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Unblock A Pipe With a Drain Snake in 5 Easy Steps

10 December

“I’ve tried everything, and I just can’t clear that blockage.” “Have you tried using a drain snake? Works every time!”

Plenty of people have had a conversation just like this, but their mind went blank when they heard the reference to a drain snake. No, it’s not a new species of our slithery foes that you might tread on in long grass. The drain snake is actually a very handy innovation that plumbers and homeowners both swear by for clearing stubborn pipe blockages.

Electric eel or drain snake?

Where it gets confusing is that there are different types of drain snake. One Google image search will depict a strange motored device on wheels, but this is more commonly known as a plumbers eel, a plumbing eel, or an electric eel.

However, the electric eel is really just the big brother to the more common hand-held drain snake Bunnings might stock on the shelves. The basic principle is the same with the run-of-the-mill drain snake and the heftier electric eel – and that basic principle is the flexible coils or cables that are wiggled down a drain to slash away at stubborn blockages.

What we are talking about in this article is the hand-held drain snake, which you should consider as the middle ground between using a plunger and calling in the blocked drain experts from Gold Coast Plumbing Company!

A warning about drain snakes

But first, a warning: if you’re not a fairly handy and confident DIY’er, it might be best to stay away from the plumbing snake. Yes, they’re great at unclogging drains. But get it wrong, and you could damage your pipes and create a much, much bigger problem.

To really understand the risk, you need to understand how a drain snake works. Basically, it’s a long flexible stretch of coiled cables with a handle or crank on one end and a corkscrew-like open spring on the other. It works by being inserted into the drain and then uncoiled with the handle – until eventually it reaches and breaks through whatever is causing the blockage.

So if you’re game, here’s how to use a drain snake:

1. Insert the drain snake

To make the plumbing snake do its magic, you’ll need to manually feed the end of it into the pipe or drain. If it’s stubborn, don’t force it because the head of your drain snake is designed to do some serious work.

2. Uncoil the snake

Use the handle to start unravelling the coil so that it goes deeper and deeper into the pipe. Don’t do your unwinding too fast or too slowly, but when you feel a little resistance, don’t freak out – you might have reached the point of the blockage.

3. Attack the blockage

If you’re pretty sure you have reached the blockage, wind the handle forwards a little bit and then backwards a little bit – and repeat this process over and over. This action will help to break up the blockage, but if you hear noises in the pipe that sound unusual or harsh, you may be attacking the actual pipe – so back off a little and try again.

4. Complete the process

Once the back-and-forth handle winding has been done for a while and you no longer feel any resistance, the blockage is probably now clear. Wind the drain snake back up, being particularly careful when the head reaches the top of the pipe once again.

5. Call in the professionals

How’s your drain? Is that water going down perfectly now? If so, well done – you’re a real pro at this drain snake business!

If you still have a blockage, there’s only one thing left to do – call in the professionals from Gold Coast Plumbing Company. Our plumbers are all fully qualified, insured, friendly, and ready to tackle any type of blockage or plumbing problem – big or small. Call today and ask about our lifetime workmanship guarantee. Happy drain snaking!

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