Did you know that clogged drains are one of the most common household plumbing issues?

Every year, millions of homeowners face the frustration of slow drains and backed-up sinks. While calling a plumber may seem like the only solution, there is a simple and cost-effective tool that can help you tackle most drain clogs on your own – the trusty plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger.

Key Takeaways:

  • A plumbing snake is a versatile tool for clearing clogged drains and can save you time and money.
  • It consists of a long, flexible metal cable with a corkscrew-like end.
  • A plumbing snake is suitable for soft clogs caused by debris but not heavy items or obstructions in drainage pipes.
  • Safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and safety glasses, should be followed when using a plumbing snake.
  • Cleaning and drying the snake after use is essential to prevent rusting.

Understanding Plumbing Snakes

A plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger or drain snake, is a valuable tool for unclogging sinks, showers, and tubs. It comprises a long metal cable with a cone-shaped auger at one end. The snake is designed to remove soft obstacles in the drain line up to 25 feet deep. It cannot pick up larger objects or break through blockages inside pipes. There are different types of plumbing snakes available, including standard snakes for clearing clogged drains, toilet augers for toilets, and specialized tools for specific purposes. Plumbing snakes are best used when a plunger is not effective in removing the obstruction. They are particularly effective against soft clogs caused by hair and soap scum. It’s important to choose the right size and type of snake for the job and to follow proper safety precautions when using it.

Types of Plumbing Snakes

Plumbing snakes come in various types, each designed for specific purposes. Here are some common types:

Type Description
Standard Snakes These are general-purpose snakes for clearing clogged drains in sinks, showers, and tubs.
Toilet Augers Specifically designed for unclogging toilets, toilet augers have a rubber sleeve to prevent scratching the porcelain bowl.
Specialized Tools There are specialized snakes and attachments available for specific purposes, such as removing tree roots or clearing grease blockages.

Tips for Using a Plumbing Snake

Using a plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger or drain snake, requires proper technique and precautions to effectively clear clogged drains. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Gather all the necessary materials: Before starting, make sure you have the plumbing snake, gloves, safety glasses, and any additional tools needed to access the drain, such as pliers or a wrench.
  2. Ensure safety measures: It is important to prioritize safety when using a plumbing snake. Wear protective gloves and glasses to prevent any injury. Also, ensure that the snake is not tangled or kinked before inserting it into the drain.
  3. Proper usage of the snake: Loosen the thumbscrew on the drum to extend the cable into the drain pipe until you reach the obstruction. Then, tighten the thumbscrew to secure the cable. Rotate the snake handle to break up and dislodge the clog. Slowly pull the cable back towards you as you continue rotating the handle.
  4. Clear debris and repeat if necessary: After snaking the drain, clear any debris from the end of the snake. If the clog persists, repeat the process until the drain is fully cleared.
  5. Reassemble the drainage pipe: Once the clog is cleared, reassemble the drainage pipe and ensure that all connections are secure.
  6. Test for proper drainage: Test the drain to ensure that it is flowing smoothly. If there are any issues, reassess the situation and consider snaking the drain again if necessary.
  7. Clean and maintain the snake: After use, clean and dry the plumbing snake to prevent rusting. Proper maintenance will ensure its longevity and effectiveness in future use.

Using a plumbing snake can be an effective and cost-saving method for clearing clogs in drains. Remember to follow the above tips and take necessary safety precautions to ensure successful results.

Other Methods for Clearing Clogged Drains

While a plumbing snake is an effective tool for clearing clogged drains, there are other methods that can be used depending on the severity of the clog.

Wet Vacuum

A wet vacuum, or shop vac, can be a useful tool for clearing clogs. By creating suction, a wet vacuum can remove blockages from drains.

Chemical Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are readily available and can be used to dissolve or break down clogs. However, it’s important to use them with caution and follow the directions carefully to avoid damaging your pipes or causing harm to yourself.


Plungers are inexpensive and effective for small clogs, especially in toilets. Using a plunger creates pressure to dislodge the clog and restore proper drainage.

Sewer Jetter

For more stubborn or industrial-sized clogs, a sewer jetter can be a powerful tool. It delivers high-pressure water to clear the blockage and restore the flow of water.

Each method has its advantages and should be chosen based on the specific situation. It’s important to assess the severity of the clog and choose the most appropriate method for clearing it.

clog remover image

Remember to always prioritize safety when attempting to clear clogged drains. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it is recommended to call a professional plumber who can effectively address the issue.

Preventing Future Clogs and Maintenance Tips

The Importance of Drain Maintenance

Proper drain care and regular maintenance are crucial to prevent future clogs and maintain the efficiency of your plumbing system. By following these simple tips, you can avoid the inconvenience and cost of dealing with clogged drains.

Tips for Preventing Clogs

  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain. Instead, dispose of them in a sealed container and throw them in the trash.
  • Use a sink strainer to catch food particles and prevent them from going down the drain.
  • Regularly clean pop-up stoppers in bathroom sinks to remove hair and debris.
  • Place a hair catcher in the shower or bathtub drain to trap hair and prevent it from clogging the pipes.
  • After each use, run hot water down the drain to help flush away any residue.
  • Inspect all pipes, faucets, and fixtures regularly for leaks and repair them promptly.
  • Avoid putting fibrous materials like coffee grounds, vegetable peels, or eggshells into the garbage disposal.
  • Schedule regular professional inspections for your sewer lines or septic tanks to detect any potential issues before they become major problems.

Regular Maintenance Tips

In addition to preventive measures, regular maintenance is essential to keep your drains clear and functioning optimally. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

Maintenance Task Frequency
Clean and dry the plumbing snake after each use to prevent rusting. After every use
Flush your drains with hot water and vinegar once a month to remove buildup. Monthly
Have a professional plumber conduct a comprehensive drain cleaning every 1-2 years. Annually or bi-annually

How to Use a Plunger for Sink Drains

Plungers are not only effective for unclogging toilets, but they can also be used to clear sink drains. When it comes to using a plunger for sink drains, choosing the right type of plunger is key. Look for a plunger with a flat bottom that is suitable for sinks. This will ensure a proper seal and maximize the plunging power.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a plunger to unclog a sink drain:

  1. Start by removing any stoppers or strainers from the sink drain. These may interfere with the plunging process.
  2. Next, run some water into the sink to create a seal between the plunger and the drain.
  3. Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring that it covers the entire opening.
  4. With a firm grip, compress the plunger and then forcefully pull back. This motion will create suction and help dislodge the clog in the drain.
  5. Repeat this plunging action several times, alternating between compressing and pulling back, until you feel the water start to drain freely.
  6. Once the clog is cleared, run some water down the drain to ensure proper drainage.

If, after repeated attempts, plunging does not clear the sink drain, it’s best to call a professional plumber for assistance. They have the expertise and tools to tackle more stubborn clogs and ensure the drain is fully cleared.

unclogging sink drain

Benefits of Using a Plunger for Sink Drains Tips for Effective Plunging
  • Cost-effective solution for minor sink clogs
  • Easy to use and readily available
  • No harsh chemicals or complicated tools required
  • Can be used for multiple drain types (sinks, showers, tubs)
  • Ensure a tight seal between the plunger and the drain
  • Use a rapid and forceful motion when plunging
  • Repeat the plunging action multiple times
  • Clear any debris or residue from the plunger after use

Clearing Clogged Drains at the Office – Commercial Drains

Clogged drains can be a hassle, not only in residential settings but also in commercial or office environments. When it comes to commercial drains, they can be more challenging to unclog and may require specialized equipment and expertise. That’s where Roto-Rooter comes in.

Roto-Rooter is the go-to provider of professional plumbing services for commercial and industrial-size drains. Their experienced plumbers are equipped with the necessary tools to tackle any clog, whether it’s in the kitchen sink, bathroom drain, or main sewer line. With their expertise in commercial plumbing, Roto-Rooter can also handle repairs and installations of commercial-grade plumbing systems.

Routine maintenance and inspections are essential for commercial drains to prevent major clogs and keep the plumbing system functioning properly. Regular sewer cleaning is especially important to ensure the smooth flow of wastewater and prevent backups. If you encounter a stubborn clog in a commercial or office setting, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional plumber like Roto-Rooter. They have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to efficiently clear clogged drains and restore optimal plumbing function.

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