A drain snake is a long, flexible, metal cable with a cone-shaped auger on the
end. It is also called a plumbing snake or drain auger. A home drain snake is
small, has a length of about 50 feet, and is usually hand-powered. It is called
a snake because of its resemblance to a real snake. The manual hand snake can
often be the best drain snake and the cheapest solution for removing the
How does a drain snake work? Well, a drain is very easy to use no matter you
are using it for the first time.
Start by spreading some old towels around the area. Put on some protective
gloves because you will probably be touching the cable after it comes out of
the drain and touching whatever caused the clogging in the drain. Work gloves a
preferred for this, as the coils of the cable can grab onto thin latex gloves
and rip them off. Moreover, have an empty pail close by to discard the debris
after you get it out of the drain.
Put the auger end of the snake into the drain and feed the cable in while
turning it. Work slowly and keep twisting the handle on the snake as it works
its way along the pipe. If you are snaking out a tub, feed the auger through
the overflow drain, not the drain in the floor of the tub. You will probably
have to remove the cover to do this, but going through the overflow prevents
the snake from traveling up the air vent to the roof rather than following the
When the snake encounters the blockage, you will feel the cable back up. Keep
cranking the cable so it catches the clog. When you feel resistance against
your turning, slowly pull the cable, back out and take the clog with it.
Run some water down the drain to flush out anything the snake may have
dislodged; then, clean and dry your snake and put it away until the next
How long the drain snake? The first thing to look at when purchasing a drain
snake is how long it is. In case you have a three story home and suspect the
clog in the drain might be towards the bottom of the system, you will need to
have a long cable to reach that far. A good 25-foot drain snake cable will work
for most applications, but a 50-foot length will make sure that you never have
to worry about running out the cable.
How to replace drain snake cable? To replace a drain snake cable, pull up the
power grip shield to disengage the cable and allow the new cable to be
installed easily. It takes little work to get the cable spinning in the drum.
Use an up and down motion until the cable bends and starts to install into the
drum. Install all the cable you need with the grip shield in the up position.
These simple steps get you ready to clean the drain.
Where should you buy a drain snake? Drain snakes can be bought at most your
local home improvement and hardware stores. You can also find tones of sellers
of drain snakes online where you can read the reviews to make informed
decisions. A little research is recommended before going out just to buy a
drain snake no matter how affordable it is. Another option is to keep an eye
out of used drain snakes.
Can a drain snake damage pipes? If you use the wrong type or size of plumbing
snake, your pipes can be damaged. There are several types of drain snakes,
including mini-rooters, toilet snakes, top snakes and snakes for large drains.
If you use the wrong type of drain snake for the drain line, the snake could
loop back on itself or scrape the sides of the plumbing pipe, causing damage
that could leak and the need to replace the piece of pipe.
If your drain snake is older, the scrape can lead to corrosion, which could negatively
influence the quality of your water. Additionally, the corrosion can lead to
your pipe bursting.
Moreover, if your home’s drainage system is older and made of galvanized
materials, there is a very real change the steelhead of the plumbing snake can scratch
the inside of the pipe. Over time, that scratch will rust and weaken the
structure of the pipe, until it bursts from the pressure. If you use
motor-powered snake incorrectly, you could crack the pipe and cause a serious
Why I prefer using drain snake over drain cleaner(Chemical). The drain snakes
are obviously preferred over the chemical drain cleaners. Drain cleaners can
cause violent reaction with water and the production of explosive hydrogen
vapors upon contact with most metals; chronic (delayed) and acute (immediate)
health hazards if inhaled, ingested, or contacted, including severe eye, flesh
and skin burns or even permanent visual loss, inflammation of respiratory
membranes and corrosive burns to all human tissue. They are also fatal if
Can drain snake remove hair? A drain
snake can be used to remove hair. To do so, push the snake down the drain until
you reach the clog. Turn the snake’s handle and bring it back up. Finally, run
water to test the drain and verify that the clog is entirely removed.