Drain snake

Your Guide to Using a Drain Snake

Has your trusty drain betrayed you with a sluggish flow or a full-blown stoppage? Before you panic and reach for the phone, consider the mighty drain snake, a plumbing hero often overlooked in the arsenal of DIY solutions. This flexible, snake-like cable can be your first line of defense against pesky clogs, saving you time, money, and the potential for messy plumbing interventions.

What is a Drain Snake?

Imagine a long, thin metal cable with a corkscrew-like tip at the end. That’s a drain snake, also known as a plumbing snake or auger. It’s designed to navigate the twists and turns of your pipes, reaching deep into the belly of the beast to snag and dislodge whatever’s causing the blockage. Think of it as a plumber’s spelunker, venturing into the underworld of your pipes to bring back the flow.

Types of Drain Snakes

  • Closet flange snake: This short, compact snake tackles clogs in easily accessible drains like sinks and bathtubs.
  • Drum snake: This longer, more powerful snake is ideal for deeper clogs in toilets, sewer lines, and floor drains.
  • Power Auger: This heavy-duty snake, often used by professionals, features a motorized head for tackling particularly stubborn blockages.
Denver Emergency Plumbing professional using a drain snake in a commercial environment.

How to Use a Drain Snake

Using a drain snake is surprisingly simple, even for DIY novices. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate the access point: For most drains, you’ll find an opening beneath the sink or toilet. For sewer lines, you might need a clean-out access point outside your house.
  2. Insert the snake: Gently push the snake into the drain, feeding it slowly and carefully. Turn the handle (if your snake has one) to rotate the auger and break up the clog.
  3. Feel for the clog: You’ll feel resistance when you hit the obstruction. Keep feeding the snake until you’re past it.
  4. Pull out the clog: Once you’ve snagged the culprit, slowly pull the snake back, removing the debris with it.
  5. Flush the drain: Run hot water for a few minutes to clear any remaining debris and ensure the drain is flowing freely.

Tips for Success

  • Wear gloves and eye protection for safety.
  • Use the right type of snake for the job.
  • Don’t force the snake; let it work its way through the clog.
  • If you encounter a tough clog, consider calling Denver Emergency Plumbing.

Benefits of Using a Drain Snake:

  • Cost-effective: A drain snake is a relatively inexpensive tool compared to calling a plumber.
  • Convenient: You can handle most minor clogs yourself, saving you time and hassle.
  • Environmentally friendly: Drain snakes avoid the use of harsh chemicals, making them a greener solution.
  • Empowering: It’s a satisfying feeling to conquer a clog yourself and restore your plumbing flow.

The humble drain snake is a powerful tool that can save you from major plumbing woes. By understanding its types, how to use it, and its benefits, you can become a clog-conquering hero in your own home. So, the next time your drain throws you a curveball, remember the mighty snake and give it a try!


Denver Emergency Plumbing technician using a drain snake to clear a residential clog.