Whether it’s a clog in your kitchen sink or a backup in your shower drain, a blockage can quickly ruin your day. The last thing you want to do is spend hours trying to get your plumbing to function again. You can become an expert at removing pipe-clogging material with a few basic tools, tried-and-true procedures, and a little practice.
First, Know Your Drainage System
Your drainage system can be unique to the house it is in. Some houses or lots were built at a time and with materials that may not be in use or allowed today. There can also be a combination of drainage systems on one property. The two main types of drainage systems are:
- Surface drainage
- Subsurface drainage
Surface drainage is what you see on the ground or what drains water off of the ground. This includes French drains, swales, gutters, and downspouts. Surface drainage systems are designed to handle a certain amount of water. For example, during a rainstorm, a residential drainage system may be overwhelmed if too much water falls.
Subsurface drainage systems are designed to operate below the surface of the land. These are meant to be unseen and hidden from vehicles and pedestrians. The purpose of a subsurface drainage system is to collect and convey water on the ground and send it elsewhere without anyone noticing. French drains, catch basins, underground pipes, and culverts are all common subsurface drainage infrastructure.
Each of these types of drainage can be snaked, either by the owner or with the help of a professional to remove blockages. Homes use a combination of indoor surface and subsurface drainage made with unique materials and components from the time of their installation. Unclogging indoor drainage will require understanding the basic functioning of these.
5 Tips To Snake Your Own Drain
In order to avoid clogs, you need to be proactive in preventing your drain from getting stuffed. Here are five tips on how to keep the water flowing freely by keeping the sink free of debris:
1) Keep the drain clear of hair and debris.
2) Don’t use a chemical to unclog your household drains- they’re not always effective and just make things worse.
3) Wrap garbage bags around any objects that fit by pouring water into them- this prevents anything from getting stuck up there.
4) Let it all flow down slowly rather than gushing out at once by turning off other sinks in your home or building if you can’t do both.
5) Select tools based on what works best for the drain.
Follow this DIY advice to learn how to snake your own drain and unclog your blocked drain in no time!
For more information, see How To Snake A Kitchen Drain.
When Is It Necessary To Snake Your Own Drain?
When you have a plumbing issue, knowing how to snake your own drain is essential. A drain snake, also known as a hand auger, is a gadget that is used to unclog blocked drains in smaller drains like the bathroom or kitchen sink. A bigger toilet auger may be required for larger pipes, such as your toilet.
Food, hair, and soap scum may quickly block your smaller drains in the drainpipe or the u-shaped trap just under the sink. The majority of these obstructions are small and may be resolved with a simple snake drain repair. If the blockage seems solid and cannot be removed with the snake drain, or if the drain trap and pipes were clean despite the plugged drain, you may have a more severe plumbing issue that should be left to a professional plumber.
How To Snake Your Own Drain: Five Pointers
Follow these steps to snake your own drain and you’ll be an expert at resolving your own plumbing issues with a drain snake in no time!
The most critical equipment you’ll need to snake your own drain is, of course, a drain snake. However, if the blockage seems tiny, you may not want to invest the money in such a gadget. If you find yourself in this situation, a coat hanger from the closet could just do the trick. Simply dismantle the coat hanger into a long, somewhat straight strip. Keep the original hook shape on the end, however; it’ll be useful for capturing any dirt far down in the drain. However, you may want to make the hook a little smaller so that it fits correctly down the pipe.
If you’re dealing with a much more serious blockage, a clothes hanger is probably not going to cut it. As already said. A drain snake will be required. A 3/8-inch, 20-foot-long model should be enough for most applications. If your local hardware shop just has a 1/4 in, this will almost certainly be enough. Pick up a plastic bucket to fit beneath your drain, as well as a flashlight and rubber gloves, while you’re at the shop.
How to Use a Drain Snake Correctly
Many people believe that since the equipment is so basic, they may use it any way they want and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to using a drain snake. This is just not the case. The greatest outcomes will be obtained by following a precise process.
First, if your drain is blocked by a tub screen or a hair trap, pull it out of the way. After that, carefully insert the snake cable into the drain while turning the handle clockwise. If you’re having trouble pushing (perhaps due to the plugged drain), try gripping the handle with both hands. Alter your grasp while lowering the “snake” mechanism until it’s approximately two or three inches from the drain’s mouth; this will enable you to manage your movements and obtain a better understanding of the clog’s nature.
You may hear a lot of scraping on your approach down to the blockage, or it may seem that the wire has struck a wall. You’re approaching a bend in the pipe at this point; just keep pushing beyond it.
You’ve reached the specific obstacle that has been causing you troubles in your pipe when you sense a large amount of resistance. When compared to the resistance of the pipe itself, which should not give way at all, the clog should give way only a smidgeon.
The next step is to attempt to catch the blockage. While continuing to crank the cable clockwise, gently pull up to check if any debris has caught a hold of you. If done properly, you should feel a little extra weight on the auger. After that, continue prodding the substance to start breaking it up. After a while, you should be able to poke your way through the other end. If you can’t get a hole through the blockage, it’s possible that it’s a solid item that you first caught.
To avoid losing the blockage caught on the drain snake, slowly pull it out of the drain. After that, wipe the debris off the snake as it emerges from the drain using a towel. Fill the bucket with the extra debris. Pull as much of the blockage out as you can until the snake is free!
Make Use Of Hot Water
If the drain is still blocked, running hot water through it is an excellent idea. Fill a standard-sized tea kettle halfway with water and heat on the burner until it reaches nearly boiling temperature. Pour the hot water down the drain slowly. It may take a few seconds to flush away the clog’s leftovers, but it should start to slow down soon using this procedure.
If you have a blockage in your shower drain, you may be wondering why you can’t simply turn on the hot water. The issue is that, apart from the fact that shower water seldom gets this hot, showerheads rarely can shoot straight down the drain and at a close enough distance to be genuinely effective. The tea kettle water must still be poured straight into the shower drain, just like any other drain.
You might notice the water is not getting hot, in that case, you may need to adjust the water heater. For more, see How to Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature Quickly and Safely.
Use a Homemade Mixture
If almost boiling hot water doesn’t appear to be working, try mixing half a cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar in hot water and pouring it down the drain to see what happens. Allow fifteen minutes for it to sit. If you’re ready to part with a few of your basic baking ingredients, this approach is proven to be incredibly efficient, so give it a go!
Chemicals Should Be Used
You may always try the chemical technique to unclog a drain as the last option. Caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide) is a poisonous chemical that may destroy the majority of the waste that ends up in your drainpipe. Fill a mop bucket halfway with cold water, then add three cups of caustic soda. The liquid will quickly begin to bubble if you stir it well. After that, pour it down the blocked drain and wait 20-30 minutes before flushing it with hot water – repeat as needed.
When Should You Hire A Professional Plumber For Drain Clogs?
Have you tried everything on this list and still have a plugged drain? Don’t be dismayed if none of these ideas seem to be effective for you. It might be a challenging blockage that no amount of do-it-yourself can clear. It’s now time to hire a professional plumber to unclog your blocked drain and get it operating again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I snake my own drain?
What is the best way to snake a drain?
A: If you’re looking for a way to snake a drain, using the right tools and elbow grease is the best option.
How do you unclog a drain if a snake doesn’t work?
A: A snake will not work in this situation, so you need to find something that does. You can use a pole or broom handle with soap on it and slide it down the drain as well.
Snaking your own drain is a skill that can save you a lot of money and time. However, if you cannot use this method, you can try others. Contact a plumbing professional for more assistance if needed.
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