Being able to personally solve problems in your home saves you money and time. In order to do that you need to have the proper equipment. A plumber’s snake is one of the necessary tools.
Plumber’s snakes force blockages out of drainpipes by breaking up the mass or by grabbing the gunk and pulling it out. Snakes are mostly used for clogs that are too difficult to remove with traditional chemical products or plungers, but can take care of any obstruction. Owning a plumber’s snake is worthless unless you know how to use it, however.
How to Operate a Plumber’s Snake
First, make sure you have rubber gloves with good grips. Clogs are messy, and the snake can get quite slippery. The grips will help you hold onto the snake as you work with it.
Second, if you are unclogging a toilet, it is a good idea to turn off the water to the tank. That way you can avoid accidentally flushing the toilet and overflowing it. The water shut-off valve for the toilet is next to the toilet bowl or behind it. Turn the valve to the right until it tightens.
Next, insert the end of the plumber’s snake into the toilet drain or open pipe. Slowly feed the wire gently through the opening to avoid accidentally damaging the pipe.
Once you have gotten a few inches of the plumber’s snake into the pipe, begin slowly turning the crank to begin pushing the snake further through the opening. It may take a few rotations before the snake starts advancing through the line.
If it seems to be taking too long to begin moving, put some water in the sink or toilet to help lubricate the snake’s passage. Because you turned off the tank water, you can pour water into the toilet with a bowl or bucket. Naturally, the snake will become more difficult to crank once you reach the clog.
When the plumber’s snake is no longer advancing, push and wiggle the wire back and forth to help loosen the blockage. Try not to be too aggressive, however, or you may harm your pipes. If the problem is accumulated gunk, pull the wire out periodically, clean off the end and reinsert the snake repeatedly until the pipe is cleared. To grab and pull out the obstruction, push the snake past it and then slowly pull it out. When you are unable to move it up, try to push it through with the snake or pull it out in pieces.
Once the clog is cleared from the pipe, remove the plumber’s snake and put things back the way they were. Turn the water back on and test that everything works. Use the sink, bathtub or toilet to see that the drains are functioning properly before you put the snake away.
Peace of Mind
Being able to fix simple problems is great, but sometimes the repairs require more than a plumber’s snake. In those cases, you will need a professional plumber. Having a protection plan by American Home Shield can help you confidently get the needed repairs done. With a warranty that covers home systems like plumbing, we help you avoid the exorbitant costs of home repair services.
Learn more about American Home Shield’s plumbing warranty.