How To Snake A Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is a common residential problem, but can be a real nuisance. If the clog isn’t too severe and you are somewhat handy you could rent a plumber’s snake and fix the problem yourself.

A plumbing snake is a long flexible tool used to remove clogs in pipes that can’t be forced through with a plunger. Most snakes have a coiled wire with space between the coils at the far end. The near end is attached to a crank that rotates the wire as you push it down into the pipe.

The far end of the snake digs into the clog kind of like a corkscrew. If you are able to snag the clog and recover it, you can pull the plug out. The alternative is to break up the clog and push it through the drain.

Drain Snake Demo

If you decide to rent a plumbing snake, take a few measurements first. There are a few choices, and you want to get the right snake for the job. Here are a few tips on how to use a plumbing snake.

  • Prep The Area: Make sure you have towels and a bucket to mop up any water. You will probably want to use gloves, because the snake cable can get messy.
  • Feed Plumbing Snake in: Feed the snake’s head into the drain and turn it clockwise as you push it into the pipe.
  • Find the Clog: Keep turning the snake and sliding it in until you hit the clog. Stay close to the entrance of the pipe as you feed the snake into the drain.
  • Snag the Clog: Once find the clog, turn the head of the snake until you feel it latch on to the clog. Once you have a good hold on the clog, pull the snake out carefully. If that doesn’t work you can push and turn the snake to chew away at the clump until you break through and break it up. If you are able to pull the clog out, it will probably cause a mess. That’s what the towels and bucket are for.
  • Clean up the Drain: You will want to get rid of any remaining pieces in the drain. Do this by running hot water down the drain for a few minutes. This should wash away any remaining chunks and pieces.

Power Snake

power snakeIf you can’t find the obstruction on your first try, run the snake in through the branch pipe. If you can’t find the clog in the branch pipe, the blockage may be in the main waste and vent stack, or in the sewer line. In that case, you’ll have to call a plumber. When the plug gets that deep you need a power snake to clear it up. You might be able to find one at a rental shop but the best bet is to call someone, like one of our guys.


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