Correct Way to Use Plumber Snake to Clean Your Drain

correct way to use drain snake

A drain snake or a plumbing snake is a tool that plumbers, homeowners, or residents use to unclog their clogged pipes. When you open your tap, you often find a puddle of water collecting inside your sink. Other times, water flow within your sink pipe is slowed, indicating a blockage inside the plumbing pipes.

You can find drain snakes in packs of multiple quantities, either online or at a retail store. A drain snake is long, bendy, and sharp on the edges. Its pointed-edged sides allow you to capture all the gunk and dirt trapped inside the sink drain. To use the drain snake, you must first pop the sink top off and lower the tool inside the drain.  

You can perform thorough drain cleaning by simply pushing the equipment inside the sink and pulling out the trapped dirt and residue. A plumber snake can be almost twenty inches long, pulling out all the clogged strands of hair and other bits of residue inside the sink. 

Drain snakes are cheap alternatives to very common plumbing issues. They are tools that can save you from spending a hefty fee to the plumber to unclog your drain passageway. Make sure that you are careful when using this equipment.

Types of Snakes Available


Types of drain snake


You will find different types of drain snakes in the market and online stores. Each type of tool in the market will vary in shape and size. When selecting one, knowing what each type of drain snake offers and how you can handle them will put you at a great advantage.  

Top Snake

A top snake is one of the smallest drain snakes you can find. Despite its small size, a top snake is very handy if your shower, tub, or bathroom drain gets clogged. These drain snakes come in different formats, such as automatic and manual. Top snakes are great unclogging tools for sinks and drains in which there is little dirt buildup. The average size of a top snake will range around 25 feet, and you can find them at a very low cost in the markets.

Toilet Auger

As the name suggests, a toilet auger is a drain unclogging tool specific to toilets. If you know how to use this tool properly, you can easily solve the issues of a drained clog. This drain snake goes down the toilet drain and allows users to push the metallic ends further down the toilet drain or twist the metal rods around to clear the clog. This plumbing snake is great equipment for unclogging toilets, especially when you have tried to use the plunger and it does not work. It comes with a fixed handle and a protective boot, so you do not scratch the porcelain on the toilet.

Medium Snake

A medium snake is a drain unclogger tool slightly longer in size than a Top Snake. It can be an essential addition to your plumbing tools, helping you take some of the most stubborn dirt buildups out of your drains.

Large or Heavy Snakes

Large and heavy snakes are long enough to reach the sewerage lines and unclog all the dirt inside. Its flexible, slim, and lengthy size can easily open up a clogged drain. The best way to use large and heavy drain snakes would be to start with the toilet and push all the blockage into the sewer lines.

Correct Way to Use a Drain Snake


Correct way to use drain snake


A drain snake goes down into your sink if it gets clogged with hair. The corkscrew in the front of the drain snake pierced through the blockage as you pushed it down. These tools are primarily steel cables that bend the drain passageway’s direction. It can also loop around and cause damage if you do not use it correctly. Therefore, you need to be careful when learning how to use a drain snake.

Consider Removing the P-Trap

It would help if you started by removing the P-trap. Even though you can insert the snake through the P-trap, it is better if you remove it to avoid any damage. A drain snake drill allows you to extend the metal drain snake inside the drain and lock it to hold it in place after you uncoiled it.

Manually thread the Auger Head of the snake into the Pipe

When feeding the drain snake down the tube, you should uncoil it all the way through. If you hit something solid and hard at the bottom of the drain, it is most likely that the drain snake has met a turn inside the passageway or bent the tubing. Make sure that you are holding the drain auger six inches away from the drain.


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    Begin Uncoiling the Snake

    Once you have locked the drain snake, you can begin turning the tool’s handle. This turning motion will ensure that all built-up dirty residues get separated from the side of the drain walls. You will also find some situations where you turn, and the snake starts coiling. To overcome this issue, you must turn it back and then push the head down ahead by locking it in place.

    Rotate the Handle to Move the Head

    You can keep turning the coil until you feel like you have hit a soft spot. It would help if you continued the movement until you reached the blockage. This is very easy to do, and you should not stop with the turning motion until you feel no obstructions inside the drain. In some drain snakes, you can attach the drill and cause a rapid turning motion.

    Once you have completed the rotation movement and you are sure there is no more hair buildup or gunk inside the drain, you can pull up the snake and re-assemble all the components of the sink you had dismantled.

    Pull the Snake Out and Re-Assemble the Sink Components

    Make sure that you pull out the drain snake slowly so that you do not damage the drain. If your drain is majorly clogged, you will feel it is very difficult to do so. If you have to put some weight on the drain snake to pull it out, this is a sign that you have probably caught the main cause of a blockage.

    You will find that the head will be covered in the gunk or hair bundle, causing the blockage inside the drain passage. Most commonly, the residue causing the blockage is a bunch of hair, soap subs, dirt, and more. This collected gunk gradually forms over time, and if you do not use a drain snake to push it out, your plumbing can get problematic.

    After your pull out the cause of the blockage, dispose of it in a plastic bag and push the snake tube back inside the drill. Once you have completed that, you can lock it back in place, and you will be ready to test the new unclogged sink.

    Test the Sink

    To test the sink, you must fill up a bucket of water, pour it quickly inside the sink, and ensure that it does not float. Once you have done that, you can attach the drain cap and clean it around the area. Apart from this method, you can also use the wire coat hanger method if you need emergency drain cleaning in Utah.

    Why Should You Avoid DIY Drain Cleaning?


    DIY Drain Cleaning


    Drain Snakes can Cause Pipe Damage

    Drain snakes are amazing tools, but if you do not know how to use them correctly, you will end up clogging the sink and damaging the Pipe. It would be best if you held the drain snake auger with careful consideration and also at a safe angle. This may seem like an easy task, but it requires the expertise of a professional if you want to prevent any damage to the Pipe. Therefore, ensure that you are either trained to handle the drain snake or under expert supervision when turning the snake head into the drain pipe.

    You Can Exacerbate the Existing Drain Clog

    The metal snaking cable pushes through the entire blockage, causing sludge and pushing out all the material causing the drain. The actual stoppage or the sludge can sometimes hit a fitting. This means that instead of pulling the blockage material out, you have pushed it deeper into a fitting. This will require more effort from your end to push it through the actual fitting and prevent the blockage.

    Once the cable has entered the entire length of the Pipe, you have to extract it. When you start extracting the cable, you may find that it only pulled out a little stoppage material and pushed most of it deeper into the fitting. This will cause a worsening of the existing drain. Therefore, pushing a cable will not be enough, and you must implement other techniques. For this reason, you are better off relying on a plumbing service in Salt Lake City instead of doing it yourself.

    Drain Snakes Can Damage Plumbing Fixtures

    In some instances, users tend to push a drain snake metal cable deep inside the Pipe and then push it out instantly, causing damage to the plumbing fixtures. Turns and P-traps can be vulnerable to metal cables inside the drain pipes. When navigating around these pipes, one must make sure not to be very haphazard and identify any obstructions when turning the handle into the Pipe.

    The drain snake method of unclogging your drains is good only if you know how to handle the equipment properly. If you do not know how to effectively function your drains’ anger and the drain snake cable, it is better to resort to professional help.

    Drain Snakes Pose a Risk ofInjury

    Drain snakes are hazardous pieces of equipment. It consists of a heavy auger and a long metallic cable with sharp edges coiled around it. Any untrained person poses a serious risk of injury, causing painful and threatening bodily wounds. Even the best drain cleaner wears safety gloves and gear and takes precautions when operating drain snake plumbing tools. Hence, if you want to unclog your drain and avoid danger, you must seek assistance from professional plumbing services in Salt Lake.


    Common FAQ about Drain Snake


    Common FAQ about Drain Snake


    What to do if snaking the drain doesn’t work?

    You can try multiple things. The first is to clean the drain unclogging tool and ensure that the corkscrew is clean. You can also make the thumbscrew tighter or replace the auger with a new one.

    When should I Use the Drain Snake?

    The best time to use the drain snake is when you notice the water collecting on top of your sink and flowing down the drain very slowly. This is when you may want to learn how to use a drain snake.

    How Much Does a Plumber Charge to Snake in Utah?

    A plumber’s amount in Utah will greatly vary depending on the services you need. Some plumbers will charge you hourly, while others will offer discounted packages for specific services that you can get.

    Can you get rid of clogs on your own?

    There are many ways to get rid of clogs; however, each carries a risk of injury. For this reason, it is best to find a drain cleaning service to do it for you safely and efficiently.

    Do I Need Professionals for drain Snakes?

    Yes, there are many reasons why you need professionals for drain snaking. There are many hazardous risks when handling drain snakes, and if you do not get it right, it can be disastrous for your plumbing.


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