Unclogging Drains with a Sewer Snake

Everyone has encountered a clogged drain that was next to impossible to clear. A lot of times you may be able to pour some hot water down the drain, and your problems will slowly slide away down a never ending maze of pipes. If that doesn’t work, you might up your game and send some harsh chemicals with the hopes that they will erode away the offending substance clogging your drain, and bust through to the other side. If that doesn’t work, you may find yourself up a creek and without a paddle… or are you? Enter the sewer snake.

What is this mysterious sewer snake that I speak of? Is this the answer to even the toughest clogged drains… A sewer snake is simply a long hose that can “snake” it’s way through the bends of pipes to help clear away any clogs in the pipe. A typical sewer snake has an auger at one end with a hand crank or some power mechanism on the other end. It is used to drill through the obstruction and break it apart to remove it from the drain.

For typical home use, you shouldn’t need an expensive motorized drain auger. Usually a hand crank auger is sufficient for the job, but there’s a really neat design out there – the Cobra Power Drain Clearing Drum Auger. This nifty device is a combination manual crank and motorized system. Simply hook up a power drill to it, and you have yourself a motorized drum auger, no manual cranking necessary. For the price of this little tool, you can save the hefty fees a plumber would charge you to clear out your drain. Why spend $100 bucks or more on a plumber, when you can experience the satisfaction of doing the job yourself for a mere fraction of the cost. Using the cobra drum auger will pay itself five times over on the first use you avoided the plumber. It’s capable of clearing pipes out 25 feet down… more than sufficient for most household drains.

Sometimes it’s helpful to lay eyes on the clog. In situations such as this, you’d want to strongly consider using a drain inspection camera equipped with a camera on the end of a snake in order to locate the clog in the pipe. It’s a nifty little tool that will come in handy on more than one occasion.

So how do you use a sewer snake… well, don’t forget the gloves as cleaning out a clog can get messy. Having towels and buckets nearby will help to minimize the mess you’re about to make. Remember that the goal of the sewer snake is to drill through the clog and then to use the auger to pull back the debris in order to prevent a clog from forming further down the pipe. That means you’re pulling the debris out – a couple towels on the ground and a bucket is where you should put this debris. The actual motion you’ll want to do is to use the crank to cause the snake to traverse the pipe. You’ll feel it when you finally hit the clog as it will be difficult to push any further. When this happens you’ll want to drill through, pull back a little bit, and then proceed to work the auger forward again. Doing this will help to break up the clog. After it feels as if you’ve broken through the clog, try to pull the debris back through the pipe and out of the drain.

That should be about it. It’s not the cleanest of jobs, but it’s not the hardest either. If using a drain auger fails to clear the pipe, then you might have a bigger problem on your hands. This is where a sewer camera comes in handy to see what you’re up against. Barring that you may want to try calling a plumber because you may need some heavier duty tools to clear it out. Don’t give up though because a clogged drain is not hopeless.

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