Drain blockages tend to occur more often than you expect, and calling a plumber is not always affordable, so today, we’re going to guide you through the basic tips on how to help yourself and apply such an accessible and practical tool as a drain snake. If you use the services of the 5 Star plumbing company, you might never need the knowledge; however, some situations require quick and decisive actions and a bit of skill.

What is a plumbing snake meant for?

A plumber’s snake, which is also called a drain auger, is a plumbing utensil that crawls through the pipes and efficiently gets rid of the barriers that lead to serious clogs. In a list of plumbing devices, snakes are located somewhere in between the everyday plungers and the professional “big guns.” If you are challenged by a blockage too hard for your common plunger, taking a snake is the best solution for those who plan to handle it themselves and not spend their budget on a plumber).

Keep in mind that since snakes are much stronger drain-clearers than plungers, applying them requires more skills and experience. Improper or rough use may cause your pipes to crack or even leak up. Below are the core guidelines on how a plumbing snake functions and crucial steps on how to use the snake right. Let’s start.

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How does a plumber’s snake work?

A plumber’s snake looks like a long flexible metal cable with a tiny auger (that reminds of a corkscrew or a drill) or an unwinding spring at one end and a handle at the other. Household plumbing snakes have a typical length of about 50 feet. The cable is kept twisted when not in use, and many household plumbers’ snakes are manually operated and likely have a revolving handle or even a grip to make them more convenient in use.

How exactly do plumbing snakes work? First, they enter the drain directly as you manually place the auger end of the snake into the drain, and due to the direct impact and close physical contact, they expunge the obstructions. The plumber’s snake uncoils with each rotation of the handle, and the longer the snake is, the further it moves through the drainpipe until it finally pierces and extracts the obstacle.

Here are the core steps to apply the snake right.

  1. First, get your plumbing zone ready and cover it properly by laying on some clothes you are not afraid to get dirty and place several old towels under the drainpipes you are repairing. Your retrieval procedure may cause some dirt though it depends on the type of blockage. This is even more relevant if you will have to eventually remove the p-trap.­
  2. ­elete the p-trap (optionally). The p-bend is the curving part of the pipe situated straight under the sink, attaching it to the overall drainpipe system in your house. P-traps’ most common material is the PVC pipe, though they may as well be made of metal.
  3. Their curved shape serves to keep the sewer gases from infiltrating through the sink into your bathroom and house. ­­
  4. You may take off the p-trap without outside help by using an adjustable wrench. After you detach the p-trap, it should be carefully inspected and cleaned. If you see an obstacle there, you will not have to do snaking. Even if there are no visible obstructions, detaching the trap could make the whole repair swifter. ­
  5. ­Try taking off the trap arm (optionally). A trap arm is the curved part of the pipe between the p-trap and the wall pipe aimed at fixing the p-trap in its position. Seek a plastic or metal nut attaching the trap arm to the wall and unbind it to take off the trap arm. If it doesn’t work, then perhaps the arm is glued; in this event, do not try to delete it. Never disregard clearing the trap and the p-shaped trap after you detach it.
  6. ­Taking off a trap arm allows you to have the closest look at the drainpipe. Carefully seek blockages after you delete the trap arm. If you do see any, first try handling them yourself, but if it is not efficient, grab a snake.­
  7. ­Place the snake auger top into the drain. Put the snake’s auger top part into the wall’s access spot or the drain (if you did not detach the trap). If you haven’t unfastened the trap, try lowering the snake under cold water. Mind that pressing the auger into the drain too tensely may result in damaging the drain entryway or pipe so it will take patience and time. Verify that the auger head and cable are not very long for the drain you’re toss­ing.
  8. Rotate the grip to uncoil and regulate the snake. As the more your auger slacks, the less force is applied it is critical to keep the grip to the pipe’s entryway the closest possible. Rotate the handle at an even pace without rushing or slowing down the speed. The signal that there’s a clog is a tangible strain you feel at any moment while the cable proceeds through the pipe.
  9. After encountering a blockage, try to pierce it by rotating and moving back-and-forth and up-and-down. Avoid squeezing the auger into the walls of the pipe. A sudden scraping sound may be a signal that you should stop snaking and fix it once again.
  10. ­If you guess that the auger is stranded in the obstruction, drag the snake out. Many obstacles are extracted after strong pulling. Go on tossing until the snake fully uncoils and no more pressure and blocking are felt.
  11. Take the snake out and proceed to put the sink parts in place. Examine the auger head for clog traces and leftover blockages and get rid of them. If you deleted the trap arm and p-trap during the snaking, fix them straight to the place where they were before.
  12. Control check your sink. Now it’s time to make sure your snake has efficiently eliminated the obstruction. Check your sink, and if there are any leftover clogs suspected try repeating your snaking procedure once again. Keep in mind, though, that snaking too intense and hard can damage your pipes. If after several tries you realize the problem remains do not hesitate to refer to plumbing specialists.


Therefore, this procedure can be a handy and light one not requiring any assistance if you manage to apply your snake accordingly. Nevertheless, the clogs tend to be underestimated – if you feel that the stubbornest clogs do not disappear, call the proven plumbing firm that can handle all the devices right and knows how to pierce the hardest blockages. Do not let this be the case when wishing to save money, a homeowner with a DIY attitude may only multiply the problem.