When you discover a clogged drain in your home, it can certainly ruin your day. You don’t want to spend the money on a plumber, but you know that the problem needs to be corrected while it is still small and not threatening thousands of dollars in water damage to your home. So you ditch your plans for the afternoon and begin gathering your gear to take on this drain clog on your own. But what you might not know is that when done correctly, removing a drain clog is a fast and simple DIY project that should not derail your entire afternoon.
The Benefit And Use Of A Plumbing Snake
A plumbing snake, or drain auger as it is also called, is a tool that will remove clogs from smaller drains like your home’s bathroom or kitchen sink. There are larger models labeled explicitly for a toilet clog to handle the more challenging clogs found in larger toilet drains.
Food debris, hair, soap scum, and other waste can easily get stuck in smaller drain pipes and the u-shaped trap sitting below the sink. These are what plumbers consider to be minor clogs, and a plumbing snake will almost always do the trick.
Tips On Snaking A Drain
You might think that operating a plumbing specific tool is intimidating. But with just a few tips from the pros, you can master the use of this basic tool and handle many of your home’s smaller drain clogs in a matter of minutes.
The Necessary Tools
To snake a drain, you will need a plumbing snake. You can purchase a reasonable model at a big box or hardware store to have on hand for future use. Most residential plumbing augers are 3/8” and 20 feet long, but for sinks, a smaller ¼” model could be sufficient.
If you have a small clog and no snake, you can remove it using a homemade snake. You will need a metal hanger bent into a reasonably straight strip. But be sure to leave a compressed hook to snare the clog and pull it out of the drain.
Regardless of the type of snake you will use, you will need a bucket and a pair of gloves. These will keep your hands and sink area clean as you dig out whatever clump of gook is blocking your drain. A flashlight can also be useful.
Proper Snaking Technique
Most people think that cramming the snake down the drain is all you need to do to remove a clog. But there is a specific method to using a snake properly and successfully removing a clog. First, remove the hair trap covering the drain. Next, slowly insert the snake cable into the drain while turning the handle clockwise. If the snake is difficult to push into the drain, move your grip closer to the drain opening to apply more force.
As you insert the snake, you could hear a substantial amount of scraping noise, and the auger will stop. It means that the snake has reached the trap under the sink, and you need to push past it. When you feel significant resistance, you have reached the blockage that you need to remove. If you continue to move the snake forward, the clog should give a little bit. Push very gently against the clog as you continue to turn the auger handle. You should feel some resistance as the clog becomes snagged on the end of the snake. Keep turning and pushing gently to break up the clog as much as possible. You should feel the clog begin to disintegrate as the auger turns more freely.
Pull the snake out of the drain slowly to remove the remaining material lodged on the hook end of the auger. Clean the debris off the snake with a towel or place it in the bucket to clean it in a utility sink. Finally, rinse the drain with several minutes of hot water to wash away any remnants of the clog.
If you were unable to clear the clog with an auger, then it is time to call (214) 388-4525 for help from the pros at Metroplex Leak & Line.