Choosing the Best Plumbing Snake: A Comprehensive Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Plumbing Snakes

Have you ever experienced a stubborn clog in your drains that just won't go away no matter how much you try to unclog it? This is where a plumbing snake comes to the rescue. A plumbing snake, also known as a drain snake or auger, is a versatile tool designed to clear clogs in drains and pipes. In this article, we will explore the different types of plumbing snakes, the features to consider when choosing one, how to use a plumbing snake effectively, common mistakes to avoid, and tips on maintenance and care. So, let's dive in and learn everything you need to know about plumbing snakes!

Types of Plumbing Snakes:

There are various types of plumbing snakes available in the market, each designed for specific applications. Understanding the different types can help you choose the right one for your needs.

1. Electric Plumbing Snakes: Electric plumbing snakes are powerful tools that are commonly used by professional plumbers. These snakes are equipped with a motor that rotates the cable, making it easier to clear tough clogs. They are ideal for large-scale plumbing projects and can handle heavy-duty clogs in main sewer lines or commercial buildings.

2. Manual Plumbing Snakes: Manual plumbing snakes, also known as hand snakes or hand augers, are operated by hand-cranking the cable. These snakes are more suitable for small to medium-sized jobs such as clogs in bathroom or kitchen drains. They are cost-effective and easy to use, making them a popular choice for DIY homeowners.

To clear out the toughest clogs in your drains, consider using the best plumbing snake, as per industry recommendations.

Types of Plumbing Snakes

Electric plumbing snakes are powerful tools used by professional plumbers. They have a motor that rotates the cable for clearing tough clogs. They are ideal for large-scale plumbing projects and can handle heavy-duty clogs in main sewer lines or commercial buildings.

Manual plumbing snakes, also known as hand snakes or hand augers, are operated by hand-cranking the cable. They are suitable for small to medium-sized jobs such as clogs in bathroom or kitchen drains. They are cost-effective and easy to use, making them a popular choice for DIY homeowners.

Drain augers are specialized plumbing snakes designed specifically for clearing clogs in drains. They have a flexible cable with a hooked or corkscrew-like auger at the end, which grabs onto the clog and allows you to pull it out. These snakes are versatile and can clear various types of clogs in different drain sizes.

Toilet augers, as the name suggests, are designed specifically for clearing clogs in toilets. They have a longer handle and a shorter, thicker cable to navigate through the curved trap of the toilet. Toilet augers are essential tools for dealing with stubborn toilet clogs that cannot be cleared with a plunger.

Features to Consider

When choosing a plumbing snake, there are several important features to consider:

Cable length: The length of the cable determines how far the snake can reach into the drain or pipe. It's essential to choose a snake with a cable long enough to reach the clog without any difficulty.

Cable diameter: The diameter of the cable affects its ability to handle different types of clogs. Thicker cables are better suited for tougher clogs, while thinner cables are more suitable for smaller drains.

Handle ergonomics: Comfortable handle ergonomics can make a significant difference in how easy it is to operate the snake. Look for a snake with a handle design that provides a firm grip and reduces hand fatigue during extended use.

Durability: Plumbing snakes undergo rigorous use, so it's important to choose a model made from durable materials that can withstand repeated use without losing effectiveness.

Compatibility with different drain sizes: Ensure that the plumbing snake you choose is compatible with the drain sizes you commonly encounter. Some snakes come with interchangeable cable tips to accommodate different drain sizes.

Warranty: Check if the plumbing snake comes with a warranty to protect your investment in case of any defects or malfunctions.

How to Use a Plumbing Snake

1. Identifying the clogged drain: Determine the location of the clogged drain by observing which fixtures are affected. This will help you decide where to start using the snake.

2. Preparing the snake: Extend the cable of the plumbing snake fully and lock it in place. Attach any necessary tips or attachments for your specific job.

3. Inserting the snake: Carefully insert the snake into the drain opening, pushing it through until you encounter resistance from the clog.

4. Rotating and maneuvering the snake: Start rotating the cable by hand or using the motor for electric snakes. The rotation helps break up the clog and allows the snake to navigate through the pipes. Use gentle back-and-forth motions to maneuver the snake around bends and obstacles.

5. Clearing the clog: Continue to rotate and push the snake until you feel the resistance of the clog releasing. If the clog is stubborn, you may need to apply more force or try different techniques like pulling the clog out with the auger tip.

6. Cleaning and storing the snake: After clearing the clog, clean the cable thoroughly with a disinfectant solution or wipe it down with a cloth. Properly coil and store the snake in a dry, clean area to prevent damage or contamination.

Common Plumbing Snake Mistakes

1. Using the wrong type of snake: It's important to use the appropriate type of plumbing snake for the job at hand. Using the wrong snake can damage pipes or fail to clear the clog effectively.

2. Not wearing protective gloves: When handling a plumbing snake, it's crucial to wear protective gloves to prevent injury and minimize contact with potentially harmful substances.

3. Not following proper safety precautions: Always follow safety guidelines when using a plumbing snake. This includes wearing protective eyewear, securing loose clothing, and avoiding sudden movements that may cause injury.

4. Being too aggressive with the snake: While it may be tempting to use excessive force, being too aggressive with the snake can damage pipes or cause the cable to get stuck in the drain.

5. Not properly cleaning the snake after use: Failure to clean the snake after use can lead to buildup and contamination, reducing its effectiveness and potentially causing future clogs.

Maintenance and Care

Regular maintenance and care can prolong the life of your plumbing snake and ensure its optimal performance. Here are some important maintenance tips:

1. Cleaning the cable: After each use, clean the cable with a disinfectant solution to remove any residue or build-up. This will prevent odors and ensure the snake remains hygienic.

2. Inspecting for damage: Regularly inspect the cable and other parts of the snake for signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn-out or damaged parts to maintain the effectiveness of the snake.

3. Replacing worn-out parts: Over time, the cable, auger, or other parts of the snake may become worn-out or damaged. Replace these parts as needed to ensure optimal performance.

Using a plumbing snake offers several benefits when it comes to clearing clogs and maintaining your plumbing system:

Benefits of Using a Plumbing Snake

1. Effective removal of stubborn clogs: Plumbing snakes can clear clogs that are difficult to remove with conventional methods like plungers or chemicals. They have the power and reach to break up clogs and remove them completely.

2. Avoiding costly plumbing repairs: Regularly using a plumbing snake to clear clogs can help prevent more significant plumbing issues down the line. By addressing clogs early on, you can avoid costly repairs and damage to your pipes.

3. Preserving the integrity of pipes: Unlike chemical drain cleaners that may corrode or damage pipes, plumbing snakes provide a safe and non-invasive way to clear clogs. They remove clogs without harming the pipes, preserving their integrity.

4. Saves time compared to other methods: Clearing clogs with a plumbing snake is often quicker than using other methods. With the right technique, you can remove clogs in a matter of minutes, saving you time and effort.

In conclusion, a plumbing snake is a valuable tool for clearing stubborn clogs in drains and pipes. Understanding the different types of plumbing snakes, considering the important features, and knowing how to use and maintain them properly will ensure successful clog removal and a properly functioning plumbing system. So, the next time you encounter a clogged drain, reach for a plumbing snake and say goodbye to those pesky clogs!