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How to Use a Plumbing Snake

How to use a plumbing snake

In 9 simple steps we will explain how to use a plumbing snake.

1. Prepare the Area

Place a bucket or towels under the pipe or drain to catch any water or debris that may come out during the process.

2. Select the Right Snake

Ensure the snake is suitable for the size of the drain you are attempting to clear. Smaller hand snakes are ideal for sink or bathtub drains, while larger snakes are better for main sewer lines.

3. Insert the Snake

Begin by inserting the tip of the snake into the drain. For toilets, it’s often best to use a closet auger designed specifically for toilet drains to prevent scratching the porcelain.

4. Extend the Snake

Start turning the handle on the drum that contains the coiled-up snake. Continue feeding the snake into the drain as you turn the handle. For manual snakes, you’ll rotate the handle in a clockwise direction. For power snakes, you’ll use the power mechanism to extend the snake while guiding it with your hands.

5. Feel for Resistance

Pay attention as you feed the snake through the drain. When you feel resistance, you’ve likely reached the clog.

6. Break Through the Clog

Once you’ve reached the clog, continue turning the handle to allow the snake to work its way through the debris. For stubborn clogs, you may need to move the snake back and forth to help break up the material.

7. Retrieve the Snake

Once you’ve cleared the clog, slowly retract the snake by reversing the direction you are turning the handle (counterclockwise for manual snakes). Be prepared for water and debris to follow the snake out of the drain.

8. Clean the Snake

After the snake is fully retracted, clean it off with water and a disinfectant. Proper cleaning is important to prevent the spread of bacteria and to keep the snake in good condition for future use.

9. Test the Drain

Run water down the drain to ensure it is clear and flowing freely. If the drain is still slow or clogged, you may need to repeat the process or consider a different method of clog removal.

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