Taking care of the plumbing in your home is a major part of homeownership, which means you’ll be dedicating time to it over the years. As part of this dedicated task, it will be important to be sure you have the right tools for the job, and one of these tools is the plumbing snake. As the name would entail, this particular piece of plumbing gear is a flexible, serpentine line that extends through a drain or a toilet in order to not only cause a clog to be dislodged with its movement in circles, but its ridges is also able to tear away at the problem area.
They are great tools for the plumbing profession and even those in the amateur ranks, but the problem arises when you have to be able figure out when to use it.
That said, here are five ways to help figure out whether you need a plumbing snake or not:
1. The Issue is Deeper – Once you’ve determined that the clog is somewhere beyond the immediate area of what’s in front of you, the flexible length & movement of a plumbing snake is the ideal tool.
2. Check for Water Movement – If you have a problem drain, you want to address the issue quickly, but take a moment to see if the bit of standing or slow-moving water is actually moving. This may mean that whatever is causing the issue is small. If there is no movement at all & minutes later there is little change, it may be time for the snake.
3. The Right Material – Plumbing snakes are made of metal, and that’s important to keep in mind because if you’re dealing with pipes or fixtures that are somewhat fragile, you run a risk of causing damage. However, you can address the issue away from the problem area at a different point in the plumbing that is easier to work with & less fragile.
4. You’ve Done the Easy Stuff First – ‘Easy’ is a relative term when it comes to plumbing, but when you encounter a clog of some kind, you need to be sure you approach it with an order instead of panic (emergencies excluded). Did you shut the water off? Also, you’ve tried using a less caustic/DIY clog cleaning solution but still no luck. Finally, you’ve tried using a plunger to no avail. The snake becomes the tool to go to after all of this.
5. Calling the Pros – Even though a trip to the hardware store will show a number of snakes available to the public for home use, you may still not be sure what to do regardless of the tips you get from your local hardware guy or online tutorials. This is the perfect reason to call a professional who knows how to use the right tools. Moreover, they have more heavy-duty variations of the plumbing snake that can really get the job done.
A plumbing snake, or any other maintenance tool, is only as good as the operator. Be a responsible homeowner & become comfortable with these tools, but always contact a professional when in doubt.