When it comes to plumbing problems, sometimes you can DIY the solution. Clogs in the sink or tub can often be easily removed with a drain snake. If you’re experiencing a drain problem, here’s how to use a drain snake to clean it.
If you’re experiencing a clog or other plumbing problem and a drain snake isn’t solving the issue, it’s beyond your skill level, or you’re not quite sure what to do, it’s best to call a professional plumber. Doing a DIY project wrong could cost you money and problems in the long run. Reach out to C&W Plumbing at 972-395-2597 for 24/7 assistance.
What Is a Drain Snake?
Many drain clogs can be fixed at home by using a drain snake, also known as an auger or plumber’s snake. Flexible, spiraled, coiled, and slender, this metal tool can help root out deep obstructions. It consist of a long, flexible metal tube coiled inside the main base. A rotating handle on the base controls the movements of the opposite end of the snake inside your drain pipe.
When used correctly, the snake digs into the problem, forcing some of it to break up and go down the drain and allowing you to pull up any of the clog that remains.
Drain snakes are available at home-improvement and plumbing stores. They’re a great tool to have on hand “just in case,” as clogs are one of the most common household plumbing issue, caused by a number of everyday things like:
- Food items
Other Methods to Try First
While a drain snake is very effective, there are a few other drain-clearing methods you should try before pulling out the snake.
1. A Plunger
Use it over the drain just like you would a toilet. Remember to be gentle, especially in the sink, as too much pressure or force could cause your sink to break.
2. Drain Cleaners
Lots of harsh, chemicals drain cleaners are available for purchase, but they can be dangerous for your health and harmful to your plumbing and the environment. Instead, consider environmentally friendly options, such as:
- Boiling water
- Baking soda
- Enzymatic drain cleaners
3. A Good Clean
Try removing the p-trap under the sink and cleaning it thoroughly. Once it’s back in place, the clog may be gone!
How to Use a Drain Snake
If your drain is still clogged after trying the methods above, it’s time to use a drain snake. A snake can reach far down into the pipes and break up clogs that prevent the drain from clearing. If you don’t know how to use a drain snake, it’s easy to learn!
When working on a sink, remove the p-trap under the sink, and insert the end of the snake into the drain pipe coming from the wall that connects to the p-trap. Push the end of the snake into the pipe until it reaches the clog. This will be the spot where you feel resistance.
Once you’ve found the clog, turn the handle of the snake while pushing it down to break the obstruction into smaller bits that can be flushed down the drain. Pull the snake out of the drain, reattach the p-trap, and flush the drain with cold water for a minute to ensure the clog has been flushed down.
For a bathtub, insert the snake into the overflow outlet that also controls the drain opener. Remove this part, insert the snake, and push it past the p-trap under the tub until you reach the clog. Break up the obstruction just as you would with a sink. Once the clog is broken up, remove the snake, and flush the drain with cold water for a minute.
When to Call a Professional for a Drain Clog
If you’ve tried environmentally friendly drain cleaners, a plunger, a good cleaning, and your drain snake, and are still experiencing a problem, it’s time to call a professional. An issue that continues could point to a more serious problem within your plumbing or sewer line.
If you have questions or don’t feel comfortable snaking your drain yourself, C&W’s professional technicians are always available to help!
How to Avoid Needing a Drain Snake
While using a drain snake can absolutely come in handy, it’s even better to never have to deal with a clog. There are plenty of ways to avoid junk clogging up your drains:
- Use a garbage disposal (properly).
- Don’t put food down the drain.
- Use a strainer in your kitchen sink and a hair-catcher in your bathtub.
- Avoid pouring grease into kitchen sink.
- Keep children from putting foreign objects down drains.
A drain snake can truly come in handy for those minor clogs that are so inconvent. It’s a great way to handle a plumbing issue simply and quickly, and it absolutely can be a DIY project! But in more stubborn cases, this and other methods may not work to clear your drain. If this happens, make the call to a professional.
If you’re experiencing a stubborn clog or another plumbing issue, or you have a plumbing question, we invite you to give C&W Plumbing a call at 972-395-2597. We offer drain cleaning, garbage disposal repair and installation, sewer line repair, 24/7 emergency service, and more!
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