How to use a drain snake | Pittsburgh | Terry's Plumbing

How to use a Drain Snake

If cleaning the trap or plunging doesn’t clear a plumbing clog, your final weapon of choice before calling a professional is a drain snake. 

What is a Drain Snake?

A drain snake is a long, flexible tool that can be used to unclog drains and pipes. They come in a variety of types and sizes and are especially handy because they’re long enough to reach clogs deep within your pipes. For instance, they can be made of steel or plastic, and be as small as 2 ft., or as long as 50 ft. These tools work the opposite way that plungers do, instead of using water to clear the clog, you push a snake into the clog to break it up. When doing this, parts of the clog break up and flush through the drain, while the rest of it can be pulled out by the snake.

How to use a Drain Snake

  1. Change your clothes and cover your work surface – Unclogging your drain is a messy job. Be sure to wear clothes you don’t care about and cover your work surface.
  2. (Optional) Remove the p-trap and trap arm – The p-trap is the curving piece of pipe beneath the sink. The trap arm is the part of the pipe between the p-trap and the wall. If you decide to remove these it could be easier to find the clog and clean it out.
  3. Manually thread the snake into the pipe – Insert the head of the snake into the drain and run cold water as you use it. Don’t force the snake into the drain too hard, or you could damage the pipe.  
  4. Rotate the handle – Once you feel tension or pressure you most likely have reached the blockage. At that point slowly start rotating or wiggling the handle of the snake back and forth/up and down–be sure to use a consistent motion. If you think the snake is stuck on or in the obstruction, consider pulling the snake out of the pipe. In some cases, the blockage will come out with it.
  5. Check the snake and pipe – Remove the snake if it isn’t already and check to see if the obstruction is stuck to it. Next, run the water and see if the tub or sink drains. If the snake didn’t successfully remove the obstruction, you can repeat the process until it does.

Call the Pros

If a thorough snaking really didn’t solve your problem, then you should consider calling the pros! Call Super Terry today for all your plumbing needs.