unclogged sink

How to Use a Plumbing Snake at Home

What happens if your clogged drain couldn’t be fixed with a plunger? No worries, there is another tool you can use at home that is a happy medium between common household plungers and the big guns. A plumbing snake is a flexible, long metal cable with a small uncoiled spring (or auger) on one end and a handle on the other.

Plumbers snakes work by entering the drain directly to physically find the source of the blockage and then clear it away. The auger of the snake looks similar to a corkscrew. Then, when you manually insert the auger into the drain, you begin uncoiling by rotating the handle. This will secure any obstruction in the drainage and help clear it out or pull it out.

Here is Everything You Need to Know When Using a Plumbing Snake:

  • Dress for the occasion. Depending on what drain you are trying to unclog, the job can get pretty messy. Layout some rags and/or old towels you don’t use, on the floor to protect your floors and be ready to get dirty. This is especially true if you’re having to unclog a sink where you may need to remove a sink’s p-trap.


  • You may need to remove the p-trap or p-bend of your drain located at the bottom of your sink. The p-trap is a curved component of the drain system whose main objective is to connect the sink drain to the main drain pipe but also aims to prevent sewer smells from entering your home. You can simply remove this drain (usually made out of plastic but can be metallic) manually by hand or by using an adjustable pipe wrench.


  • You want to begin by threading the head of your snake through the drain pipe. Avoid forcing the auger through the drain because this may damage the pipe in the process.


  • After you’ve inserted the snake, start uncoiling it by rotating the handle. Continue rotating and keep in mind to be as close to the pipe entrance as possible. You should uncoil with a steady pace, not too fast or too slow. If you feel resistance from the pipe, you’ve reached the obstruction that may be blocking your drain.


  • When you reach the clog, try breaking it up gently by rotating the auger through it. Make sure you don’t hit the pipe walls with the snake. Do you hear scraping? stop working until you readjust so that the snake is ONLY reaching the clog.
    If it feels like the snake is stuck on the clog, pull the snake out and inspect, it might bring the clog with it.

If You Weren’t Successful, Call the Experts!

We know that sometimes, no matter how hard we try we might not be able to get that clog! Fear not, call the experts at Quarter Moon Plumbing, AC/Heating at (210)651-5899. We are here to service you!