How To Properly Use A Drain Snake
The rule of thumb, when it comes to using a drain snake / auger is the slower the better!
If you try to force it down the drain too fast it could actually bend, twist and before you know it, it’s bent completely back and you’ll just see it coming back up to you instead of down to the clog. Move it down the drain an inch at a time and even a bit slower when you feel like you’ve hit the clog.
Cleanout The Drain Trap
If the above methods were not effective, then your clog is wedged deeper in the pipes.
Look under your sink to find the underlying pipes and locate the drain pipe. It has a shape like a P or a U. Place a bucket under this pipe. The drain pipe is likely to contain water, so when you disconnect it, you want the bucket there to catch it.
Thats right. You are going to disconnect it. If you find that a little scary, do not pass Go and instead go directly to the section where you call your trust plumber.
Still with us? Okay, lets get started.
Place your plumber wrench around the drain pipe rings and and turn counterclockwise to loosen.
Remove the drain trap. Take it somewhere you can dispose of a mess and clean it out. Once you have cleaned out the trap pipe, reassemble it onto the sink and run your water again. This should work to clear the clog in your bathroom sink drain.
Unless you have an even more serious clog. Read on.
You Arent Using The Correct Drain Snake
According to HomeDepot, there are a bunch of different types of drain snakes available for different situations. It is very important that you are using the correct one for the job.
- Toilet Auger: This special auger with a long rod and short cable will not scratch delicate porcelain surfaces. Do not use any other type of auger with toilets.
- Small Drum Auger: For most routine kitchen or bathroom sink drain clogs, the best choice is the drum style auger, in which the cable is contained inside a rotating canister. Stick with shorter-length cables in the 15- to 25-foot range.
- Extra-Long Drain Auger: For clogs deeply embedded down the length of your drain or sewer pipes, an extra-long auger that is 50 feet longer or more is the only way to reach the clog.
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Solution : Unclog Out The Drain Trap
If none of the previous steps work, the problem may lie in your drain trap. You can find the drain pipe under the sink. Its usually has a P or U shape. Place a bucket under the drain pipe. Loosen the ring and remove the drain trap.
This could get a bit nasty, so you should take the drain trap somewhere outside to clear any debris you find inside it. Then, put the drain pipe back in its place and run water to see if it worked.
If it hasnt, remove the drain trap again. But, this time, we need to bring out the drain snake again. Feed the cable into the pipe slowly. If theres anything in the snakes way, gently push against it. Once you hit the clog, start snaking it. When youre done snaking, put everything back in its place and run water to see whether you solved the problem.
Melt And Remove The Sludge
If the bathroom sink is draining slowly due to sludge and toothpaste build-up, you need to melt the sludge to remove it. Sludge usually develops around the pipe to narrow down its mouth, reducing the drainage performance.
- As the stopper is removed, pour one cup of baking soda and white vinegar through the drainage line.
- Now, put a small rug over the drainage as white vinegar and baking soda react to bubble up and fizz.
- Wait at least 15 minutes until the fizzing reaction breaks down the sludge into smaller particles.
- Finally, pour boiling water through the drainage. It will remove the sludge. You need to pour hot water through the drainage for a couple of minutes. It will remove the last particles of sludge from the drainage.
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Use A Drain Snake In The Pipes
With the drain trap removed, insert your drain snake into the wall pipe under your sink. Twist the auger around the pipe to see if you can feel anything obstructing the pipe. Gently push against anything in the way. Once you hit something, then proceed to snake the clog.
If that doesnt solve your problem with a bathroom sink that doesnt drain, were out of ideas. Now you really do need to call a professional plumber.
How To Unclog A Lavatory Sink
Plungers are excellent at unclogging sinks, but its important to use the right technique. All code-compliant lavatory sinks have overflows an inch or so from the rim, and plunging often results with pressure coming back through the overflow instead of pushing the clog. Cover this hole with a rag and hand pressure while plunging to take advantage of the hydraulic pressure.
When the plunger wont do the trick, it might be necessary to use a wire drain snake. To use a drain snake, remove the pop-up assembly in the sink and gently feed the wire into the drain while cranking the handle. Once the snake makes a bit of progress, advance a bit more wire from the snake and continue. This will break the clog up and push it through the pipe.
For bathrooms with dual sinks, the sink drains often meet together at a T or Y fitting. In sinks with T fittings, a snake fed through one sink drain can run across the pipes and into the other sink, rather than running down the drain toward the clog. In those cases, it might be necessary to cut out the T, snake the drain, and then replace the fitting with a Y-type fitting.
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Clean The Sink Stopper
Sometimes the stopper of the bathroom sink may build-up residues, debris, and soapy lather around it. This will slow the draining of the sink. Also, hairs might circle it. Thus, when you experience a bathroom sink not draining, no clog, you must start by cleaning the stopper.
- Firstly, look underneath the sink to find the small rod attached to the stopper. It will also have a nut and clip. The clip attaches the small rod to the drain pipe.
- Use the pliers to loosen and remove the nut to detach the smaller rod. Then, squeeze the clip attached to the rod. It will release the smaller rod to lift the sink stopper.
- Remove the hairs around the stopper. Use an old toothbrush and soap to clean off the stopper properly before you remount it.
Solution : Call A Plumber When A Bathroom Sink Wont Drain Properly
Just like with any other plumbing problem, a slow draining sink may be a sign of a bigger, underlying issue. And, such problems dont have a DIY remedy. If none of the steps above worked, its time to throw in the towel and call a plumber.
If you need to call the plumber, it doesnt mean all of your work was for nothing. Tell the plumber about everything you have tried so far. It may help them solve the problem faster.
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Check The Sink Plunger
The bathroom sink is used to shave, brush teeth and comb hair. Stuff gets into the sink. So it is no surprise if hair and old toothpaste builds up in the sink plunger.
So, first thing you should do if you have a bathroom sink that isnt draining is to lift up the sink plunger and see if there is an accumulation of hair or grime. The next step is to clear the plunger of all foreign objects and run the water to see if you now have a properly draining sink.
If not, read on.
When To Call A Professional Plumber For Your Drain Clogs
Have you followed all these tips and still have a clogged drain? If none of these options seem to yield any positive results for you, don’t be discouraged. It may be a difficult clog that a simple DIY cannot fix. At this point, its time to call a professional plumber to get your clogged drain back to working properly again.
Leave your difficult clogs to Express Sewer & Drain. Our expert plumbers can handle any plumbing problem you have, including stubborn clogged drains. !
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The Clog Is Just Too Big
It does not happen often, but there are times that the clog in the drain is just too big for the auger you have at home. You may just need to call in a professional plumber so they can use their powerful Rocket Nozzle Augers to do the job.
For those stubborn clogs – we recommend our Hydro Jet Cleaning service. The process is extremely efficient, cost effective and environmentally safe. It’s simply a superior method of cleaning out your pipes, downspouts and sewer lines.
Users Who Are Viewing This Thread
go to h/d and rent a electic power snake, 3/8″ cable nothing bigger,spread a lot of newspaper or get a good drop cloth at H/D.
power snake drain out 35″ or so wear good work gloves, and have old rags,to hold under cable when you pull back out of drain!!
IMPORTANT NOTE DO “NOT”!!! RUN MACH. WHEN PULLING CABLE OUT OR IT WILL SPLITTER ALL ALL OVER, UNPLUG MACHINE, TO BE SURE!!
Since I am not a fan of harsh lye based cleaners, I think I will look for a more environmentally and wallet friendly solution to maintain my drains. Perhaps the baking soda and vinegar solution might suit me best. Anyone have success with this for maintaining clean and free-flowing drains?
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Use A Drain Snake To Snake Your Drain
A drain snake also commonly called a plumbers auger, plumbing snake, drain auger, or just an auger is a long metal spiral tool that you thread down your drain to unscrew any clogged debris inside. One side of the snake is shaped like a corkscrew, and the other side has a hand-crank that is used to drill it through obstructions. This is a great option if the previous methods havent worked!
Since you have your P-trap removed still from the previous step, go ahead and carefully insert your drain snake into the pipe in the wall where your P-trap used to be attached. Turn the crank to drill forward and, hopefully, unclog any debris inside.
Now re-attach your P-trap and check to see if things have cleared up. If they havent, then you should move on to the next step.
Note: We have written an in-depth article talking more in-depth about how to use a drain snake, so give that a read here.
There Are Minor Clogs
A slow draining bathroom sink thats not clogged can still have minor clogs somewhere in the plumbing system.
While there are some DIY fixes for drain clogs, its impossible to tell if a minor clog is the real issue without professional plumbing assistance.
A plumber can use a camera to view inside your pipes and see if there are any clogs. If a clog is located, they can snake it out and clean the pipe.
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The Thumbscrew Isnt Tight Enough
A cable extends from the drum portion of the auger, and at the end of the cable is a metal corkscrew designed to snag the clog. On the drum side is a handle. You push the corkscrew down the drain and then you turn and turn. And then you keep turning for what seems like forever, but nothing is happening. What’s the problem?
When you fail to tighten the thumbscrew is a common reason behind drain snakes that are not working. You must make sure that the thumbscrew that secures the cable inside the drum or handle is securely tightened. If it is not, the cable will not rotate at all when you twist the handle. Rotation is the action that causes the drain snake to pick up the debris pushing into the clog will not clear it.
Drain Snake Won’t Grab Debris
The reason is that you are attempting to auger a clog that cannot be snagged and pulled up.
Clogs that respond best to the metal corkscrew end of the drain snake are clogs that can easily be snagged. Hair clogs are easily snagged by drain snakes. Cooking fat and other soft substances will not catch the corkscrew unless that debris also happens to have hair embedded in it.
Some clogs are just so dense that an ordinary hand drain snake cannot force its way through it. In this case, you have little choice but to rent a power auger or call a plumber to do the job. However, don’t give up too soon. Being patient and not forcing the auger cable may do the trick.
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How To Use A Plumbing Snake
There are two main types of plumbing snakes a homeowner might use to loosen a tough clog a cable auger or a closet auger. The cable auger houses the snake in a spool. The user can release it far into the drain using a hand crank. The closet auger houses the snake within a shaft. It often features an angled tip to better fit through a toilet trap. Both of these options require slightly different steps to operate.
Unclog A Sink With A Plunger
A plunger is a useful household tool that you may already have around the house. Smaller plungers should be used for this method. Heres how to unclog a bathroom sink with a plunger:
- Remove the top of the sink hole cover or stopper. Most stoppers will come right out when you pull up and turn or unscrew the stopper to the left. Put the stopper somewhere safe.
- Add a little bit of water to the sink to cover the drain by about an inch. Avoid completely filling the basin.
- Center the plunger over the drain and apply force to create a strong seal. Pump the plunger up and down for about 15 seconds.
- Remove the plunger. In many cases, youll see that the water clears from your drain very quickly. You can also inspect the drain with a flashlight to see if a clog is visible.
- Test your drain. You may need to use the plunger again to clear stubborn clogs.
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Check The Garbage Disposal
If your sink has a garbage disposal, it could be the culprit of your drainage issues. If the clog is in the disposal, turning it on will usually break up the blockage. Overheated or dysfunctional disposals may not even turn on, but you can activate the reset switch at the side or bottom of the unit for an easy reboot. After resetting the disposal, try turning it on again to clear the clog.
If you turn on the disposal and hear a low humming sound, the unit could be jammed or broken. Before doing anything to fix your disposal, remember to disconnect the power to the unit and never – and we mean never – stick your hand in the disposal. From there, you can try to break up the clog in the disposal by turning the blades manually. You can do that by inserting an Allen wrench into the hole on the bottom of the disposal, and twisting until you feel less resistance, meaning the blockage is beginning to break up. If that doesn’t work, follow these tips to unclog your garbage disposal. Once unclogged, turn the power back on and test the disposal. If all looks and sounds good, turn the faucet to see if the sink drainage is back to normal.
Keep in mind that your garbage disposal inspection may not reveal any clogs or issues, in which case you can skip straight to a different unclogging method.
What To Do If Drano Isnt Working
Have you tried Drano on your clogged drain but its just not working? Or maybe you keep having to use Drano, over and over again.
No matter what your situation is, there are other methods of drain cleaning you can try if Drano is not working. Keep reading to learn how to unclog your drains for good, or simply call Turners Service Co.!
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Baking Soda And Vinegar
According to Mushinski, using baking soda and white vinegar can break free light stoppages, but he says it’s not meant for large blockages. “If you choose this method, there should be no standing water in the sink, so the baking soda and vinegar can get to your clog faster and more effectively,” he says.
1. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
2. Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain.
3. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain.
4. Cover with a drain plug and wait five to 10 minutes.
5. Pour boiling water down the drain again.
6. Repeat as necessary.
Quick tip: Mushinski recommends using a wet vacuum to remove standing water from the sink and inside of the clogged drain line before you pour in the baking soda and vinegar.