A drain snake is a powerful tool in the hands of an experienced professional. Although amateurs may be daunted by an auger or snake, here’s a look at how a plumber can use a snake to clean your drains.
The Snake Basics:
A drain snake
is based on a simple principle and can be very effective at clearing tough clogs that are blocking your drains. While hydro jetting has become popular in recent years, there are still some scenarios where a drain snake is the better option. Hydro jetting involves using a complex machine to blast high pressure water into the pipe. This force can remove any debris, but it can also cause damage if your pipe is already cracked.
There are two basic types of drain snake; manual and motored. The basic principle of how the snake operates remains the same, but while a manual one is hand cranked, a motorized one has an electric power source. The snake has a long coil of wires that are attached to a crank. These metal wires are incredibly flexible, allowing them to “snake” down all the curved pipes in your drain. Your plumber will run the end of the snake down into your drain pipe until it reaches the clog. The snake is then cranked so that the wires screw into the clog. This is like using a corkscrew to pull the cork from a bottle of wine. As the coil becomes embedded in the clog, it can either be broken up by moving the snake wires around, or it can be pulled back to remove it out of the drain.
Some models of drain snake have a variety of attachments meant for different types of clogs. An experienced plumber determines the attachment that will work best and whether a manual auger will suffice or if they will need to use a motorized snake.
Why You Should Leave the Drain Snake to the Professionals:
If you have been at your local hardware store, you may have seen drain snakes offered for sale. Although it is tempting to buy one and avoid calling out a plumber, there are some reasons why it should be left to the professionals
. The main reason why you should not attempt drain snaking yourself is that without training you could actually cause further damage to your pipes. An experienced plumber has a feel for the amount of force that is needed to safely remove or break up a clog. If you are too gentle, that clog won’t go anywhere, but if you are too heavy handed, you could end up cracking the drain pipe. So, while it is tempting to try and save a few bucks by investing in a drain snake for your DIY kit, it could be a very costly mistake.
If you have slow running or blocked drains, a drain snake is an effective way to get the water flowing again. In the hands of an experienced professional, this powerful tool can quickly restore function to your drains and remove the risk of flooding.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.