Drain clogs can happen to the best of us. At the same time, not all clogs are created equal. Some clogs can be smaller in size, some can be tough and challenging to remove, and others can be due to age and deterioration of the drain piping. One of the most common drain cleaning methods for larger, stubborn clogs not related to the structural soundness of the piping is drain snaking.

Unlike store-bought drain cleaners, plumbing snakes don’t utilize harsh chemicals to break down clogs. Instead, these devices allow you to remove the blockage physically. However, before using one, it’s important to learn how to snake a drain properly. Misusing a drain snake can cause damage to your pipes and potentially lead to injury.

Fortunately, understanding how to use a plumber’s snake is a quick and simple process. Here is everything you need to know about how to unclog a drain with a plumbing snake.

Get to Know Your Plumbing Snake

Before we discuss how to unclog a drain with a plumbing snake, it’s important to learn how these devices work. Plumber’s snakes, also known as drain augers, have a long metal cable with an auger head (or spring) on one end and a handle on the other. The auger head is inserted into the drainpipe and tangles around the blockage, allowing you to trap and remove it.

If you’ve never used a plumber’s snake, you can purchase one at a home improvement store. Most snakes are about 50 feet long; it can be a bit pricier if you need a longer cable.

Removing the P-Trap

When learning how to use a drain snake, you’ll discover that you have a few options. Are you experiencing a blockage in your bathroom or kitchen sink? When dealing with clogged sink drains in particular, you can choose to remove the P-trap and trap arm beneath the sink. If you remove the trap arm and P-trap, this can make it easier to reach clogs that are deeper in the waste line.

If you choose not to remove these components, consider running cold water while you snake the drain. This constant flow of cool water can help flush out the clog. However, remember to avoid using hot water.

Always Put Safety First

Safety should be a top priority when using a plumber’s snake. Wear protective goggles and rubber gloves to keep yourself safe against waterborne diseases. Similarly, consider wearing coveralls or long sleeves for further protection.  Inspect the piping and joints of drain line where exposed – is it plastic, metal, discolored due to leaks?  Many homes have galvanized piping that can become severely damaged by snaking causing larger issues in your home.

Although learning how to unclog a drain with a plumbing snake is a fairly easy process, you and your home’s safety shouldn’t be overlooked. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable using a plumber’s snake, contact your local Baldwinsville, NY plumbers for a professional drain cleaning.

Step 1: Insert the Snake Into the Drain

When learning how to snake a drain, it’s important to start at the very beginning. Start by carefully inserting the auger head and cable into the drain. If you’ve removed the P-trap or trap arm, you can insert the cable into the exposed part of the drainpipe instead. Once you’ve done this, turn the handle to extend the cable further into the drain pipe.

Step 2: Maneuver Around the Pipe

As the cable gets deeper and deeper into the pipe, you might encounter a little resistance. What you’re likely encountering is a sudden bend in the pipe. When you reach this part, you might have to use a bit of extra force to get around the curve. Afterward, it should be an effortless route to the blockage.

There are a few tips to keep in mind when learning how to unclog a drain with a plumbing snake. First, try to keep a consistent pace as you turn the handle. Second, don’t try to rush through the snaking process. While you may be eager to clear your drain, you don’t want to risk damaging your pipe.

Step 3: Locate and Remove the Obstruction

You’ll know you’ve reached the clog when you hit a sudden wall. Once you’ve located the blockage, you’ll need to rotate the auger head. As this auger head turns, it’ll tangle up the clog, making it easy to remove.

If you think the clog has been removed, you can pull the snake out of the drain. However, one of the most notable takeaways when learning how to snake a drain is that it’s not always a one-time job. You might have to repeat the process several times to remove the blockage — or multiple blockages — completely.

Need Help? Turn to AP Plumbing for Drain Cleaning Services

As homeowners, many of us rely on our garbage disposals, throw items into our sinks that we shouldn’t, and overlook the importance of a clean and properly constructed drain. As a result, clogged drains can occur, throwing our entire routines off balance.

AP Plumbing is only a call away if you’re having trouble unclogging a drain. Our professional plumbers know how to snake a drain, among other drain cleaning methods. Contact us to schedule a drain cleaning in Syracuse, NY, today!

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