If there is a clog in your pipe that a plunger can’t handle, you should ask yourself how a plumbing snake works and how to use it properly to clean the pipe. The presented tool is a more powerful handheld sewer pipe cleaner compared to the classic plunger. Still, it is also more challenging to use. This tool is difficult to manoeuvre in the bends of the pipeline and steep turns. We recommend reading our material to learn how to use a manual plumbing snake and avoid common mistakes. We will tell you what a plumbing snake is, how to use it correctly and give professional advice.
Drain snake – what is it and what is it for
The sewage snake is a unique plumbing tool which consists of the following:
- a piece of metal (most often steel is taken), coiled into a spiral, its thickness is often a quarter of an inch;
- the handle, where the spiral is attached.
The metal spiral is shaped like a snake, hence the name. If you’re wondering how plumbing snakes work, this tool allows you to pick up an obstruction in the pipe and break up the clog to make flushing the pipe easier. The snake also removes the clog in the sewer so that there are no more obstructions inside.
This tool comes in several types and sizes. If you are wondering what size plumbing snake you need, it should be chosen depending on the pipe size and the clog’s complexity. As for the varieties, you can find on sale a cable drill, in which the metal spiral is several feet long and wraps around a spool with a handle. There are also models where the reel is replaced by a shaft to hold the coiled metal in place. The end of this tool is curved, allowing it to move around curved pipes. In addition, there are unique powered versions to remove large clogs far away from the toilet bowl, drain or sink.
How to use a plumbing snake
It also does not hurt to know how to work a plumbing snake. This tool is familiar to those who have tried to clean a clogged drain, toilet bowl or sink with a plunger, but all attempts have failed. In this situation, it is worth using a particular sewer snake.
Considering what a plumbing snake is used for, this tool is excellent for persistent clogs that are pretty difficult to remove. It’s also great for clogs a few inches or a few feet away from the pipe. If you have a reasonably small clog, however, it’s worth using a plunger, which creates a vacuum that cleans the pipes and removes minor clogs.
A guide on how to use a plumbing snake
Suppose you’re wondering how to use a plumbing snake toilet and other pipes. In that case, we recommend reading our step-by-step guide on properly removing a clog with your own hands at home with just one tool.
No. 1: Dismantling the U-trap and opening the access to the drain
If you’re cleaning your sink, it’s worth removing the U-shaped siphon – a curved pipe with a diameter of 1-2 inches. This is where the standing water is held to ensure the drain is sealed from sewer gases. You can disassemble the siphon yourself. Before working, you should throw towels on the floor. It would help if you also put an empty bucket under the siphon. If you are disassembling the bathroom drain, you can access it through the overflow.
No. 2: Pull out the cable
First, you need to loosen the thumbscrew on the drain pipe reel. Next, pull the cable out and place it in the drain pipe. Move forward until you hit an obstacle.
No. 3: Hook the clog.
It would help if you tightened the thumbscrew on the drum. Next, gently turn the handle on the tool 2-3 times.
No. 4: Pull the cable toward you
Loosen the thumbscrew on the tool. After that, gently and without jerking, pull the sewer snake out of the pipe.
No. 5: Clean the pipe all the way through
If you think you still need to pull all the way out of the drain, it’s worth repeating the above steps again. It is only possible to check the drain by fully assembling the drain pipe. So it is best to keep going by the word until you get to the end of the cable to ensure there are no clogs.
No. 6: Test the drain
After removing the clog, you need to reassemble the drain pipe. Next, open the water to test how well it goes in.
№ 7: Clean the snake
After you take the tool out of the pipe, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Debris, hair and other things can contain pathogenic bacteria on the spring and along the cable, and they should not be dragged inside the reel. Also, the cable should not be wet, as it can become rusty. Be sure to dry it out after rinsing it.
How to make a plumbing snake turn corners
One of the most common questions is how to get a plumbing snake around a corner. Going around the bends of a plumbing system, mainly right corners, causes quite a bit of trouble. As you gain practice, getting around corners will become more accessible, the main thing is to move the tool in the right direction.
Suppose you are wondering how to get a plumbing snake around corners before inserting the tool into the pipe. In that case, you should bend its end 3-4 inches from the edge, making it faster and easier to get around the corner when it appears in front. You can pull the cable slightly when you get to the bend. This will reposition the tool so the end is at an angle relative to the curve. You can then move the cable further toward the clog.
Professional tips for using a plumber’s snake
Finally, we also want to give you some tips on how to use a plumbing snake on a toilet:
- try to pull the cable straight out. You can turn it counterclockwise, you can also loosen the clog somewhat and try to pick it up again;
- if you feel the instrument is stuck, do not twist the drum any further, as this will only worsen the situation. It is best to fix the screw and twist the drum with the cable in the opposite direction, slowly pulling the instrument towards you.
All in all, there should be no problem with a concept like plumbing snake how to use. The main thing is to move carefully without sudden movements and learn all the tool operation rules.