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How to Use a Plumber’s Snake or Drain Snake

A plumber’s snake can be a little daunting to use, but it doesn’t need to be. The basic idea is to uncoil the cord until the auger head can break through the clog in the pipe. (Also, a plumber’s snake is just a different name for ‘drain snake’.)

Remember that an auger is just any tool meant for boring into something. Depending on what clog you’re boring into, wearing old clothes and putting towels around the clogged pipe may be a top priority. You should begin by fitting the head of the snake into the opening of the pipe and then start uncoiling. Try to avoid scraping the sides of the pipe. Once it feels like the head has reached the blockage, move and/or rotate the device until the head breaks apart the clog or snags it so that coiling the head back will release the blockage.

How to Use a Plumber’s Snake or Drain Snake

Is Any Disassembly Required?

If you are augering a toilet or sink drain, then it is likely the pipe has a bend and curve before entering into the wall. This is called a p-trap and it is supposed to prevent noxious gas and fluids from sewer systems from bubbling up through the pipes.

But when it comes to unclogging the pipe, p-traps could be a hindrance to a plumber’s snake. Consider removing the p-trap and wall connector (unless they are glued in place), so that the head of the snake can be uncoiled directly into the pipe going into the wall. You might even dislodge the clog while disassembling the pipe!

Avoid These Basic Mistakes!

Even if they are obvious, it’s good to recall these basic tips:

  • Make sure the dimensions of your snake and pipe match
  • Don’t use too much force on the snake! You might cause it to double-back on itself
  • Try to figure out what the clog is and act accordingly, while remembering some snakes are too small or just the incorrect tool for some clogs.

When it comes to pipes and keeping things working, Titan Plumbing and Electric are here to help. Operating since 1994 in Tampa, they are available 24-hours, 6 days a week. So be sure to call (813) 933-8010.