How to Use a Drain Snake on Clogged Pipes


How to Properly Use a Drain Snake

Snaking pipes is undoubtedly a messy job, but is sometimes necessary. One of the most common reasons a pipe will need a plumber's snake is from too much hair clogging the drain. Keeping up on proper drain cleaning and maintenance will help with clogged drains, but inevitably you will still be faced with snaking a pipe at one point or another.

Any place inside the home with a drain has the potential to get clogged and may need to be snaked once or twice. Not only is it normal, but it’s extremely common. Below are steps to help you get the job done right.

First Step: Remove All Visible Blockages

Before you get ahead of yourself and stick the drain snake down into the drain, there is something that needs to be done first. It may seem unappealing, but it is the only way to ensure you are getting the full benefit out of your drain snake.

If there are any visible obstructions in the drain, it is important to first get all of these out of the drain. You may be wondering why the drain snake can’t take care of this on its own, but the truth is, it could potentially shove these objects further down into the drain causing further problems.

Drain filters are a great way to catch any hair or other particles before it falls into the drain. Be sure to grab this filter and clean it out often to help reduce clogging. You will also need to remove this filter in order to properly see what is causing the issue in your drain, and hopefully resolve it on your own.

Pulling black gunk from a sink drain

Drain Snakes Don’t Replace Drain Cleaning

Snaking your drain is not the same as cleaning it, and much less when comparing it as snaking vs. hydrojetting. Cleaning your drain regularly can help prevent clogs from occurring while snaking a drain is something you do after the drain is already clogged. It is actually relatively easy to work a drain snake too.

Construction workers standing around an open manhole cover

Simply insert the head of the snake into the drain after you have removed all visible blockages. You may also want to keep cold water running while you do this to encourage movement. Then you will uncoil the snake using its handle and extend it down further into the drain.

Hopefully, you are able to reach the clog. Once this happens, rotate the head back-and-forth and up-and-down. You are basically trying to wiggle the clog-free. You may even feel the clog break lose, and this is when you can retract the snakehead and replace the drain filter.

When to Call in a Professional

Man holding a business card that says 'Contact a Professional Plumber'

Sometimes, snaking your drain isn’t enough. If you tried to snake your drain and you couldn’t reach the clog or couldn’t seem to get the blockage to budge, this is when you would want to call in a plumber.

The last thing you want is to bust a pipe when you are trying to clean or unclog it, leaving you with a broken pipe repair. If all else fails, it is better to play it safe and leave it to a professional.

A licensed plumber can get your pipes cleaned out way faster and easier than a drain snake can anyway, and they know how to do it without the possibility of breaking something.

Flow Pro Plumbing Knows Pipes

Flow Pro Plumbing in Brentwood, California offers fast plumbing solutions and has an award-winning reputation. This team of experts can fix anything from burst pipes to clogged toilets. Their licensed and insured technicians always arrive at your door on time and ready for anything.

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