Using A Plumber's Snake

Everything You Need To Know About Using A Plumber’s Snake

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

A plumber’s snake, also known as an auger, drain snake, or plumbing snake, is a tool used by plumbers to clear clogs and blockages from drains and pipes. The history of the plumbing snake dates back to the early 20th Century when indoor plumbing became more prevalent in households. Prior to the invention of the plumbing snake, plumbers used a variety of other methods to clear clogs, including using hooks, hand augers, and pumps. However, these methods were often labor-intensive and not very effective.

One Of The Greatest Inventions In The Plumbing Industry

In 1933, Samuel Blanc, a San Francisco-based plumber, invented the first electric drain snake, revolutionizing the plumbing industry. Blanc’s invention was a motorized version of the traditional hand-cranked auger, which could easily clear clogs and blockages from pipes. Over the years, the drain snake has undergone various improvements and modifications, including the addition of specialized heads for different types of pipes and drains. 

Today, there are many different types of plumbing snakes available, ranging from small handheld models to large motorized versions that can clear even the toughest blockages. Overall, the history of the plumbing snake is one of innovation and evolution. Plumbers have continuously sought to improve their tools and techniques for keeping pipes and drains clear and functional.

Everything You Need To Know About Using A Plumber's Snake

Can A Plumber’s Snake Cause Injury?

Yes, a drain snake can cause injury if not used properly. While a drain snake is a relatively safe and effective tool for clearing clogs and blockages from drains and pipes, it can be dangerous if not handled correctly. First, when using a drain snake, wear gloves and eye protection to prevent injuries from flying debris or splashing water, especially if you have previously used a drain remover. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the appropriate size and type of snake for the job.

Safety First When Using A Plumbing Snake

Suppose the snake gets stuck or encounters a particularly stubborn blockage. In that case, stop and seek professional help rather than continuing to force the snake, which can cause damage to pipes and potentially injure the user. In addition, using a drain snake is only recommended for individuals who are trained or experienced in doing so. Improper use can result in injury or damage to the plumbing system.

In summary, a drain snake can cause injury if used improperly or without taking proper safety precautions. Therefore, use the tool carefully and with caution. If you are unsure about how to use a drain snake or encounter a particularly difficult blockage, seek professional help. 

When the household plunger cannot do the trick, then a plumber’s snake is brought in to tackle the clog. They have much more power than drain cleaners or a plunger. Remember, as mentioned above, they have risks attached to them, so learn how to use them properly. A plumber’s snake is a great tool. When used correctly, can save you a few bucks by removing the clog yourself. 

Are there Different Types Of Drain Snakes?

There are many different types of drain snakes available, each designed for specific purposes and types of clogs. However, here are some of the most common types of drain snakes:

  1. Handheld Drain Snakes: These are the most basic type of drain snake and typically get used for simple clogs in small drains.
  2. Drum Augers: These are electric-powered drain snakes that feature a rotating drum that holds the cable. Drum augers are typically used for larger pipes and tougher clogs.
  3. Sectional Drain Snakes: These are drain snakes made up of individual sections that can be assembled or disassembled depending on the length of the pipe.
  4. Closet Augers: These plumber’s snakes are specifically designed to clear toilet clogs. They feature a protective coating to prevent damage to the toilet bowl.
  5. Flat Tape Drain Snakes: These are flat, ribbon-like drain snakes used for clearing smaller, flexible pipes, such as those found in sinks and showers.
  6. Power Drain Snakes: These are powerful, electric-powered drain snakes that professional plumbers typically use to clear large or tough clogs.

These are just a few of the most common plumber’s snakes available. The specific type of drain snake needed will depend on the type of clog and the size and type of pipe being worked on.

Save Yourself A Few Bucks And DIY

If you’re renting a snake at the rental yard, give them the details so they can give you the correct-sized snake for your application. In most cases, A 50-foot snake is what you’ll need to handle the do-it-yourself clogs around the house. It comes complete with a corkscrew-type bit attached to a flexible metal cable. It will be hand-operated with a rotatable handle.

Wear Gloves And Cover Yourself Correctly When You Unclog Your Drain

Assuming the obstruction is in a toilet drain, prepare the area around the toilet first. Old towels work great. It’s a messy job, so make sure you wear gloves and cover yourself correctly. Next, gently place the end of the snake down the toilet bowl, applying little pressure. The bit at the end of the snake will start breaking up the clog once it makes contact with the obstruction. Next, continue to turn the handle on your plumber’s snake while applying natural pressure.

Let The Plumber’s Snake Do The Work, Apply Easy Pressure

Too much pressure will cause the obstacle to move further down the drain. The purpose of the snake is to break up the clog. You can also pull your cable out to remove anything that’s gathered at the end, clear off anything attached, and reenter the snake — always turn the crank handle clockwise when in contact with the object until the drains are clear. You can apply the same principles to any clogged drains. In some cases, a smaller drain pipe will require an appropriately sized snake. Need a plumber? Call Big B’s Plumbing today, license #986152

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What People Are Saying...

I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
Read More on Google My Business


Vill M

Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
Read More on Google My Business


Jeremy T

Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
Read More on Google My Business


Crystal M

Call Today!
Your Plumber For Life!

Contractors License #986152

Scroll to Top