Drain Snake, also called cable auger or plumber’s snake is a long flexible metal cable coiled like a snake with a crank attached to it for turning the cable with a locking screw. Drain snakes are used to remove clogs from the drain. You can shop for them at any plumbing department of home improvement or the local hardware store.
When you are buying a drain snake you have to choose the one with the right length which can range from 25 feet to 100 feet plus. The price range will be around $10 to $15 depending on the length of the cable. Cheaper drain snakes are also available which are made of untreated steel with the possibility of getting rusted soon. If you buy a little bit expensive one it will be rust resistant. However, you will have to maintain the snake in order to make it last longer. After each use you should clean it thoroughly and dry it; after drying give it a coat of oil in order to ensure that it does not rust being exposed to moisture.
When your attempt to unclog drains with clearing chemicals or a plunger has failed; you can use a drain snake to dislodge the clog. To make your task a bit easier you have to remove the trap of the drain. It might so happen that the clog will be found in the trap itself which will make your life easier. If not, remove the trap a stub out pipe will appear. Insert the drain snake into it and feed the cable until you feel resistance. Once you reach the clog start turning the handle clockwise with a pushing pressure. Continue the operation until you feel that either the clog has been dislodged or you have penetrated through it.
You have to be very careful when you are using the drain snake because it might so happen that the resistance that you felt after inserting and screwing the cable inside the pipe; the snake might have encountered a juncture or turn in the drain line. Then the process becomes time-consuming and frustrating. The probability of the drain snake not reaching the clog is also there. In that case, you will have to use another snake or you may have to dislodge the drain pipes to get at the clog. This will entail another round of installation of the particular drainage pipe.
Minor blockage you might be able to resolve but when it comes to difficult cases you will have to call in a plumber. The experienced plumber will be able to pinpoint the cause and use the appropriate tools to get at the clog and remove it. If heavy duty tool is required, the plumber will have it. However, keeping a drain snake at hand for the emergency situation will be wise.