Plumbing Snake

What Is a Plumbing Snake and How Do You Use it?

Overview: Learn how a plumbing snake helps you unclog drains and keep your sewage systems healthy!

Have you noticed that your sink or shower drain sometimes gets clogged and drains much more slowly than it should? From hair to tiny food particles and soap scum, it’s always an unpleasant surprise to homeowners when debris in a drainage system results in clogs. Most of the time, our sinks and drains just work the way they’re supposed to, so it can be really frustrating when obstructions block the pipes. While DIY enthusiasts may choose water solutions for clogged pipes, professionals tend to opt for plumbing snakes for smooth cleaning.

Wondering what a plumbing snake is? We have the answers!

 What is a Plumbing Snake?

Similar to a hose, a plumbing snake is a long, flexible metal cable with a tiny uncoiled auger on one end and a handle on the other. As you might expect from the name, it bears a resemblance to a certain slithering reptile.

When you use a plumbing snake, it uncoils as it rotates down the drain, eventually making its way to the obstruction that is blocking your pipes and causing a disruption in draining water.

Plumbers use plumbing snakes when the clog is too big or dense for a plunger to eliminate. This tool is handy and does the job efficiently, but it can be trickier to use. Plumbing snakes are used on shower drains, and on kitchen or bathroom sinks. These places are prone to capturing debris, hair, and other dirt particles. It should be noted that toilets are an exception as they require a particular toilet snake designed specifically for that use — so using the typical plumbing snake for toilet clogs is unsafe.

Related Reading: Everything you need to know about a plumbing snake

 How to Use a Plumbing Snake?

Your first defense against clogs, of course, is to avoid them in the first place. But fortunately for those occasions when clogs happen, there are tools designed to fix the problem. The plumbing snake is one of the most useful of these tools. Here’s how to use them on your sink.

 Step 01: Prepare the Drain to by Removing the P-trap: 

A good place to start is by carefully removing the p-trap. The p-trap is a curved section of piping under the sink that connects the sink drain to the rest of the piping system in your home. Many p-traps can be easily removed by hand. Removing the p-trap will allow you to access the pipe adjacent to the drain, which may be the location of the obstruction. You may even find the obstruction in the p-trap, which will solve the problem even more quickly.

Once you’ve removed the p-trap, you can use the plumbing snake to clean it out. Or insert the auger end of the plumbing snake directly into the pipe adjacent to the drain.

 Step 02: Begin the Uncoiling Process: 

Once you place the auger in the drain, start uncoiling the spring. Usually, home plumbing snakes are hand-operated, and the best way to untangle the snake is by rotating the handle. Rotate the metallic handle at a consistent pace — not too fast, not too slow. Don’t push hard when putting the coil down the drain. You don’t want to break the drain entrance, do you?

The coil is moving down the pipe as you’re rotating the handle. Once you feel pressure, it indicates that the plumbing snake has reached its destination, AKA the obstruction.

 Step 03: Uncoil the Debris: 

Once you reach the blockage, gently wiggle the head back and forth to break the obstruction. If the auger gets stuck, try pulling the plumbing snake out of the pipe. There are chances that pieces of the obstruction will come out with it. Keep shaking until you no longer feel pressure or resistance.

 Step 04: Remove the Plumbing Snake & Double-Check: 

Once you feel confident the sink is unclogged, remove the plumbing snake and reassemble the snake. Check the sink to ensure that the clog has successfully been removed. If it appears that your sink is still not draining correctly, you can repeat the snaking process. However, if the problem persists, it may be time to consider calling professional help.

 In Summary:

Many homeowners choose to fix clogs in their plumbing areas without professional help. While it’s perfectly safe, it’s necessary to do the cleaning process correctly to avoid damaging the pipes. An experienced team can help you get the desired results without breaking the bank — or the pipes! Get in touch with Pipe-It-Right today and let us help you get your pipes unclogged!

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