What Does A Drain Snake Do?

So you have a clog. Be it in your kitchen sink or your bathtub, a backed drain isn’t fun for anyone. Many things can cause a blockage in your drains — from something like food waste or soap scum to an incidental tree root or buildup of natural minerals.

Plumbers will use different methods depending on what’s creating your clog. If it’s a softer blockage, you’ll likely have the best luck with a drain auger, otherwise known as a “drain snake.” But you may be curious — what does a drain snake do? And where can you find a provider in Springdale, AR, to clean your drains when they back up?

What is a Drain Snake? 

A plumbing snake is, to put it simply, a long and flexible cable with a handle on one end and a small, wide spring on the other. Drain snakes come in various sizes depending on their use, but most of them tend to be pretty long — around fifty feet in some cases. 

They come in either electric or manual versions, with a rotatable handle extending or pulling back the cable. These augers work by being fed into the drain until they contact and eventually break through the clog. While how that happens may sound simple, it requires a certain degree of finesse.

How to Use a Drain Snake

Snaking a drain can be messy work even when done well so that needs to be addressed ahead of time. The plumber in question may choose to remove the P-trap, the curved section of pipe that connects the sink to the rest of your home’s plumbing. 

Or they might remove the trap arm, the piping between the p-trap and the wall pipe. In either case, the obstruction may make itself apparent without the need for further work. If it doesn’t, snaking is the next option.

The plumber will start by feeding the auger head into the pipe. If they choose not to remove the trap, they’ll likely run cold water to help the process. They uncoil the snake with as little slack as possible, rotating at a consistent pace until they feel the pressure that indicates they’ve reached the blockage.

Once they hit the clog in question, they will rotate the head up and down and from side to side. The goal is to break up the blockage without scraping the auger against the surface of the pipe. Once they feel no more resistance, they’re free to pull out the snake and re-assemble any parts they may have removed in the beginning.

With the sink put back together again, the obstruction should’ve successfully been removed. If it hasn’t been, it’s possible to try this method over again from the beginning. However, like other forms of drain cleaning, snaking can damage your plumbing if done too often.

Can I Snake My Drain Myself?

After reading this far, you may be wondering whether you can buy your own drain snake and tackle your clog on your own. The answer will differ slightly depending on who you ask. In our professional opinion, we say that while you technically can, you probably shouldn’t. 

We say this for several reasons. A big factor is that a drain snake, while basic in theory, is a fairly complex tool to use without the right training. Not to mention it comes in several forms — like the top snake, the mini-rooter, and a toilet auger, to name a few. 

If you use the wrong version or operate the snake incorrectly, you run the very real risk of injury to yourself and damage to your plumbing.

A professional has the equipment needed to see your clog and know what needs to be done to clear it. If you’re a household in or around Springdale, AR, you’ll find the best drain cleaning comes from Stith Plumbing & HVAC.

Stith Plumbing & HVAC for “Plumbers Near Me”

Since 1965 we’ve been offering plumbing and HVAC services for residential and commercial properties around Arkansas. We’ve spent over half a century treating clients with the utmost respect, showing up on time, and employing plumbers with the highest degree of experience and training that you can find in our area.

You don’t need to take the gamble of clearing a drain yourself. Save the time, save the money, and circumvent the trouble by seeking a professional’s handiwork. Whether you’re in Springdale, AR, or nearby Lowell or Tontitown — call Stith Plumbing & HVAC for your drain cleaning to get the service you deserve.