Drains can get clogged for a variety of reasons—hair, grease, soap scum, and food particles are just some of the culprits. When a drain becomes clogged, it can cause water to back up into your sink, tub, or shower. If left unaddressed, a clogged drain can eventually lead to serious water damage. Snaking a drain is one way to clear a clog and restore proper drainage. But what does a drain snake do and how can you use one? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
Why Drains Clog
First, let’s look at why drains get clogged in the first place.
One of the most common things that can cause a drain to clog is hair. Hair can become tangled around objects in the drain, such as the stopper, and create a blockage. Additionally, hair can also shed into the drain and build up over time, eventually causing a clog.
2. Soap Scum
Soap scum is another common cause of clogged drains. Soap scum is created when soap mixes with hard water and forms a sticky residue. This residue can build up on the walls of the drain and eventually cause a blockage.
3. Grease and Oil
Grease and oil are also common causes of clogged drains. When grease and oil are poured down the drain, they can solidify and adhere to the walls of the pipe. Over time, this build-up can create a blockage that prevents water from flowing through the pipe.
4. Food Waste
Food waste is another common cause of clogged drains. When food is put down the garbage disposal or washed down the sink, it can become stuck in the drain and create a blockage. Additionally, food waste can attract pests, such as rats and cockroaches, which can further contribute to a clog.
5. Foreign Objects
Foreign objects, such as toys or jewelry, can also cause a drain to clog if they are flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink. These objects can become lodged in the drain and create a blockage that prevents water from flowing through.
Snaking a Drain – What You’ll Need
Before you begin snaking your drain, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. You’ll need a snake—also called a drain auger—a bucket, gloves, and eye protection. It’s also a good idea to have some rags on hand in case there is any spillage.
Once you have all of your supplies, put on your gloves and eye protection. Then, remove the stopper from your drain and place the bucket underneath the opening to catch any water that may spill out.
Feeding the Snake Into the Drain
To use a plumbing snake, slowly feed the snake into the drain until you feel resistance. This resistance is caused by the auger hitting the clog. Once you’ve hit the clog, start turning the handle in a clockwise direction to drill through the clog. As you turn the handle, continue feeding the snake into the drain until you’ve broken through the clog.
Clearing the Clog From the Snake
Once you’ve broken through the clog, begin pulling the snake out of the drain. As you pull it out, make sure to turn the handle in a counterclockwise direction to avoid getting tangled in the auger. Once you’ve removed all of the clogs from your drain, dispose of them properly and give your sink a good rinse with hot water.
Dealing with a clogged drain can be frustrating, but luckily there are ways to clear them without having to call a professional. Snaking a drain is one such method—it’s relatively simple and only requires a few supplies that you likely already have around your home. So next time your sink starts backing up, save yourself some money and clear that drain yourself!