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Drain SnakeWhenever the sink in your bathroom or your kitchen gets clogged a plunger will usually do the trick to clear the drain. However, sometimes the drain is blocked so badly that a plunger simply will not do. The solution? A plumbing snake. No, it is not really a snake, but a flexible auger or device that is used to unclog the stubborn blockage so that the water can pass through freely.  Sometimes, clogged drains can start to stink due to an overburdening of blockage.  When this happens it is time to take action.  Failure to do so can lead to drains that burst. Therefore, whenever there is a situation where you cannot unclog the drain using a plunger, it is best to turn to A plumbing snake. Below are some tips on how to use one and what it actually does.

The Definition: What is a Plumbing Snake?

Plumbers sometimes call it an ‘electric eel’ or a ‘toilet jack.” Basically, it is a flexible auger – a coiled metal wire with a gap between the wires towards the end – which is used to unclog those points of the pipe where the plunger cannot reach; or for cleaning the drain where the plunger is not enough. This gap between the wires is present in order to retrieve all those objects which are clogging the drain. The other end of this coil is attached to a device which has a crank and this crank is used to rotate the wire and direct it inside the pipe. Sometimes the wire, instead of pulling out the object breaks down the blockage so that the water can pass easily. It also scrapes and cleans the pipe from within getting rid of all the dirt, hair and whatever else that has accumulated.

One has to be very careful while using this tool. One tiny mistake can sometimes damage the pipe. Just follow the simple tips that are given here and you should not face any problems while using one.  Of course, if you are still a little uncertain, give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.

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The first thing that you have to do is get everything ready. The snake is sure to get dirty, so make sure that you are wearing gloves while handling the pipe.
Note: Be ready for dirt or water flowing out of the pipe by keeping a cloth and bucket handy.
Now move aside the drain cover and then very slowly put the neck of the snake into the drain pipe. The size that you use depends on the size of the pipe as well as the amount of blockage. It is best that you start off with the smallest snake and then move up to a larger size if you find it difficult to use, so as not to destroy the pipe.  Rotate the crank clockwise. Don’t hurry. Keep inserting the snake into the pipe until you find the blocked area. Once you find the block, reposition the snake near the mouth of the pipe so that you can feed the snake further.

Once you detect the clog, rotate the head of the neck unless you get a good grip on the blockage and then very slowly pull out the snake from the pipe. Get ready to face a messy situation. If the clog is a huge one then slowly push the snake so that it can eat away at the clog.
Once the debris is cleared, run hot water inside the pipe so to get rid of the remaining debris.

Presto! You are now left with a clean drain.

Questions? Give us a call (317) 859-9999

Kelson Carter

Article reviewed by:

Kelson Carter, aka, The Prince of Plumbing

Kelson is a 3rd generation Plumbing Contractor. His family business is located in Greenwood, Indiana, and provides Residential Plumbing Service to the Indianapolis Metro market.

Kelson grew up watching his grandfather and father do plumbing. After graduating high school, Kelson went to Trade School and became a Licensed Master Plumber and Licensed Plumbing Contractor. He is also Certified in Backflow Prevention. He currently owns and operates Carter's My Plumber with his parents.


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