Also known as a drain snake or an auger, the plumbing snake is a powerful tool used to conquer clogged drains quickly and efficiently. In most situations, using a plumbing snake is simple and easily breaks up whatever is clogging your drains, but at other times there are tough drain clogs that require a lot more precision that many plumbing amateurs lack. Whether or not you need to call in professional assistance can be determined by learning how to use a plumbing snake and what can go wrong if they’re misused. Here are the basic facts on plumbing snakes and what they’re capable of helping you fix in your home.
Plumbing Snake 101
These are examples of the different types of plumbing snakes and how they accomplish their job of clearing drains.
1. Cable or Drain Augers
A cable auger is most likely the generic kind of plumbing snake you picture when someone tells you to grab something to unclog your toilet or sink. It’s a flexible cable with a corkscrew at the end that will break through and pull out any blockage. It has an easy to use handle that spins down the drain when you turn it without damaging your pipes.
2. Flat Tape Augers
While similar to cable and drain augers, flat tape augers are specifically designed for water pipes that are 2 inches or less in diameter. They have a spear point tip that pushes blockage down the pipe rather than removing it. The main difference between this drain snake and the other is that it’s hard flat cable type is more capable of pushing larger objects through the pipes.
3. Toilet Closet Augers
A closet auger is used for unclogging toilet bowls, this plumbing snake can be controlled manually or by power drill and is the best option for tough drain clogs because it’s hose is flexible and designed to navigate through toilet plumbing pipes with ease. This is by far the most user-friendly and efficient auger if you’re dealing with a simple clogged toilet.
4. Rocket Nozzle Augers
The rocket nozzle auger is a drain snake that’s best used by professional plumbers due to it’s price and strength. It’s inserted into a clogged drain and shoots high pressurized water to clear and breaks up any obstruction in a pipe that’s up to 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
5. Power Augers
Power augers are operated by a built-in motor or are attached to power drills to remove pipe blockages faster than hand cranked augers. It spins and feeds faster down the pipe because of its electric power and it comes in multiple sizes for varying diameters (some of which are used for outdoor projects!)
Common Drain Snake Uses:
At this point it’s very clear that drain augers are used for pipes that are obstructed with some form of drainage or products that shouldn’t be flushed down drains. Clogs aren’t just restricted to toilet drains, however, and you can find issues with your sink drains, bathtub/shower drains, and floor drains in the basement, laundry room, or garage all the same. An AZ plumber can check on your appliances if you’re experiencing any unusual odors, leaks, or malfunctions and they will be able to tell you which type of drain auger suits your situation.
What Clogs A Drain?
You would be surprised to hear what people put down their drains nowadays. The most common things that get stuck in pipes are hair, food, and toilet paper or paper towels that are too big to fit down the drain. Many people also flush things like feminine products, diapers, and wet wipes down the toilet which are sure to cause blockages.
Other drains are clogged by mineral buildups or blockages caused by a product infused in the water being washed down the pipes (i.e., washer and dishwasher detergent). You should always be wary of what you’re putting down your drain and make sure any solid substances are broken up more or disposed of in a different way to avoid clogging your drains.
Drain Snakes vs. Plungers
When it comes to a clogged toilet you may find yourself picking between a plumbing snake or a plunger. Ultimately, if it seems like the issue is from too much toilet paper that’s stuck in your toilet bowl trap, using a plunger would be the easiest plan of action. Plungers are simple to use and solve regular toilet problems quickly. Often, plunging multiple times with waiting a few minutes in between works for most clogs.
However, if you have tried using a plunger or you are unsure of what’s causing your toilet to not flush, it’s time to bring in the plumbing snake! Plumbing snakes can dig much deeper than plungers and find the source of the problem with little effort. Just remember to use professional equipment otherwise you can scrape and damage your porcelain!
For the Tough Drain Clogs
There are times when even plumbing snakes and plungers can’t get the job done on their own for those exceptionally tough drain clogs. Sometimes you have to use alternative methods to clear your drain out, such as pouring hot water, baking soda, and vinegar down the drain. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum that has a clog cleaning attachment. You may even have to rely on chemical drain cleaners that aren’t damaging to your plastic or metal pipes. We recommend consulting your local hardware store or plumbing professionals for what type of cleaner will open your drains back up.
Plumbing Snake Professionals
There’s not much that’s more annoying than clogged drains that stop you from using the appliances in your home. Fortunately, most clogged drains can be defeated by a plumbing snake if you know how to use it. Calling a professional AZ plumbing service like Deer Valley Plumbing can assist you in choosing which kind of drain auger will get rid of your blockages without damaging your pipes. It’s important to keep your pipes clean and functioning this summer to avoid inconvenient clogs when you need to use your appliances most!