How to Use a Drain Auger

Sometimes you’ve got a clog too big for your standard plunger. Fortunately, this isn’t the last option you have before calling in the professionals. Also known as plumbing snakes or drain snakes, drain augers are an affordable DIY fix for clearing your less severe drain clogging problems. Because of the snake’s rubber surface, you can feed it down your toilet or drain without any worry of damaging your fixtures or pipeline, making it a safe way to attempt clearing your clog on your own.

Steps to Using a Drain Auger

Using a drain auger is simple and effective if you understand how it functions and follow an easy, repeatable procedure.

First and foremost, keep an eye out for any signs of clogging, including:

  • Gurgling Sounds: You’ll hear odd sounds that seem to be coming from your fixtures, even long after you’ve stopped using them. A gurgling sound from your drain is most common, but you might also hear hissing, bubbling, or trickling.
  • Slow-Draining Fixtures: This means there’s only partial blockage potentially in your sewer line. So your wastewater is still drainable, but you’re on your way to complete blockage if it isn’t taken care of soon enough.
  • Sewage Backflow: Probably the worst symptom you want to avoid completely is having backed-up sewage return through your drain line and into your shower or tub. Essentially, your wastewater has nowhere to drain and will flow back into the nearest point of entry, which is normally a low-level drain in your home.

top down view of a drain

If you find yourself with a completely blocked sewer drain line, turn off your home’s water line. This will prevent more overflow than may have already occurred. Because you have a habit of using your sinks or toilet multiple times a day, you might forget and add more water to your problem! It also helps keep leaky pipes and automatically draining appliances – like your dishwasher or washing machine – at bay.

Find your water main, which is normally found near your water meter or a corner of your home, and turn the lever until it’s completely off.

Equipment / Tools

Drain augers are typically found at your local hardware store for about $15, making drain clearing possible when you’re in a pinch for money. It’s a long metal cable about 50 feet long, flexible enough to worm its way through your pipes.


Besides your drain auger itself, you might want to consider wearing clothes you’re willing to dirty. Depending on the severity of your clog, things could get messy…

On one end of your auger is a handle, while the other looks like a corkscrew intended to catch the material blocking your pipe and remove it as you pull it back out your drain.

Since your drain auger is made of metal, be careful to use it as it is intended, or else you can tear your piping and even create leaks.

1) Remove the Sink Stopper

If your drain has a cover or grill, remove it before you begin inserting your drain auger.

2) Insert the Drain Auger

Now that your drain’s cover or grill is removed, uncoil your drain auger. Begin inserting the cable into your drain, keeping your handle close to the drain to remove as much slack as possible – this allows you the most force for breaking through your clog.

Kitchen Sink Sideview

3) Navigate the Drain Auger Towards the Clog

Turn the handle clockwise as you push the auger through your drain until you reach the clog. Don’t rush or go too slowly, but keep consistent speed and pressure as you crank. Once you’ve reached it, you’ll feel it catch the material blocking your pipe.

4) Pull the Drain Auger Out

After successfully reaching and catching the clog, start pulling out the auger without rotating. This’ll allow you to cleanly remove the auger along with the debris you’ve caught.

5) Repeat this process until the clog has finally been removed from your pipeline.

If you find yourself facing a clog too strong for your auger, then it’s time to call your trusted local plumbing professional for help. With their expertise, experience, and specialized equipment, they’ll be able to find the right solution for your problem and get your plumbing functioning again.

For Persistent Clogs, Call Deer Valley Plumbing

You may find yourself with a drain line clog too severe for a standard drain auger, requiring professional help and specialized equipment. But don’t fret! At Deer Valley Plumbing, we offer emergency services and same-day scheduling so that we can start removing clogs and get those pipes freely flowing again.

Plumber working on Auger CTA

We offer effective drain-clearing methods which ensure you have a powerful, long-lasting solution for any drain clogging you might be facing. Call us at (623) 250-2680 and schedule your next service with us today!

Contact Us for Immediate Service

Choose Experience. Choose Deer Valley Plumbing.

We understand that plumbing problems can cause a major disturbance to your daily routine. When an issue arises, you need a fast, cost-effective solution. Our team is trained to handle any problem you are facing. We are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools to perform the service you need when you need it.

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