Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is a device that is used to unclog the drain and clean it. How does it work, and what are its advantages in what we will learn in the following sections. Read on and learn more.
Whenever the sink in the bathroom or the kitchen is clogged, you use a plunger and clear the drain, thus allowing free passage of all that goes down the drain. But sometimes the drain gets blocked so severely that a plunger is not sufficient for unclogging the drain. In cases like these, a plumbing snake comes very handy. It is a device or a flexible auger which is used to unclog drains and clean them so that the water can pass through freely. Clogged drains start to stink over a period of time, and sometimes, the drains might even burst due to their overburdening. Whenever there is a situation where you cannot unclog the drain using a plunger, it is best that you get a plumbing snake. Given below are some tips on how to use one and what its function is.

The Definition

This device is also referred to as the 'electric eel' or a 'toilet jack'. This is a flexible auger which is used in unclogging those points of the pipe where the plunger cannot reach, or for cleaning of those areas in the drain which are simply too difficult for the plunger alone. It is a coiled metal wire with a gap between the wires towards the end. This gap is present in order to retrieve all those objects which are clogging the drain. The other end of this coil is attached to a device which has a crank and this crank is used to rotate the wire and direct it inside the pipe. Sometimes, instead of pulling out the object, the wire breaks down the blockage so that the water can pass easily. It also scraps and cleans the pipe from within, thus getting rid of all the accumulated dirt, and increasing the diameter of the pipe.

Tips for Usage

One has to be very careful while using this tool. One tiny mistake can sometimes even damage the pipe. Just follow the simple tips that are given here and you will not face any problems while using one.
  • There are chances that dirt and water might flow out of the pipe--hence it is important to keep a cloth and bucket handy. Make sure that you are wearing gloves while handling the pipe.
  • Now move aside the drain cover and then very slowly put in the neck of the snake. The size that you use depends on the size of the pipe as well as the amount of blockage. But it is best that you start off with the smallest snake and then move on to the larger size if you find it difficult to use, so as not to destroy the pipe.
  • Rotate the crank clockwise. Do not hurry. Keep inserting the pipe unless you find the blocked area. Once you find the block, re-position the snake near the mouth of the pipe.
  • Once you detect the clog, rotate the head of the neck until you get a good grip of the blockage, and then very slowly pull out the snake from the pipe. Get ready to face a messy situation. If the clog is a huge one then slowly push the snake so that it can eat away the clog.
  • Once the debris is cleaned, run hot water inside the pipe so as to get rid of the remaining debris.