How to Snake a Drain Using a Plumber’s Snake

Are you experiencing a slow or clogged sink or tub? Before calling a professional plumber, you may want to try snaking your drain using a plumber’s snake. For most people, using a plunger is the first step to take when faced with a clog. But when you’ve tried clearing a clog with a plunger, and it’s still not clear, a plumber’s snake or drain auger is the next step.

How to Snake a Drain Using a Plumber’s Snake

Although it is more difficult to use than the plunger, this guide will show you how to clear clogs in minutes using a plumber’s snake, an inexpensive and easy-to-use tool.

What is a Plumber’s Snake or Drain Auger?

A plumber’s snake (also called a drain auger) is a coiled metal cable with a crank handle at one end. When inserted into the drain, it feeds off the spool and reaches deep inside to clear clogs caused by soap scum, hair, grease, and other debris. 

It is about 20 to 50 feet long, and the handle is rotated to feed the cable into the drain. Once it is inside, you can feel when the snake has reached the clog, and it can be pulled back out, dragging with it pieces of debris that clear the blockage.

How to Use a Plumber’s Snake

Before you begin, place some old towels under the affected pipes and protect your clothes with a plastic apron or clothing.

1. Locate And Remove The P-Trap

The first step is to locate the p-trap, which is usually located between the sink and the wall. Unscrew both ends of the trap and remove any debris that may be in it. The p-trap is a U-shaped pipe that catches debris before it reaches the main sewer line. It can be made of plastic or metal and is curved so that it prevents sewer gases from getting into your home.

2. You May or May Not Remove The Trap Arm

The trap arm is the pipe connected to the p-trap and the wall pipe. It holds the p-trap in place. It is sometimes necessary to remove this pipe in order to snake the drain. If there is an access hole you do not need to remove it. Look for a metal or plastic nut at the end of the trap arm and then unscrew it. If you can’t find a nut, the trap arm is probably glued in place. In this case, don’t force it. Simply clean it out as much as you can.

Now look inside the drain pipe for the clogs. If you find anything, clear it out if you can reach it. If you don’t see anything or can’t reach the obstruction, grab your auger and move to the next step.

3. Insert The Plumber’s Snake Into The Drain or Pipe

Now it’s time to insert your plumber’s snake into the opening of the drain or pipe. If you didn’t remove the p-trap, feed the snake into the drain and then down the pipe. Run a bit of cold water down the drain as well. If you removed the trap, insert the snake directly into the wall opening.

Once you’ve inserted the snake, use your index finger to follow its path and make sure it is going in straight. If it’s crooked or bent, gently pull it out and try again. The snake head and cable should not be too wide for the drain.

4. Start Uncoiling The Snake

Once you are sure the snake is in place and straight, start uncoiling it slowly. The head of the snake should be going down the pipe toward the clog. Rotate the handle counterclockwise to slowly feed off the cable as you go. Continue until you feel resistance. This means that you’ve reached a clog.

5. When You Reach The Clog, Rotate The Handle Again

Once you’ve reached the clog, rotate the handle back and forth, then pull it towards you. This should break up the blockage so that it can be washed away in the water. If not, keep rotating until you feel the snake move freely again. Then try flushing with hot water to clear any remaining debris. Be careful not to hit the sides of the pipe while you snake.

6. Withdraw The Drain Snake And Replace The P-Trap

When you have finished snaking the drain, slowly pull out the snake and then replace the p-trap and trap arm. Inspect the auger head for pieces of the clog. If you find any, wash them off and clean up your drain snake. Finally, flush your sink with hot water to make sure it is completely clear.

By following these simple steps, you should be able to snake your drain successfully using a plumber’s snake. However, if you feel you do not have the time or are unable to carry out the above-mentioned steps, you can contact a professional plumber to help unclog your drain. Professional plumbers are experienced and knowledgeable in dealing with clogged drains and other plumbing issues.

7. Test The Drain

Now it’s time to test the drain. Run some water down the sink and see if it drains properly. If it does, congratulations – you’ve just used a plumber’s snake to clear out a clogged drain! If not, repeat the process until you’ve cleared all clogs.

Snaking a drain can be tricky, but with patience and care, you should be able to clear most blockages using a plumber’s snake. If, after a few attempts, the clog still remains, call a qualified professional to help you. They will be able to expertly diagnose and remove the clog using specialized tools and techniques.

Contact The Professionals at Acme Plumbing For Help

When you’re faced with a clog that a plunger or auger can’t solve, contact the professional drain and sewer experts at Acme Plumbing. Our trained and certified plumbers have years of experience in dealing with clogs and blockages in all types of pipes and drains. We are available 24/7 and use state-of-the-art video inspection technology to quickly locate the problem and provide the best solution for your needs. Call us today at (919) 688-1348 to set up an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff. We look forward to helping you keep your plumbing running smoothly!

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