How To Use A Plumbing Snake

This article describes how to use a plumbing snake to unclog blocked drains step by step. A handyman (or woman) with some basic tools, a little time and a drain auger should be able to tackle most clogged drains in a domestic setting. Why call in a professional when it's so easy to learn how to use a plumbing snake?


Make sure you have a bucket and plenty of towels ready before you try to snake a drain. Lay the towels around your work area to soak up any water and protect fittings from any debris which you might retrieve during this operation.

Remove the drain cover or grill:

You will need to gain access to the drain in question so the drain auger can do it's thing. This will normally mean removing the cover from the drain.

Feed in the Plumbing Snake:

For most small jobs around the home a manual device should suffice, although there are electric models available if your job is more significant. You can even get an attachment for a power drill. Whichever type you use, start by feeding the auger head down into the drain. Rotate it a little as you feed it in.

Find the blockage:

Continue feeding in the cable, pushing the drain auger gently until you feel it come up against the blockage.

Retrieve the blockage:

Rotate the head of the plumbing snake until you can feel it biting into the blockage. Ideally you will be able to get a grip on the blockage with the auger and retrieve it back out of the drain. Place the material in the bucket for disposal later.

The idea is to try not the push the blockage further into the drain. However, in some circumstances it may be unavoidable. It this case, you can use the head to chew away at the blockage until it breaks down and is dislodged.

Wash Away any Loose Debris:

Once you have retrieved the material which was blocking the drain, run hot water down the drain for at least 5 minutes to wash away any remaining debris which was not already removed.

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