Easy Steps for How to Use a Drain Snake

Easy Steps for How to Use a Drain Snake

January 21, 2021

You’ve tried every method in the book to get rid of that stubborn clog—drain cleaners, plungers, even wire clothes hangers. But despite your best efforts, nothing seems to work. That’s where a drain snake comes in handy. Keep reading for a step-by-step explanation of how to unclog a drain with a snake. Remember to call a plumber in Bay City, MI if you need assistance:

  • The first step is to determine whether you actually need to unclog the drain with a snake. Some clogs break up easily with commercial drain cleaners or a little bit of baking soda and vinegar. You can pull out stubborn clogs with an unraveled wire clothes hanger if they’re close to the drain opening. A drain snake is only necessary when the clog lies beyond the trap and is too large or solid to disintegrate with drain cleaners. If this is the case, you’ll find drain snakes at any hardware store in Bay City, MI.
  • Once you’ve acquired a drain snake, feed the textured auger head into the drain hole. The auger head usually consists of a thick coil so it can get a secure grip on the clog. Most of the snake is wrapped inside a drum that operates with a crank handle. After inserting the auger head, turn the drum handle so it feeds the drain snake farther down the pipe.
  • Drain snakes require a bit of finagling to get past the curved trap. However, encountering resistance in the trap doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the clog. Apply more pressure to the crank handle until the snake moves easily through the pipe again. Drain snakes are for deeper clogs, so it might take a minute before you run into the blockage.
  • You’ll know the drain snake hit the clog when you can’t crank it any farther into the pipe. Rotate the snake until its textured head corkscrews through the clog. In some cases, this action is enough to break the clog into smaller pieces and flush it down with hot water. Solid obstructions will snag on the coil, which allows you to pull it out through the drain opening. Keep rotating until the auger head completely breaks through to the other side of the clog.
  • Pull the drain snake back out through the drain opening. Sometimes the clog will be attached to the auger head, while other times it’s soft enough to break apart in the pipe. Flush the plumbing with hot water for a few minutes to help any remaining clog pieces wash away. If water pools in the sink, part of the clog still needs to break loose. Repeat these steps until your drain functions like normal again.

Some clogs are too stubborn to tackle on your own. It’s time to call for reinforcements if you’ve wrestled with the drain snake multiple times and still can’t dislodge the obstruction. Thankfully, the plumbers at Thornton Brothers Sewer Service have all the heavy-duty equipment you won’t find at hardware stores. We offer drain cleaning services to the greater Bay City, MI area when residents struggle to unclog a drain with a snake. Reach out to schedule an appointment.

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Bay City, MI 48706

(989) 684-1400


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