How to use a plumbing snake to clear the clogs that plungers can’t
If you’ve tried everything; you’ve plunged the line, you’ve cleaned out the p-trap, you’ve tried the zip-it tool, and NON-chemical drain cleaners, and you still can’t clear the clog, using the plumbing snake should be the last resort before you call a plumber, but first you need to know how to use a plumbing snake.
Really your best bet is to call a plumber and have him do the job for you, as they know how to use a plumbing snake better than anybody, but it’s not an impossible DIY fix. If you have a plumbing snake (also known as a drain auger) at your house, give it a whirl. If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person you can go and get your own snake from home improvement stores or online. They start as low as $25 but could easily reach into the hundreds for better quality and more powerful equipment. It could be a useful tool to keep around the house if you find yourself constantly having to clear your drains of clogs.
What a plumbing snake does is extend a cable all the way to the site of the clog and manually break up the clog using brute force.
How to Use a Plumbing Snake to Break Up your Clogs
To use a plumbing snake, just push the cable down the line until it reaches the buildup that’s clogging the line. Once the cable reaches the obstruction, firmly turn the handle at the top clockwise to spin the cable and break up the obstruction. Keep pushing the cable down further and further and continue rotating the top until you can feel yourself break through the clog.
One of the more difficult parts of using a plumbing snake is getting to the clog itself. Toilet augers can be stuck directly down the hole of the toilet. Tub and shower drains are a bit trickier because you’ll likely have to remove a tub overflow plate or shower strainer. Sinks can be tough too because while you could possibly just stick the snake down the toilet drain, it is probably better to disassemble the p-trap and snake through the outflow pipe in the wall instead (which is the method we recommend).
If you cannot clear out the clog with the plumbing snake then you might need to use more powerful tools such as an electric sewer machine. This machine should strictly only be used by a professional plumber, but will certainly clear any clogs that your plumbing snake could not.