plumber using a drain snake

Some clogs are too challenging for a plunger to clear, and when this happens, some may think it is a good idea to reach for a drain snake and try to clean out the drain themselves. It can seem like an easy fix, but when an amateur attempts to fix the issue by themselves, it often leads to even bigger problems. There are several reasons why snaking a drain should be left to the drain-snaking experts at Plumbing by Jake.

If you have a clog that requires a drain snake, call the expert plumbers at Plumbing by Jake. We can evaluate the problem and make recommendations to remove the clog and get the water flowing again.

What Is a Drain Snake?

Sometimes referred to as a plumber’s snake, a drain snake is a long cable with a sharp or hooked tip used to unclog drains by cutting through or pulling out the clog. If a pipe blockage cannot be removed with a plunger, the drain snake is the next tool in a plumber’s arsenal.

The cable is extended down the drain using a crank, and when it hits the clog, the tip of the cable will slice, slash, and yank the obstruction until the line clears. The drain snake’s tip is typically made of:

  • One or many blades to cut clogs into smaller pieces
  • A corkscrew shaped for burrowing through clogs
  • Hooked for pulling and pushing clogs free

A drain snake’s cable could range from 25 to 50 feet long. In some instances, electric snakes are used to dig as deep as 75 feet. For more industrial jobs, a plumber can utilize a sewer drill which is similar to a drain snake but can be as long as 100 feet and motorized.

Drain Snaking Should Be Left to the Experts

Drain snakes can be a plumber’s most useful tool, but if the device is used incorrectly, it can lead to a lot of trouble. Not to mention, you can injure yourself in a myriad of ways.

Cleaning inside drains should always be left to professionals. Here are six reasons why:

Damaging a Pipe’s Interior

This is especially true in aged pipes where there may be corrosion. An older pipe is often galvanized and not held to the same standards as modern pipes. The snake can scrape the pipe’s interior.

In rusty pipes, improperly snaking can lead to leaks or, worse, busted pipes.

Coming in Contact with Toxic Water

A clogged drain may have contaminated water, like sewer water, in the pipe. In the attempts to unclog the line, this water could splash back on your face, arms, and hands. Pipe-cleaning chemicals can be in the drain, or bacteria may have begun to grow in the water, and then this really becomes a health hazard.

Water can also splash into an open cut and cause an infection.

Causing Injuries

One of the most common injuries results from not handling the tool appropriately and cutting yourself on the sharp tip of the snake. The snake requires that its user bend and kneel constantly. This can cause soreness and pull back or leg muscles.

Making Matters Worse

Clogs can occur from something getting lost or flushed down the drain and lodged. Sometimes, clogs can also be caused by mineral build-up, and these minerals may cause scaling in the pipe. This results in a bigger blockage.

In other cases, the clog may have just been pushed further down the pipe.

Damaging Fixtures

Even the most careful or best-intentioned novice can scrape and scratch a bathtub or sink’s porcelain. This can create an eyesore, but these scratches can also cause the fixture to degrade faster, creating rust and corroding over time.

Using the Wrong Tool

Sometimes, a clog does not call for a snake. Other times, a clog may call for a specific snake to be used. There are various types of snakes, and each type of snake is intended to be used to fix a specific problem which can include:

  • Top snake – A small snake used for smaller jobs like sink drains and washing machine drains.
  • Mini-rooter – A little larger than the top snake. These drain snakes are electrical and typically cut apart clogs.
  • Toilet auger – These tools are specific to toilets. Extended using a hand crank, it is used to break up blockages in the toilet’s line.
  • Large drain machine – These are the top-of-the-line in professional drain snakes, extending up to 200 feet, and are only used in pipes that are three inches or more in diameter. These snakes can reach from the street into a home to unclog a line.

Let Plumbing by Jake Handle Your Plumbing Needs

To decide if a drain snake is right for the occasion, seek advice from a qualified plumber. After a quick evaluation, a professional plumber can tell you what needs to be done and the correct tools to do it with. No one wants to make the situation worse by damaging the drainage system worse or injuring themselves in the process. A knowledgeable plumber can identify the problem and get to work fixing it.

A clogged drain can really stop the flow of your day. The specialists at Plumbing by Jake have the skills and the experience to get your water. Bringing years of experience into each job, our first priority is making sure our customers’ needs are met. We are licensed and insured and here to help with your plumbing problem.

Plumbing by Jake is available 24/7. Our team of skilled technicians handles problems, big and small, in Northern Arizona. Backed by a five-star guarantee and offering 100% satisfaction, we can diagnose the problem and walk you through solutions. Call us so we can begin to get your plumbing back to normal.