How To Properly Use A Snake To Unclog Your Pipes

7 April 2015
 Categories: , Articles


If you have a problem with clogged drains, there are a litany of different methods you can use to fix them. One of the most effective and prominent of these methods is by use of a drain auger, more commonly known as a drain or toilet snake. A toilet snake can be one of the most useful tools in your drain unclogging arsenal, but only if you know how to use it correctly and when you are aware of when a snake may not be enough.

What Is A Snake?

A snake is an extremely flexible auger many plumbers have used to unclog problem drains. It has become so popular, in fact, many everyday Joes tend to have them taking up space in their closet, basement or storage shed. Snakes are perhaps the best everyday tool for more serious (and even smaller) drain clogs.

Essentially, they are a long metal wire attached to a crank with a frayed end can be used to break up larger clogs or snag items of lesser volume. As the snake moves through your drain, it also tends to scrape away any grime or minerals accumulated on the side of your drains, making for an easier flow.

How Do I Use It?

The most important question you should ask yourself regarding a snake is: how do I use it? The metal coil portion of a snake is actually attached to a hand crank. It operates very much like a winch. You feed the metal coiled portion of the snake (the actual "snake" portion of the snake) down the drain which needs clogging.

You will generally be able to feel the offending volume causing your drain problem. At this point, try to push through the cause of the clogged drain. As mentioned earlier, this will either break up the item enough for the drain to be able to push the clog out through the force of water pressure, or will latch onto the item and pull it out.

It is sometimes recommended you do not use a snake if you know the item causing the clogged drain is incredibly dense, as this can actually cause damage to your piping.

Alternatives To Using A Snake

There are actually a variety of alternatives you have at your disposal if a snake isn't working out particularly well for you. The go-to alternative for most snake users is liquid drain remover. Liquid drain remover can quickly remove drain clogs that are not particularly dense, making an easy time for you and a quick recovery of your drain.

However, many are quick to admonish liquid drainers, since it is a toxic liquid. It is not recommended you breathe in the fumes of a liquid drainer, and you should keep it out of the reach of young children and animals. If you have a particularly dense drain clog, then it might be time to call in the professionals.

When To Call A Plumber

The answer to the question, "When should I call a plumber?" is actually quite easy. There are basically two answers to that question. If you have exhausted all of your resources – including use of the snake and liquid drain remover – you should contact a plumber. The second answer is: if you absolutely know the clog is far too dense for such methods, then you should call a professional — like one from A Rescue Rooter Plumber.

As you can see, having a clogged drain is indeed a big pain. But with a little ingenuity and some help from your friend the toilet snake, you should be able to u