Traditionally, a plumber’s snake, also known as a drain auger, has been the go-to tool for tackling stubborn blockages. This flexible, coiled tool is designed to manoeuvre through complex piping to dislodge debris and restore flow. 

However, while it’s been a staple in plumbing toolkits for decades, newer technologies offer more effective solutions. We take a look at how to use a plumber’s snake, understand its limitations, and discuss why high-pressure water jetting has become the preferred method for modern plumbers.

What is a Plumber's Snake?

A plumber’s snake is a tool used primarily to clear blockages deep within your plumbing system. Unlike a standard plunger that works on superficial clogs, a plumber’s snake reaches far down into the drain. 

This tool consists of a long, flexible metal cable with a coiled spiral or blade at one end and a handle on the other. The handle helps you feed the cable into the pipe and rotate it, allowing the coil to hook onto debris or cut through the clog.

Plumber’s snakes come in various sizes, from handheld models suitable for minor kitchen or bathroom sink clogs to larger, motorised versions used for main sewer lines. Despite their utility, the mechanical nature of these tools means they can be somewhat harsh on pipes and often require significant physical effort to operate effectively.

How to Use a Plumber’s Snake

Step 1. Clear out under the sink or the surrounding area to give yourself ample room to work. It’s a good idea to have a bucket or rags handy to catch any spillage.

Step 2. Begin by feeding the coiled end of the snake into the drain. Keep feeding the cable until you feel resistance, this indicates you’ve reached the clog.

Step 3. Once the coil is engaged with the clog, slowly turn the handle. This rotation helps the coil to either grab the debris or break it apart. Continue to push and rotate the snake deeper into the clog as needed.

Step 4. Once you feel the blockage clear, slowly pull the snake out of the drain. Be prepared for debris or water that may follow.

Step 5. Remove any debris caught on the snake and clean the tool thoroughly. Flush the drain with hot water to clear any remaining residue.
For a deeper understanding of what might be clogging your pipes, check out our blog on the main causes of blocked drains.

Risks Associated with Using a Plumber's Snake

While a plumber’s snake can be an effective DIY method for minor clogs, its use is not without risks, especially for those unfamiliar with plumbing tools. 

Pipe Damage: Improper use of a snake can lead to scratches, cracks, or even breaks in the pipes, particularly if they are older or made from less durable materials.

Complex Blockages: A snake might clear part of a blockage but push the rest further into the plumbing, complicating the problem. It might also compact the blockage, making it harder to remove later.

Ineffectiveness on Tough Clogs: For dense blockages caused by roots or hardened debris, a plumber’s snake might not be strong enough to clear the pipe effectively.

Safety Concerns: Using a mechanical snake involves physical effort and handling, which can lead to injuries if not done correctly. This is especially true for motorised snakes, which can twist or jerk unexpectedly.

The Shift to High-Pressure Water Jetters

The plumbing industry has seen significant advancements, with high-pressure water jetters becoming the preferred method for clearing tough clogs and maintaining pipes. 

Efficiency: Water jets can clear a variety of obstructions quickly, from mineral buildup to tree roots, without damaging the pipes.

Precision: Unlike mechanical snakes, water jets can reach deep into the plumbing system with precision, ensuring that the entire blockage is eradicated.

Safety: Water jetters pose fewer risks to the pipes and the user. There’s no physical tooling that might break or cause injury.

Long-term Solution: Regular use of water jetting as part of maintenance can prevent the accumulation of blockages, reducing emergency calls and prolonging the life of the plumbing system.

High-pressure water jetting is a testament to modern plumbing solutions that not only solve immediate problems but also contribute to the longevity and efficiency of plumbing infrastructures. At DCM Plumbing, embracing these technologies ensures that our clients receive the most effective and safe plumbing solutions available.

Why Professional Help Is Recommended

While plumber’s snakes can sometimes offer a quick fix, their effectiveness and safety are not always guaranteed. If you’re facing stubborn clogs or recurrent drainage issues, it’s important to consider professional help.

  • High-pressure water jetters are significantly more effective at clearing out all types of blockages and cleaning the entire pipe rather than just punching a hole through the blockage as a snake might.
  • Unlike manual snaking, which often provides a temporary fix, jetting can remove the buildup that causes frequent clogs, reducing the likelihood of future problems.
  • Regularly scheduled jetting can help prevent blockages before they start, keeping your plumbing in optimal condition without the emergency situations that necessitate urgent fixes.

For those on the Gold Coast, choosing DCM Plumbing means opting for a solution that not only clears blockages but also preserves the integrity and longevity of your plumbing systems. Trust the experts to handle your plumbing needs with the most effective tools and techniques available today.

Ready to get your drains cleared without the hassle? Contact us at DCM Plumbing today for expert assistance and see why we are the trusted choice for plumbing solutions on the Gold Coast.