A plumbing snake is a handy tool to have around the home. When the toilet, or other drain, becomes clogged with waste the plumbing snake can drill through it and break the clog up to get the water flowing again. This plumbing necessity is a very easy to tool to use. A homeowner can successfully use a plumbing snake to work their way through most clogs without any problems.
How Snake Works
A plumbing snake is basically a small auger that is attached to a long flexible metal wire. In order to use the snake in a drain you feed the metal wire into the drain until it reaches the obstruction. Once it hits the clog the operator then turns the handle on the snake in order to turn it like a drill. This works its way through the clog and breaks it up. Working the snake is easy, but there are some things to keep in mind.
Prepare Area First
Using a snake can be a little messy if the toilet is backed up with water. Make sure to lay down several towels or rags around the toilet to catch any overflow or debris that is broken up with the snake.
Feed Snake Carefully
Many homeowners force the snake down the toilet drain until it hits something hard. Then they begin to turn the handle quickly to get through the clog. However, what really happened is that they hit a bend in the drain pipe and are boring through the PVC. When working the plumbing snake through the drain, do it slowly and deliberately. This way you can better gauge if you are indeed at the clog or at a bend.
Pull Out Blockage
There are times when the blockage can be removed without having to drill through it. When you start to bore through the obstruction pull on the snake a little to see if you can move it. The end of the snake will have a screw head that will bite into the obstruction. This can give it enough purchase to hold onto it while it is pulled up through the drain.
Continue Using Snake
There are also other times when the blockage will not come out so easily. When this happens you may have to use the snake several times on the blockage in order to get it to break up.
Wash Blockage Down Drain
After using the snake on the obstruction, and boring several holes, try washing it down with warm water. As you work away at the blockage the water in the bowl will start to work its way down. Pour some hot water into the bowl with some drain cleaner to push the blockage and break it up.
Experiment With Different Attachments
A plumbing snake can be available with different attachments for different kinds of drain blockages. If one head of the snake does not work, then try another one until you see some progress. You may need to use a different diameter snake if the one you are using is too flimsy and not strong enough. It is recommended to use a plumbing snake that is at least a quarter of the diameter of the drain pipe.