3 Tips for Using an Electric Drain Snake

A man using a drain snake in a hole in the street

Essentially, the electric drain snake is a cutter that has spinning blades at the end of a long steel cable. It is used by inserting the cutter and cable into a water line or sewer that has been blocked. The cable is continuously fed into the pipe until it reaches where the blockage is located.

The cutter blades then spin, cutting and chewing through the blockage. The blades can cut through clogs, tree roots, or whatever it is that is causing the obstruction. To fit different sizes of pipes, different drain snake sizes were made. The use of the power tool can effectively remove any clogs in your drain, unless it is caused by grease build up or breakages.

1. Use the Drain Snake as a Drill Attachment

drill in a carrying case

For a more effective job, try using a power drain snake that can be attached to a power drill. When using it with the power tool, do not turn the drill to full speed as you want the cause of the clog to be pulled back and out of the drain pipe. Work slowly and carefully in dislodging the drain clog. Try to get it rather than pushing it further into the pipe causing another clog down the drain. If you have located the clog in the main drain pipe, rent a commercial power drain snake instead. The power tool they use is usually more powerful with a lot of extra cable. This will allow you to break through really tough blockages in your drain pipe. When using the machine, you will have to go down into the crawlspace or basement and locate a clean out. It should be installed in the farthest part of the drain, where the drain lines connect with the sewer. You can start getting the cable into the pipe from that location.

2. Choosing your Electric Drain Snake

underground sewer pipes

Choose an electric drain snake that has enough cable to go through the entire length of the drain pipe into the main sewer. The diameter of your drain pipe should match the bit for the drain snake. If you do not have this, choose the bit that is nearest in size to the drain pipe.

The bit must be attached to the cable before you start the machine. You should also ensure that the machine is in the “Off” position before you begin getting the cable into the drain pipe. Once you have pushed the cable down sufficiently, you can start the motor to aid in pushing the cable further down.

3. Using the Electric Drain Snake

Once the cable starts feeding down the drain pipe, reverse the engine when it begins to slow down as it could indicate that it had reached the clog. Since you cannot feel it as you do when you are using a manual drain snake, you have to use your ears in feeling your way through the drain.

You have to do it until the snake breaks through the clog. You may have to continue feeding the cable until it reaches the main sewer line. Once it breaks through to the main, switch the motor to reverse so that the cable will begin pulling out of the drain.