More than 60.9 percent of new homes in 2017 had at least two bathrooms. In each bathroom, there are at least two drains, the toilet, and a network of pipes that funnel water away from your home. Unfortunately, the more drains you have, the more likely it is that you’ll have a clog at some point.
Using a plumbing snake is a simple way to power through basic clogs on your own. However, if you’re not sure where to start, using the snake can seem confusing at best.
Luckily, it’s easier than it seems. Here are a few proven tips to help you use your plumbing snake the right way every time.
Invest in the Right Type of Drain Snake
Believe it or not, there’s more than one type of drain snake to choose from and each offers different benefits. The key to choosing the best plumbing snake for home use is to think about the types of clogs you encounter most often.
If you’re frequently dealing with a clogged toilet or sewer line, you’ll want a toilet auger. If your sinks or tubs get clogged most often, a manual snake will be enough. If the clogs in your drains are stubborn or keep coming back, a power snake will be a better choice.
Think about the issues you typically have on your property and head to your local plumbing supply or hardware store. They’ll have a range of drain snakes to choose from and can walk you through the benefits of each in detail.
Pay attention to what their staff says. If they recommend a specific snake, it’s likely because they’ve heard great reviews from other DIY home repair experts.
Remove the Drain Covers With Care
Before you can use the snake, you need to be able to access the drain. This means you’ll have to remove the drain covers in place.
Look at the type of cover your drains have. If you see that it’s held in place by a screw, grab your screwdriver and use the proper head to loosen the screw. If there are no visible screws, you should be able to turn the cover itself and unscrew it from the mounting mechanism inside the drain.
Whatever you do, be cautious. Avoid using too much force to remove the covers as it can strip the threading. When this happens, you’ll find it hard to put the cover back together when you’re done.
Set the covers aside in a safe place and keep all screws and hardware together. Many people prefer to place them in a cup or a plastic bag while they work. This way, nothing will go missing.
Have Towels and Cleaners at the Ready
One of the most important things to keep in mind when figuring out how to use a plumbing snake is that it can be messy. You’re using a plumbing snake to break up and push the clog further down the pipe. This means it’s encountering actual debris and gunk inside your pipes.
When you pull the snake out, you can expect to see tons of gunk and grime on the snake itself.
You’ll want to be able to wipe up any grime that makes it out of the drain on the snake as soon as you can. Remember, it’s normal for the gunk to have an off-putting odor, and the sooner you can clean it up, the better off your home will be.
Keep towels and cleaners near the area you’re working in. Wipe down the snake well after each use and let it dry before putting it up. Use paper towels and your preferred bathroom cleaner to wipe down the area around your worksite once you’re done.
Go Slowly When Using a Plumbing Snake
When you’re dealing with a clog, it’s tempting to work as fast as you can to get rid of the blockage. Unfortunately, doing so can cause damage to your pipes and your plumbing fixtures.
Instead, take your time and move the snake into the pipe slowly. Once you find the clog and feel resistance, keep pushing through the clog slowly. The larger the clog is, the more resistance you’ll likely feel.
Move the snake around the pipe to scrape at any remaining residue left by the clog. Then, pull it up with slow, steady motions. This will cut down on the potential damage it can cause and will better protect your plumbing in the future.
Once you’re ready to remove it completely, grab the end of the snake with a towel. Pull it out carefully and wipe it down as you go to cut down on the spray of grime around the fixture.
When in Doubt, Call a Plumber
Though using a drain snake is a great way to get rid of most clogs, it’s not always going to be enough. If your sink or bathtub is clogged and no amount of snaking and plunging will remove the blockage, call a plumber.
They’ll be able to find the blockage and remove it safely so your drains can flow like normal.
Remember, there’s no shame in calling a professional. It’s far better to pay a little more for an experienced plumber to work on your pipes than it is to risk damaging them yourself. They have the training and experience necessary to deal with even the toughest leaks and clogs in your home.
Now You’re Ready to Tackle the Most Common Clogs
Using a plumbing snake is a skill that all homeowners should have. It makes getting rid of clogs easy and helps keep your plumbing working well for years to come.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to fix the most common problems in your home’s plumbing system with ease. Just remember that it’s okay to call a professional if you feel stuck or confused at any point. They’ll be able to fix the problem fast and won’t damage the rest of your plumbing in the process.
Looking for more tips and advice on how to maintain and repair minor issues in your home? Check out our latest posts now!