Cable Or Drain Augers
Cable augers use a flexible cable with a corkscrew attached to the end that should be turned manually using a handle on the canister or its container.
The cable also rotates inside the drainpipe when the handle is turned. The debris is then snagged onto the cable and retrieved from the drain, restoring normal water flow.
Where A Drain Snake Can Help You
The standard store-bought drain snake consists of a long wire coil that you insert down into a clogged drain. When you turn the hand crank on the other end, the wires rotate and dig down into the clog like a corkscrew. You can then move the drain snake around to try to break up the clog, or simply drill all the way through it to open up the drain once more. Sometimes, you can draw the clog out using the drain snake. For very basic clogs, a drain snake can offer a good temporary solution to get liquid flowing down the drain once again.
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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What To Do When Snaking A Drain Doesnt Work
If your plumber snake isnt clearing the clog properly:
When To Call A Professional Plumber
A plumbing service can clear clogged drains. These professionals know pipes and sewer systems inside and out. They can pinpoint the clog’s location and find a practical solution for clearing and cleaning it, even if it’s outdoors near tree roots.
Before you decide to contact a plumber for your clogged drain, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the clog creating an uncontrollable mess?
- Is the water flowing slowly through other drains in the house?
- Does the drain belong to a frequently used sink or toilet?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’ll need to contact a plumber to treat the clog and any possible underlying problems your drain lines may have.
However, you can solve many clogs yourself if you have a drain snake or drain auger. Lets take a look.
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You Are Using Too Much Force
A common mistake most beginners tend to make is using too much force when feeding the snake into the pipe. Always move slowly with caution and precision as your end goal is to feel for the clogs.
When you use too much force or are impatient and push too quickly, your drain snake may twist or even bend back, causing it to get stuck in the pipe.
If your snake gets stuck, leave it and call a professional, as you do not want to cause any potential damage to your system. When handling a snake, always ensure you are only pushing the cable a few inches at once before pausing.
Choose The Correct Snake
Drain augers are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate plumbing pipes of different diameters.
A sewer auger is the biggest, with a width of 1/2 inch or more. Also, Its a length of 50 feet or over. When you use one of these in your bathroom, the snake may not go down the tubes.
Also, it wont make it beyond the first bend in a sink P-trap without causing some damage.
According to the experts, toilet augers are normally 3/8 inch in diameter. And the range in its length from 3 to 6 feet. They are intended to make their way through the toilets inside clogs. Doing so helps to unclog the toilet.
As far as the sewage entrance and perhaps a little beyond.
Sink augers fit 1 1/4-inch and 1 1/2-inch sink pipes. They typically have a 1/4-inch diameter and are larger than toilet augers. They are sometimes twisted into a coil in a plastic container with a hook.
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Five: Check The Sink Drain
The snake should have successfully removed the obstruction and solved the blocked drain problem. If you still seem to have a clog, then you could try repeating your snaking process. Just like plunging, snaking too often can be tough on your pipes or drains. If a thorough snaking doesnt work, then its time to call Boss Plumbing!
Drain Snake Won’t Bring Up Debris
If you can’t bring up any debris from the drain, it might be because you are using a dirty or otherwise clogged drain snake.
This doesn’t apply if you are using a new drain snake, as the end is presumably clean. But drain snakes that have previously been used may still have the old clog still embedded in the corkscrew end. You must thoroughly clean this end for it to be effective.
The Spruce / Kevin Norris
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Why Is The Drain Snake Twisted
When you are running a drain snake into the drain, it becomes important to make sure it goes through as intended.
When there are twists and turns in the drain pipe, the snake is not always going to get through to its required target. This creates a situation where you attempt to push with the drain snake and it refuses to budge.
In a situation such as this, you will realize the drain snake is twisted inside the drain pipe.
If the drain snake is twisted inside the drain pipe, its best to start by turning the handle to one direction, pouring dish detergent for lubrication, pulling gently, and letting the drain snake slide out.
You will need to be patient while doing this depending on how far the drain snake has gone and how bad the twisting is.
A trapped drain snake is not going to ruin the drain unless you start yanking at it aggressively. This is why using lubrication is a much better bet and is going to lead you to the results youre after.
Here is a look at what you have to do with a twisted drain snake.
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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How To Snake A Drain
Can A Drain Snake Break A Pipe
Yes and No. Before you start using your drain snake you should know what kind of pipes youll be working with. If your pipes are made of PVC you need to be careful. PVC is plastic and while you can use your snake or auger on PVC pipes, taken extra caution not to be too rough when moving or spinning your snake cable around in your pipes.
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How To Use Toilet Snake To Unclog A Toilet
There are endless possibilities as to why your toilet is clogged. From the accumulation of debris such as sanitary towels and wet wipes to stuck items such as pens, plastics, toys, and large bar soaps. Sometimes, it could even be a plumbing issue. If youve had no success with the common unclogging tools and methods, a drain snake may help.
A drain toilet snake has a handle and a flexible long wire coil with a corkscrew-like head tip that maneuvers through your toilet to locate, break up and clear stubborn clogs that that may be sitting deep down in the drain pipes. All you need is to carefully insert the head tip into the drain, then gently push downwards while rotating the handle.
This is a quick DIY solution ideal for light deep clogs that other conventional tools like a plunger cant handle. This is also a fix to try out before hiring a pro plumber, who of course wont smile when payment time comes.
While most drain snakes are hand-operated have a rotatable handle or crank to release and retrieve the cable, there are also electric versions . The following is an in-depth guide on steps to unclog using a plumbing snake
Option: Drain Cleaning Chemicals
The next method is using store-bought drain cleaners. TheDIY methods above may not suit your style, so simply head out to the store andlook for the lost aggressive drain cleaner. Add it to the toilet and let it sitto soften the blockage. After about half an hour, flush the toilet, you shouldsee some results.
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Tried Everything To Clear A Clog In A Sink Or Toilet And Nothing Has Worked
Before you jump to a drain snake, be sure you know the different types and how to use them. Its also important to understand the potential for damaging your pipes if used incorrectly.
The Drain Snake
A drain snake has a long metal cable with a metal cone on the end, known as an auger.
You use a drain snake by feeding the end into the drain and pushing it through the drain line while turning a handle to keep the cable spinning inside the pipe.
The snake is flexible so it can bend through the pipe without getting stuck. When it reaches the obstruction, the twisting motion of the auger end hooks onto any clogs so they can be pulled back out of the drain.
When a plunger wont do the job, the toilet auger is the next step up.
The toilet auger is a variation of the drain snake designed specifically for toilets and less likely to scratch the porcelain.
A hand crank enables a flexible cable to descend into your toilet and break up an obstruction.
Drain Snakes Can Damage Pipes
While billed as devices that are easy to use by anyone and everyone, drain snakes can be hard to manage, and if used improperly, can damage pipes.
Old pipes in many homes are galvanized, or coated in zinc, which was done to prevent the pipe from rusting or corroding. When a drain snake is inserted into a pipe, the end may flop around, scratching the pipe.
Drain Snakes Pose a Risk of Injury
A drain snake has a coiled wire, which harnesses a lot of energy when being used.
How To Use A Sewer Snake
If your plumbing system has a clog and you decide to fix it yourself, youll most likely need to use a sewer snake. This tool is a favorite of many DIY enthusiasts and even professional plumbers because its handy and highly effective in removing blockages. If you want to learn more about this humble tool, this guide is for you.
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Use The Correct Type Of Drain Snake
If your drain snake wont go around bends or reach far, it may mean you are not using the correct type of drain snake. While your local hardware or home center may only have one type, there are more. Therefore it is important to identify the right type of drain snake you should be using for your plumbing.
The toilet auger is the most common drain snake specifically made for toilets and doesnt scratch porcelain surfaces. The small drum auger is also meant for routine kitchen or bathroom sink drain clogs.
Lastly, we have the extra-long drain auger for clogs embedded deep into your drain or sewer pipe.
Get In Touch With A Plumber
Sometimes your toilets can have very serious clogs. If none of these solutions work, you are left with only one option calling the plumber. However, it might be a smart decision to call the plumber without doing much experimentation yourself.
If you use plungers or snake turns incorrectly, they can damage the toilet. Using chemicals to unclog toilets can also be an unsafe option. Keeping these factors in mind, it may sometimes be better to call the plumber right away.
Dealing with a clogged toilet? Get an experienced plumber at your doorstep without dealing with all the fuss. Get in touch with San Diego Plumbing And Pipelining.
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Manual Snake Vs Electric Toilet Auger
Manual snakes use a hand crank to extend the cable into the pipe. Some come with changeable tips, but others are fixed. Manual plumbing snakes are less sturdy and often shorter than electric augers. They are a common choice for dealing with a kitchen sink, bathtub drain, or clogged shower drain.
These often donât require much cable length, but all will require that you turn a corner while snaking. For a nearby bend, having âa feelâ while using the crank will come in handy. You donât want to force it. However, a hand snake may not have the length to reach deep into your sewer line or the power to break up a tough clog in the main line.
Electric augers tend to be the preferred choice, especially when dealing with a large drain pipe. They are usually much longer with sturdier cable wires, and are the preferred choice when trying to snake a drain from outside.
They also provide much more power, pushing through the clog at the desired speed. Augers cost much more and take up more space, but they are an essential tool for anyone looking to handle simple plumbing tasks themselves.
Both of these types are designed to turn clockwise, but you may find some exceptions depending upon how you recoil your drain snake after use.
Overwhelmed with your options when choosing an electric auger? We do the work for you in our review of thebest powered electric drain snake.
Option : Baking Soda And Vinegar
This method is extremely common, especially when unclogging the sink in the kitchen. You pour your entire box of baking soda inside the toilet then slowly add in the vinegar. Some foam may come up but thats just the reaction. Allow the mixture to sit for some time the flush the toilet. Check this article for details
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Tips For Preventing Clogs
While knowing how to use a plumbing snake and having one on hand is always recommended, one of the best things that you can do for your household plumbing is to be mindful of what goes down the drain in the first place. When it comes to your kitchen sink, you should be using a sink strainer. This will help to prevent unwanted garbage and small items from entering your drain pipe.
When it comes to grease and oily waste, dont use your sink for them. While these products may be liquid at first, they will form a gel-like substance once they cool down. This substance can get trapped inside of your piping and become the perfect adhesive for other items going down the drain, such as hair and coffee grounds. Over time, that gel-like substance can turn into a big clog and stop your entire system from draining. Its best to pour grease and other oily waste into disposable containers or jars.