're at a loss on how to unclog pipes, don't worry, there's another drain cleaner that you can still try before you bring in the big guys. The plumber's snake or pipe snake or drain auger is one of the plumbing tools one would go to as a last resort to unclog drain.

It is a handled long metal cable with uncoiled spring or auger on the end. The concept is simple, push the snake auger into the drain and it acts like a drill that pushes the clog out or pulls most of the obstruction out of your pipes. That makes it such a simple yet efficient drain clog remover.

Most are manual with a simple handle or crank, while some can fit into an electric drill for a more forceful push down the pipes. It is a common plumbing tool and you can easily rent if you don’t have one. It is easy to use, but here we’ll give you some tips how to use it efficiently to solve your common kitchen drain problem.

How To Snake A Drain Line

Before calling in the blocked drain plumber, you might want to consider doing it yourself first. As with any DIY project, it is best to equip yourself with enough know-how to fix the problem and not to cause further damage. The snake tool are more efficient than plungers, but improper use can scratch pex tubing pipes and can cause leaks.

  1. Get ready to get dirty. Put on your work clothes and be ready with your rags under the pipes in case things get messy especially if you remove the p-trap and trap arm. Removing and cleaning these two are optional, but doing so brings you steps closer to unclogging your pipes.
  2. For your clogged sink, familiarizing yourself with the basic plumbing parts will make it easier to snake it. When using a plumber's snake to unclog sink, removing the P-trap or p-bend first makes the process easier, faster and safer for your pipes. P-traps are curved PVC pipe under your sink, and simply cleaning it might solve the problem and you don't even need to snake at all.
  3. The trap arm is another one you can clean if it's not glued in place. It is between the p-trap and the actual wall pipe and there's a nut connecting them. If you can't find the nut, don't force it and just clean as much as you can. Do the same with the drain pipe.
  4. If you've done steps 2 and 3, then you can thread the plumber's snake directly to the wall pipe which makes it easier as that's at least one curve less to go through. It also reduces the risk of damaging your PVC pipes. If not, you can insert the snake auger directly through the drain while running cold water down it to help flush the clog down the pipes.
  5. Once you feel resistance while pushing the snake down the drain, slowly rotate the handle to uncoil and push the debris out. The action will either push it all the way down the pipe or drill and chop the clog to more manageable size.
  6. It may also coil around the clog, so you if you feel the auger is stuck, pull it out and most probably the clog goes out with it. Don't force it, and adjust if you hear scraping sounds. Do this until you don’t feel any resistance anymore. Then your pipes should now be clog-free.
  7. After getting the clog out, reassemble the traps and check if that solved the problem. The concept is pretty much the same for the toilet snake and you can do the same for clearing a bathtub drain clogged up so much that water backs up when you drain try to drain it.

So, if you've tried out every commercial floor drain or sink drain cleaner out there and still have a clog problem, we hope these simple tips on how to use the plumbing snake can help you out.