Using a drain snake is often an inexpensive, easy fix for drain issues, instead of calling a plumber and paying by the hour. Often, using a commercial drain snake is all they will do anyway. A drain snake is designed to travel through the pipes, find the clog, and clear the clog. Making your own drain snake will help you save the hassle of dealing with a plumber and save you quite a bit of money as well.
Step 1 – Assess the Situation
The first thing you need to do is figure out how long the cable should be. Are you clearing out a bathroom sink near the drain or are you trying to clear a clog deep in your plumbing? This will determine the length of cable you need. In addition, the diameter of the cable will be determined by the pipe you are snaking it into, narrow pipe equals narrow cable, wide pipe equals thicker cable. Also, make sure you know what type of pipes you have. Metallic pipes are much more durable than PVC. If you are working with PVC pipes you will have to be careful not to break the pipe.
Step 2 – Prepare the Cable
Using the needle-nose pliers, grip individual wires and pull them out from the cable. This needs to be done in a radial pattern, like a star. Don't pull in strands, it must be individual wires. You will need to pull several wires out in different directions so there are plenty of wires to grip the clog. Take your time with this step. Make sure you wear gloves during this process, the wires will be very sharp and can cut deep.
Step 3 – Using the Drain Snake
Insert the snake into the drain opening. Begin rotating the snake into the drain as if you were rotating a crank. Go slowly until you feel resistance. Give it one good push. Now begin cranking the snake backwards slowly, pulling the clog out.
Step 4 – Check the Drain
Now, flush or turn the water on to test the drain. Check for the speed of the drain and whether there is still a backup. If there is still a clog you will have to send the snake back down the drain to clear more of the clog. This may need to happen multiple times in order to clear the clog completely.
Step 5 – Clean Up
Once the clog is cleared you will want to clean the snake. You should have been using gloves throughout the process but, just in case you weren't, make sure you put gloves on in order to work with the wires. Clean and sanitize the wires and place the snake in the storage container for the next time you need to be the plumber to save money and hassle.