Clogs can be a major hassle to reckon with. Our first instinct is to reach for a plunger to loosen the blockage. But what happens if that fails? If a clog is too big for a plunger to handle, it might be time to reach for a plumbing snake (also known as an auger). There are a few different types of snakes but in general, they are made from a spiraled piece of metal attached to a long cable. The cable reaches far into pipes to break apart or dislodge obstructions in your pipe. Read on to learn more about how to use a plumbing snake and when it might be necessary.
Have you been struggling with your plunger to unclog your drain with no result? That probably means it’s time to break out the plumbing snake. If a plunger isn’t working properly on your clogged drain, sink, or toilet, that likely means the clog is too large to dislodge with pressure alone or it’s several inches or feet down your pipe. You’ll need more leverage to break it loose or pull it out. A plumbing snake can give you the reach and power to handle stubborn blocks.
There are two main types of plumbing snakes a homeowner might use to loosen a tough clog; a cable auger or a closet auger. The cable auger houses the snake in a spool. The user can release it far into the drain using a hand crank. The closet auger houses the snake within a shaft. It often features an angled tip to better fit through a toilet trap. Both of these options require slightly different steps to operate.
Walk through the following steps to use a cable auger on a sink drain.
If you have a clogged toilet on your hands, follow these steps to use a closet auger.
Sometimes a snake won’t even loosen a clog. If you attempt the steps listed above 3 times or more with no luck, it is likely an issue you’ll need to consult a professional on. Be sure to consult your trusted plumber once you’re sure a snake won’t do the trick. And whatever you do, never use Drano to unclog a pipe!
In most cases, a clogged drain is avoidable. It’s important to be proactive about maintaining good plumbing. Remember, never pour oil, coffee grounds, or eggshells down your drain. If you can, prevent too much hair from entering your drains as well. A drain screen can help with keeping your pipes clear.
Taking proactive measures to clear small blocks is important too. After heavy use, pour hot water down your drains to melt away stuck-on debris. You can also pour baking soda and vinegar into your drains for a gentle clean. If you keep up with proper drain maintenance, you’ll notice fewer issues with clogged pipes.