Already tried plunging the stubborn clog in your drain? The next step should be to snake the drain. But before moving forward, take the time to learn how to snake a drain and when to call a pro — otherwise, you could be putting the health of your plumbing system at risk.
Not all clogs are equal. Some succumb to the snake, and the drain clears out. More stubborn clogs, however, require expertise that most homeowners (and their snakes) don't have.
What is a plumbing snake?
Also referred to as a cable auger, a plumbing snake consists of a long, flexible feed or cable that you lower down or unwind into the drain. The cable "snakes" its way through the pipes and around turns and twists, breaking up any debris or buildup in its path. While the length of the device's cables vary, it's a useful device for accessing the depths of the plumbing pipes.
When should you use a snake?
Homeowners can attempt a DIY job to clear out the drain, but if they proceed without knowing what they're doing, they may compound the problem. Often when you snake the drain, you'll sense the cable hitting an obstruction. You'll need to power through these obstructions to break up the debris; however, running a snake can cause damage or perhaps even break the pipe, depending on its age and condition.
Reserve a DIY job for isolated clogs — for example, if just one drain in your home is clogged. For repeated clogs or widespread trouble with drains throughout your home, it's best to call a plumber.
Why get professional help?
There's nothing worse than taking the time to learn how to snake a drain only to learn later on that the job didn't get to the root of the problem, or that you damaged the pipes and now face a costly repair. That's why it's always a good idea to enlist professional help. A licensed plumber can address problems comprehensively, and has the specialized diagnostic tools and experience to avoid further damage to the pipes.
If you've learned how to snake a drain to no avail, it's time to call in the Atlanta area's expert plumbers. Save yourself the time, money and frustration.
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