If it looks like a snake and moves like a snake, it probably is a snake, right? Or, perhaps, its toolbox doppelgänger, the drain auger. Called a plumber’s snake, or drain snake, this handy tool’s 1/4-inch metal coil breaks up blockages in toilet, sink, and bathtub drains. The next time your plunger won’t clear that clog, wait to call a pro and try to snake it out yourself using the following steps, instead.
You’ll first need to get hold of a plumber’s snake, either manual or electric. Some manual models do allow you to attach an electric drill to give the tool more power to push through and break up the clog.
At your home improvement store, drain augers cost anywhere from a few dollars for a flimsy plastic model meant to pull out a hair clog to $25 for a longer, sturdier metal coil, or more for an electric model. Think of it this way: While you might spend upwards of $100 on a service call, you could put that money—even just a portion of it—toward buying your own snake for this and all future DIY plumbing work. If you don’t want to buy, you may be able to borrow one from a neighbor or rent a snake from your local home improvement center for a nominal fee.
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Before you begin, put on a pair of rubber gloves and goggles (especially if you had tried a chemical drain cleaner earlier…