Sometimes the pipes flowing down your kitchen or bathroom sink is so badly jammed that neither cleaning the trap nor using a plunger works to remove the impasse. Under such condition your final weapon is a plumbing snake. It is also called a drain snake or a drain auger.
What is a drain snake?
The tool looks like a coiled snake. It features a high-quality spring wire. The thickness of the wire can be about 1/4-inch. The handle is at one side of the string and the plunger works on the opposite way. You grip the tool tightly with the handle and push it further and further on to the obstruction. The snake is designed to reach through the tight bends. With continuous thrusting action, part of the clog breaks up and gets flushed through the drain. Part of it will be pulled out by the snake.
There are modern varieties of plumbing snakes that can be attached to an electric drill. This is to exert greater pressure on the clog. Drains snakes can reach clogs that have formed deeper down the drain. They are also free from the toxic effects of chemical drain cleaners. They can be used by homeowners and do not need the assistance of a professional plumber.
How to use a drain snake?
• Grip the snake tightly with its handle and push the other end into the drain opening. The snake is designed to go through the tight curve in the trap under the sink. You have to exert a bit of pressure to enable it bend round the curve. Once it passes the curve, it easily slides through the pipe, till it reaches the clog.
• Once your snake hits the clog, rotate it till you feel that it is moving freely through the pipe. The snake has broken the clog which has flushed through the drain. Part of it may come out with the auger. If the blockage itself is quite hard, the auger head gets entangled with it. In case you feel that it is not breaking through the blockage but twisting has become quite easy, pull it out. You are likely to pull the clog out with it.
• Run water at full force for a few minutes to be sure that the drain is unclogged.