How and When to Snake Your Own Drain

December 6, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

Clogged pipes can be a big hassle. Even if you do everything right and are mindful about what you put down your drains, blockages can still occur. Fixing it yourself is possible, but like any do-it-yourself home project, it has the potential to go awry.

You may be wondering, “Can I snake my own drain?” The answer is, yes—with conditions. You should do research and be careful. Can a drain snake break a pipe? It can certainly damage your pipes, though it might not break them. You could also injure yourself if you’re not careful, so do consider having a professional snake your pipes.

This article will cover how and when you can snake your own drain.

When to snake your own drain

Snaking your own drain shouldn’t be your first choice for just any plumbing clog you’re having. Using a drain snake (also called a hand auger) should only be used for minor clogs on smaller pipes.

Clogs in your kitchen or bathroom sinks can be tackled with a drain snake, while your toilets’ pipes might require something bigger. If the clog is solid or located deeper inside your pipes than you can reach, then it’s time to call a plumber. Read on to learn how to snake your own drain.

Find the right tool

You can make your own drain snake by using a coat hanger, pipe cleaners or cutting a 2-liter bottle into a spiral with teeth on it—but investing in a drain snake from a home improvement store is likely your best bet. Look for a drain snake that’s 3/8 of an inch and 20 feet long. A ¼-inch drain snake would likely work too.

Prepare and insert the drain snake

Before you begin, you should put on some rubber gloves and safety goggles. Make sure you grab a bucket too. Then feed the drain snake into the pipe slowly. Wait until it’s a few inches into the pipe, and then gently begin turning the handle.

Find the obstruction

Continue cranking the snake. As the snake gets deeper, you might have to use more force, turning the handle or jiggling the wire a little bit. Eventually, the snake will reach the obstruction, which is the whole goal.

The tip of the snake rotates and should either break up the clog or grab ahold of it. If the clog is solid, the snake would ideally pierce it and hook onto it. Once it hits the clog, turn it a few more times to ensure that you’ll grab it. Shimmy the wire a bit, and prepare to pull the snake back out.

Pull the snake and clog out

Once the snake is fully inserted into the drain, you’ll need to turn the crank the opposite way to pull it back out. Do this carefully, and the clog should come out either whole or in various pieces. Remove the debris that caused the clog from the snake, and run water to see if your drain is clear. If the drain is still clogged, repeat the process.

Call for your professional drain snake today

Can a drain snake break a pipe? It can definitely damage it. “Can I snake my own drain?” you ask. Yes, you can—but if you’d like an expert to snake your drain, call us at Orchard Plumbing, where we can have your sinks and toilets draining how they’re supposed to in no time.

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