How to Use a Hand Auger

What You'll Need
Hand auger
Adjustable Wrench
Gloves (optional)

Hand augers (sometimes referred to as hand spinners) are a common tool used in plumbing. While there are several different types of hand augers, the one used in plumbing is a plumbing snake that is hand powered and can be used to clear clogs in sinks, shower and bath tub drains. They have an auger end attached to a length of 1/4 inch cable which is connected at the other end to a handle that rotates the auger end. 

Step 1 - Getting Ready

Getting rid of a clog has potential to get messy so put on your rubber gloves if you have them and make sure you're wearing clothes that are easily washable. You will need to start by finding the point from which you will access the clog. Depending on where the clog is it may be easier to go down the drain itself or through other plumbing access points located throughout the home. Plumbing access points are fairly easy to spot. They are black vinyl caps sticking up out of the floor with a raised square on top, usually around 2 inches in diameter. If you are using one of these you will need to use the wrench to unscrew the cap at this time.

Step 2 - Getting to the Clog

Unscrew the wing nut at the base of where the auger end extends from the tool and begin advancing the cable down your access point towards the clog. If you come to a place where the cable will not go any further, release some excess cable, then tighten the wing nut. Once it is tight, push down gently while rotating the handle downwards. Once the auger end is through the clog and it is not caught anymore loosen the wing nut and continue down the pipe as you were before until you've used the entire length of cable.

Step 3 - Getting the Clog Out

When the full length of cable is extended into the drain through one or more obstructions, tighten the wing nut again and gentle rotate the handle to pull the auger end upwards in the drain towards you. As you pull it up, the obstructions that you passed through earlier should come up with the auger. Along with it may come stagnant liquid that has been caught behind the clog, this is when you may be glad you have on gloves and you're not wearing your Sunday best. 

Step 4 - Test the Drain

Once you're done clearing the obstructions that were in the drain it's time to see how you did. If you were using a plumbing access point, replace the cap first then pour water down the drain to check if the drain runs freely. If it does, congratulations. You successfully used a hand auger. If drainage is still slowed that means there is still an obstruction in the pipe. Find a new access point and try again.