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How to Use a Plumbing Snake

A clogged drain can be a real nuisance. Whether it’s your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or shower drain — you need the drain to perform correctly on a daily basis.

A plumber’s snake is a very useful tool when it comes to dealing with clogged drains. Courtesy of Radiant Plumbing, the leading source for drain replacement service in Lakeway, TX, and other nearby areas, here is a step-by-step guide for using a plumber’s snake the next time your drain is clogged!

Keep in mind, you can always call the experienced team here at Radiant — especially for major clogs or larger items.

1. Prep the Area

Start by grabbing a pair of gloves and a small towel. Be sure you have enough space in the area to move freely while working. Remove the drain valve from the sink or the overflow valve from the tub so that the opening is large enough for the auger (the drilling device at the end of the snake).

2. Feed the Snake into the Drain

Insert the end of the cable into the drain. Continue to hand-feed the cable into the drain as far as it will go until you feel resistance — this means you’ve reached a bend in the plumbing. Leave about 6” of cable showing between the drain and the snake housing or handle.

3. Crank the Handle

Once the end of the cable hits a turn in the plumbing or the blockage itself, turn the thumbscrew to lock it in place — this will keep the cable from retracting. Next, crank the handle to turn the drum, which will spin the cable and push the auger through the clog.

4. Apply Pressure to the Cable

Although you’ll want to avoid damaging any porcelain surfaces during snake usage, you will still need to apply sufficient pressure to drive the cable forward so that it doesn’t just spin in place. Apply steady pressure to the cable as you crank the handle.

5. Work the Thumbscrew

You’ll need to work the thumbscrew as you crank the handle and feed the cable deeper into the drain. To do so, crank the handle a few times while pushing forward. When you get closer to the drain, loosen the thumbscrew, pull out about 6” of cable, tighten the thumbscrew again, and resume cranking. Repeat this process as you feed the cable further into the drain.

6. Clear Out the Blockage

Once you reach the blockage, continue with the same method. The snake should grind through the clog; once the clog is removed, you should feel the tension release. When this happens, any water in the tub, sink, or toilet should drain. If you think you’ve cleared the blockage, but there is no standing water to let you know for sure, pour some water through the drain as a test.

7. Remove the Snake

To remove your snake, simply pull it back and allow it to rewind into the housing, or simply pull it out if there is no housing. To avoid injury, you might want to wear gloves or use a rag to grip the cable as you pull it out.

Of course, there’s no need to tackle this project alone. Leave it to the professionals at Radiant! To schedule an appointment for drain cleaning or air conditioning repair in Round Rock, TX, don’t hesitate to give our team a call today.

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