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How to Snake a Drain

June 24, 2022

How to Snake a Drain

Snaking a drain can be challenging, especially if you have never done it before. If you still have a blockage after you snake a drain, you may have a broken pipe or other serious plumbing concerns. Therefore, when you discover the clog, it is best to call a professional plumber from Beall Contracting to assess the situation. 

What Is a Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is a long cable with flexible metal coils at the end. This type of tool is used to clear clogs from drains. You should first call a professional plumber when you need to clear your drain. However, if your problem is minor and you want to save money, you can use a plumbing snake.

When To Use a Plumbing Snake

You should use a plumbing snake if your drain is clogged and you can't get any water through it. You may also need to use one if you want to clean out the pipes, so they don't get clogged again.

You should snake your drain if you're experiencing any of these issues:

  • Your sink or tub won't drain at all.
  • You get water in your basement when it rains hard and fast.
  • Your toilet has overflowed multiple times.
  • Your floor is wet when it shouldn't be (your bathtub, for example).

How To Use a Plumbing Snake

Knowing how to snake a drain is a great way to clear any clogs in your sink or tub. This will help you save money on plumbing bills, which is also straightforward.

  • Shut Off the Water Supply

Turn off the water supply leading into the sink, tub, or shower.

  • Remove the P-Trap

First, remove the P-trap under the sink. The P-trap is the U-shaped pipe connecting both sides of the drain pipe from underneath your sink. Use pliers or channel locks to unscrew it from the drain tailpiece and pull it out of the way so you can see what's happening inside your pipes.

  • Extend the Cable

The first step is to extend the cable on your snake so that it will reach down your drain. To do this, feed the line's end into your drain opening until it is about 7" (18 cm) longer than necessary. Attach the end of the cable to one side of your snake and feed it through into your drain opening so that you can use both hands while working on clearing the clog.

  • Rotate the Snake To Snag the Blockage

After extending your cable, rotate the snake around in circles until you snag something that feels like debris or another object blocking your drain pipe. This step may take some time if there is a significant clog in your pipe, and you must rotate your snake back and forth several times before it snags on something solid enough to pull free from its position inside your pipe.

  • Retract the Snake

Slowly pull the snake back towards you, out of the drain. Remove any debris from the snake. You may need a rag or paper towel to remove it altogether.

  • Repeat Until Drain Is Clear

Continue these steps until the drain is clear. Put it back together and see if the drain runs freely.  

  • Clean the Snake

After the drain cleaning, it is vital to clean the snake. The last thing you want is to carry bacteria. It also should be dried so it doesn't rust and is usable in the future. 

Professional Assistance

If you do not wish to do it yourself, contact a professional plumber from Beall Contracting. Often this is the best solution anyway, just in case something bigger is going on with your blockage.