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The ABCs of Plumbing – What’s a Drain Snake?

When a kitchen sink, toilet, bathtub drain or main sewer line becomes clogged one of the most popular tools for clearing blockage from a pipe is a drain snake, also called a plumber’s snake or pipe snake. A hand drain snake is a thin, flexible auger with a crank handle or motor at one end and a metal wire with a splayed gap between the coils at the other end. The auger is inserted into the drain and turned to physically remove debris that would typically be too stubborn for a plunger to clear.

Other types of drain snakes used by plumbers include drum augers and roto rooters. These are powered augers should be used carefully to avoid damaging the pipe, especially when cleaning out PVC piping.

Snaking a Toilet

When a plunger is not effective at clearing a toilet clog, a toilet auger should be used instead of a standard drain snake. A regular drain snake can damage the toilet by scraping the porcelain bowl. A toilet auger is designed to pass through the toilet trap and is more rigid, which will prevent it from looping back when it hits an obstruction.

Other drains that can be cleared with a drain snake include:

  • Main drain
  • Sewer main line
  • Bathtub drains (usually through the overflow drain)
  • Shower drains
  • Washing machine drains
  • Kitchen drains
  • Bathroom sink drains

Have questions about clearing drains in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we can help with all your sewer and drain cleaning needs.

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