A plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger, is a handy tool used to clear stubborn clogs in pipes and drains. When faced with a backed-up sink or shower, knowing how to use a plumbing auger head or snake can save you time and money. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of using a plumbing snake effectively to tackle those tough clogs. Plus, if you’re looking for affordable plumbing solutions in OKC, we’ve got you covered.
Understanding Your Plumbing Snake
A plumbing snake is a long, flexible metal cable with a corkscrew-like end, designed to navigate through pipes and dislodge blockages. Before you begin, ensure you have the right type and size of plumbing snake for your needs. You can rent or purchase one from hardware stores, and they come in both manual and electric versions. The manual option requires hand-cranking, while electric versions make the process even easier.
How to use a plumbing snake
Step-by-Step Guide: Using a Plumbing Snake
Safety First: Put on rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from debris and potential splashes.
Preparation: Remove any standing water from the sink or tub. This will allow the snake to move freely through the drain.
Inserting the Snake:
Carefully insert the plumber’s snake corkscrew end into the drain, and handle clockwise as you push. A rotating action enables you to get past a possible tight curve.
Continue feeding the snake into the drain until you feel resistance. This is likely the clog.
Breaking the Clog:
Once you’ve reached the clog, use the snake’s crank to turn the cable clockwise. This should help break through the clog.
If you encounter strong resistance, it’s important not to force the snake. Instead, gently twist and maneuver it to work around the obstruction.
Retrieving the Snake:
Slowly pull the snake by cranking it counterclockwise.
As you pull out the snake, it may bring the clog with it. If not, you might need to repeat the process a few times.
Flushing the Drain:
After successfully breaking the clog, flush the drain with hot water to clear any remaining debris and ensure the drain is flowing smoothly.
Tips and Tricks for Success
Always start with a manual snake if you’re new to using this tool. Electric snakes can be powerful and require a bit of experience to handle effectively.
Be patient and gentle. Rushing the process can lead to pipe damage or pushing the clog further down.
Consider using a plumbing snake as a preventive measure every few months to keep your drains clear.
Things to consider to prevent drain clogs
1. Mind What Goes Down the Drain:
Perhaps the most crucial step in preventing drain clogs is being mindful of what you allow to go down the drain. Avoid disposing of grease, oil, coffee grounds, and food scraps down the kitchen and sink drains. In the bathroom, keep hair, dental floss, and hygiene products out of the drains. Using drain covers can help catch debris before it reaches the pipes.
2. Regular Maintenance:
Routine maintenance goes a long way in preventing clogs. Regularly flush your drains with hot water to wash away accumulated soap scum and debris. Pouring a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain followed by hot water can also help break down buildup.
3. Proper Disposal of Items:
Dispose of waste properly. Items like cooking oil, fats, and grease should be cooled and disposed of in the trash. These substances can solidify and cause stubborn clogs in the pipes.
4. Use a Hair Catcher:
In the bathroom, invest in a hair catcher for your shower and tub drains. Hair is a common culprit behind clogs, and a hair catcher can effectively prevent it from entering your bathtub drain.
5. Educate Family Members:
Ensure everyone in your household is aware of what can and cannot go down the drain. Teach children the importance of proper disposal to prevent accidental clogs.
6. Regular Professional Inspection:
Schedule regular professional plumbing inspections. A plumber can identify potential issues early on and perform preventive maintenance to keep your plumbing system in top condition.
7. Consider a Grease Trap:
In the kitchen, installing a grease trap can help capture grease and prevent it from entering the plumbing system. This is especially beneficial if you cook frequently.
8. Be Mindful of Outdoor Drains:
Outdoor drains can easily get clogged with leaves, dirt, and debris. Regularly clean these clogged drains and install covers to prevent foreign objects from entering.
9. Avoid Flushing Non-Flushable Items:
In the bathroom, the toilet should only be used to flush toilet paper. Avoid flushing items like wipes, cotton balls, and feminine hygiene products down the toilet bowl, as these can lead to clogs.
10. Professional Help:
If you’re experiencing slow drains or notice gurgling sounds, it’s advisable to seek professional help. These can be signs of underlying issues that a plumber can address before they escalate into major clogs.
Best Drain Snake Products for Plumbing Emergencies
There are many different types of drain snakes available on the market, so it can be difficult to know which one is the best for your needs. Here are five of the best drain snake products for plumbing emergencies:
Ridgid Power Spin Drain Snake is a powerful and versatile drain snake that is perfect for clearing a variety of clogs. It features a 25-foot cable that can be fed into the drain manually or powered by a drill. The Power Spin feature allows the whole snake cable to rotate at high speeds, which can help to break up even the toughest clogs.
RIDGID 59787 Model K-3 Toilet Auger is a specialized drain snake that is designed for clearing clogs in toilets. It features a 3-foot cable with a bulb head that helps to grip the clog and break it up. The K-3 Toilet Auger is also equipped with a patented T-handle that makes it easy to use even in tight spaces.
Cobra Enterprises 00710 Skinny Snake Drain Cleaner is a budget-friendly drain cleaning snake that is perfect for occasional use. It features an 18-inch cable that is thin enough to fit into most drains. The Skinny Snake Drain Cleaner is also equipped with a spiral head that helps to grab and remove clogs.
POPULO Electric Drain Auger is a cordless drain snake that is perfect for homeowners who want a more convenient option. It features a 25-foot cable that can be powered by a rechargeable battery. The POPULO Electric Drain Auger also has a built-in LED light that makes it easy to see what you’re doing in dark drains.
FlexiSnake Drain Weasel Sink Snake Cleaner is a unique drain snake that is designed to remove hair clogs. It features a flexible, 18-inch cable with micro-hooks that can grab and remove hair from drains. The Drain Weasel is also dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
When choosing a drain snake, it is important to consider the type of clog you are trying to clear, the size of the clogged drain, and your budget. If you are not sure which drain snake is right for you, it is always best to consult with a plumber.
Which Types of Clogs Require Drain Snakes?
Drain snakes, also known as manual drain snake augers, are versatile tools used to clear various types of clogs from plumbing systems. Here are some common types of clogs that often require the use of drain snakes:
Hair Clogs: Hair is a common culprit for clogs in bathroom drains, especially in showers and tubs. As hair accumulates over time in the tub drain, it can create a blockage. A drain snake with a corkscrew-like end is effective at breaking up and pulling out hair clogs from the drain.
Soap Scum Buildup: Soap scum can combine with hair and other debris in the bathroom drain, creating a stubborn clog. Drain snakes can help break down and remove soap scum buildup that is causing drainage issues.
Food Debris: In kitchen sinks, food particles, grease, and oil can accumulate and lead to clogs. While a plunger may work in some cases, a drain snake can effectively break down and dislodge solid food debris from the sink drain, allowing water to flow freely again.
Toilet Paper Clogs: Excessive use of toilet paper or flushing non-flushable items can lead to toilet clogs. A toilet auger, which is a type of drain snake specifically designed for toilets, can navigate through the bends of the toilet’s trap to clear the blockage.
Foreign Objects: Sometimes, small objects or foreign materials accidentally find their way into drains. These objects can create blockages that need to be physically removed. A drain snake can be used to navigate the drain opening around bends and retrieve these objects.
Tree Root Intrusions: Outdoor drains and sewer lines can experience clogs due to tree root intrusions. Tree roots can infiltrate pipes and cause blockages. A more heavy-duty drain snake, such as a sewer auger, may be needed to break through root masses in the drain pipe and clear the line.
Mineral Deposits: In regions with hard water, mineral deposits can accumulate in pipes and lead to reduced water flow. A drain snake can help break down and remove mineral buildup in drain pipes, restoring proper water flow.
Small Debris in Floor Drains: Floor drains in basements, garages, or laundry rooms can get clogged with small debris, dirt, and sediment. A drain snake can effectively snake a drain to remove these obstructions and prevent backups.
It’s important to note that while drain snakes can handle many types of clogs, there are situations where professional assistance is necessary. For instance, severely blocked sewer lines, complex tree root intrusions, or clogs caused by damaged pipes may require the expertise of a professional plumber equipped with specialized equipment.
Are drain snakes safe?
Yes, drain snakes are generally safe to use when used correctly. However, it’s important who use a drain snake to follow proper safety precautions, wear protective gear such as gloves and safety goggles, and avoid excessive force that could damage pipes. If you’re unsure about using a drain snake or encounter a particularly stubborn clog, it’s advisable to consult a professional plumber to avoid any potential risks or damage to your plumbing system.
When to Call a Professional Plumber
While using a drain snake can effectively handle many common clogs, there are instances when the expertise of a professional plumber becomes essential. If you encounter persistent clogs despite your efforts, notice slow drainage, experience sewer line issues, or suspect that the clog is due to a more serious underlying problem, it’s time to call in the experts. Professional plumbers, like those at Chase The Plumber, possess the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to diagnose the issue accurately and provide effective solutions.
Choose Chase The Plumber for Your Plumbing Needs
When faced with challenging clogs or plumbing issues that go beyond your DIY capabilities, Chase The Plumber is your trusted partner. Our team of skilled plumbers combines years of experience with state-of-the-art equipment to tackle even the toughest clogs and plumbing problems. Committed to excellence and customer satisfaction, we ensure that your plumbing system is in top-notch condition. Contact Chase The Plumber today to experience reliable, professional, and affordable plumbing services that keep your drains flowing freely. Your plumbing system deserves nothing less than the best, and that’s exactly what we provide.