How to Use a Plumbing Snake and When Is It Useful?

Dealing with clogged drains and stubborn blockages can be a frustrating experience for any homeowner. While some minor blockages can be resolved with a plunger, more stubborn clogs often require a more powerful tool: the plumbing snake. 

Also known as a drain snake or a drain auger, a plumbing snake is an indispensable tool that can help you tackle tough clogs and keep your plumbing system running smoothly. In this guide, we’ll explore how to use a plumbing snake effectively and when it’s most useful to have one on hand.

What’s a Plumbing Snake?

A plumbing snake is a long, flexible tool designed to navigate through pipes and break up or remove clogs. It normally consists of a coiled metal wire or a cable with a pointed end. The cable is inserted into the drain or pipe until it reaches a blockage. Once the cable reaches the blockage, it can be rotated manually or using a motor, allowing the pointed end to break up the clog.

When Is a Plumbing Snake Useful?

A plumbing snake is a versatile tool that comes in handy in various situations. Here are some scenarios in which you or a professional may consider using a plumbing snake:

  1. Stubborn Clogs – When a plunger fails to clear a clog, a plumbing snake is your next line of defense. It can reach deeper into the pipes and effectively break up or remove clogs caused by hair, soap scum, grease, and other debris that the plunger can’t reach or move.
  2. Removing Foreign Objects – Accidentally dropping objects down the drain, such as jewelry or toys, often leads to plumbing issues. A drain snake can retrieve these items without causing further damage to the pipes.
  3. Slow Drains – If you notice water draining slowly in sinks, tubs, or showers, it could indicate a partial clog that needs attention. A plumbing snake often helps clear the buildup that’s causing the slow drain.

Using a Plumbing Snake

Using a plumbing snake effectively requires careful steps to ensure success while preventing damage to your plumbing system.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you start, gather the necessary tools: a plumbing snake, rubber gloves, a bucket, and possibly a flashlight. Make sure the snake’s cable is long enough to reach the clog.

Step 2: Prepare the Area

Lay down old towels or rags around the area if needed to catch any water ordebris that may come out.

Step 3: Insert the Snake

Insert the pointed end of the plumbing snake into the drain slowly, and use gentle pressure to guide it through the pipe. If you encounter resistance, it might be the clog. Continue pushing, but avoid forcing the cable too aggressively to prevent pipe damage.

Step 4: Rotate and Break the Clog

When you feel resistance, rotate the cable using the handle or the motor (if your snake has one). This rotating motion will help break up the clog or entangle it, allowing you to pull it out.

Step 5: Remove and Clean

Once you’re done rotating the cable, carefully pull the cable out of the drain. You might encounter debris, so have the bucket ready to catch it. Dispose of the debris properly and clean the cable before storing it.

Step 6: Test the Drain

Run water down the drain to ensure the clog is completely cleared. If the water flows smoothly, you’ve successfully used the snake!

Extra Tips While Using the Plumbing Snake

Be Gentle: While using the plumbing snake, avoid aggressive movements that could damage the pipes.

Wear Protection: Always wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from debris and bacteria.

Avoid Chemicals: Prioritize using a plumbing snake over chemical drain cleaners, which are sometimes harsh on pipes.

Know Your Limits: If you’re unsure about using a plumbing snake or if the clog persists, it’s best to consult a professional plumber.

By understanding when and how to use this tool, you will have the knowledge to tackle stubborn clogs and keep your plumbing system in optimal condition. And, as always, remember to contact professionals for further guidance.

Call B&D Industries for all Your Plumbing Needs

B&D Industries, Inc. has been servicing residential, commercial, and industrial properties with specialized expertise for over 68 years. During that time, we’ve grown exponentially and now reach areas of New Mexico, Arizona, and New York. Our quality of services and exceptional customer experience set us apart from our competitors as we strive to change the industry one project and one relationship at a time.

When you call B&D Industries, Inc. you can rest assured knowing that your home’s HVAC appliances, plumbing, and electrical systems are in good hands. Our licensed technicians are dedicated to working with you to ensure your home is up-to-code and functioning properly. 

We ensure you get the best 24-hour emergency services at the most affordable rates. Contact us today!