Tried everything to clear a clog in a sink or toilet and nothing has worked? Before you jump to a drain snake, be sure you know the different types and how to snake a drain. It’s also important to understand the potential for damaging your pipes if used incorrectly.
The Drain Snake
A drain snake has a long metal cable (usually between 25-50 feet) with a metal cone on the end, known as an auger.
You use a drain snake by feeding the end into the drain and pushing it through the drain line while turning a handle to keep the cable spinning inside the pipe.
The snake is flexible so it can bend through the pipe without getting stuck. When it reaches the obstruction, the twisting motion of the auger end hooks onto any clogs so they can be pulled back out of the drain.
When a plunger won’t do the job, the toilet auger is the next step up.
The toilet auger is a variation of the drain snake designed specifically for toilets and less likely to scratch the porcelain.
A hand crank enables a flexible cable to descend into your toilet and break up an obstruction.
Drain Snakes Can Damage Pipes
You may be wondering — can a drain snake break a pipe? While billed as devices that are easy to use by anyone and everyone, drain snakes can be hard to manage, and if used improperly, can damage pipes.
Old pipes in many homes are galvanized, or coated in zinc, which was done to prevent the pipe from rusting or corroding. When a drain snake is inserted into a pipe, the end may flop around, scratching the pipe.
If the operator isn’t completely confident in their ability to control the drain snake, they may apply too much force on the device. This is very easy to do if an electric drain snake is being used.
A drain snake used with too much force being can scratch a zinc pipe and damage the coating. This can lead to cracks or rusting in the pipes opening the door to a major problem in the future.
Drain Snakes Pose a Risk of Injury
A drain snake has a coiled wire, which harnesses a lot of energy when being used.
If used improperly, the tool can recoil at you at high speeds, creating the potential for serious injury. The risk is even higher when using a much more powerful electric drain snake.
Losing control of a drain snake is quite easy and could happen to anyone with little experience. Allowing an expert to operate the drain snake could save you from possible injury.
Drain Snakes Won’t Always Fix the Clog
While drain snakes can be very effective in clearing certain clogs, sometimes they can actually exacerbate a problem.
For example, if your pipes are old and corroded, sticking a drain snake down there can scrape off chunks of metal, making the clog much worse and damaging your pipe.
A skilled plumber will know how to diagnose a clog, and has the tools and expertise to apply the perfect fix to your situation.
Need help fixing a clogged toilet or drain? Contact the experts at Agentis. We’re ready to help.