Dealing with Clogged Drains: Your Guide to Using a Drain Auger

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There are a few things that can feel more uncomfortable when taking a shower than feeling the water creep up or seeing your kitchen sink refusing to drain while you’re doing dishes. We’ve all dealt with a difficult-to-fix clogged drain. However, before you panic, there’s a fix for this situation.

A drain auger can be exactly what you need to fix any blockages in your drain. This guide is going to teach you all about drain augers and how to use them to fix any drain in your home. 

What is a Drain Auger?

A drain auger is a long, flexible metal tube with a corkscrew head. That’s your drain auger in a nutshell. It’s also known as a plumber’s snake. This tool makes its way down your pipes, attaches to anything that’s clogging your drain and allows you to pull it away or break up the clog. 

Augers come in various shapes and sizes. Some are manual crank models and others are industrial-strength electric ones. We can help you determine the right auger for plumbing. 

When Would You Use a Drain Auger?

There are various options when it comes to removing clogs. For example, chemical drain cleaners are available that offer a quick fix. However, these solutions can damage your pipes or harm the environment. Sometimes they don’t remove the clog but instead push it further down the drain.

This is where a drain auger comes into play. It’s a more environmentally safe way to solve your problem. It can also be rather satisfying to fix the clog yourself. 

Picking Your Drain Auger: It’s All About Compatibility

Choosing a drain auger requires understanding some fundamental things about your pipes and clogs. A hand-cranked version of a drain auger may be exactly what you need for something, such as a bathroom sink clog, but it won’t be as effective for a large blockage deep in your sewer line. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the usual suspects:

  • Hand-cranked drain augers: Perfect for light clogs in sinks, showers, and tubs. Think of it as your trusty sidekick for everyday plumbing woes.
  • Toilet augers: These bad boys have a protective coating so they won’t scratch your toilet, and a special bend to navigate the toilet trap. 
  • Drum augers: These large augers are better suited for main sewer lines or seriously hard-to-remove clogs. They’re the heavy lifters of the drain-clearing world.
  • Electric drain augers: These are a professional-grade drain auger. They can be rented out if you have a tough clog, but be prepared because they are very powerful. 

If you aren’t sure which one to choose, you can ask around at your local hardware store to get more information on the best drain for you.

Safety First: How to Prepare for Using Your Drain Auger

Before you start using your drain auger, remember to practice proper safety. Consider the following before you start dealing with any clogs in your drain: 

  • Gloves: To protect your mitts from gunk and any sharp edges.
  • Safety Glasses: Ever had a nasty surprise splash back in your face? Yeah, let’s avoid that.
  • Old Clothes: Plumbing is messy business. Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Drop Cloth or Old Towels: A few strategically placed towels can save you a lot of clean-up later.
  • Bucket: For collecting any debris or water that might come out of the drain.
  • Flashlight or Headlamp: Some drains are like bottomless pits. A light will help you see what you’re doing down there.

How to Use Your Drain Auger

All right, now that you’ve gotten your plumbing gear, you can finally get started. Don’t worry, it’s easier to use than you may think.

Here’s the step-by-step process on how to use a drain auger:

  1. Prep the Drain: Get rid of any obvious debris from the opening and remove any stoppers or strainers.
  2. Insert the Auger: Slowly ease the end of the auger into the drain opening.
  3. Crank It Up: If you’re using a manual auger, start turning the handle clockwise to push the cable further down. Keep going until you hit resistance.
  4. Push and Pull: Gently move the auger back and forth to loosen the clog. If you have a motorized auger, let it do its thing.
  5. Retract the Auger: Once you feel that clog loosen up, slowly pull the auger out. Wipe off any gunk as it comes out.
  6. Flush It Out: Run hot water down the drain to wash away any leftover debris.

Troubleshooting: Dealing with Stubborn Clogs

Sometimes, even the best tools can’t solve the problem immediately. If your drain auger feels like it is dealing with a difficult clog, don’t worry. You may have to try a few troubleshooting options before you’re able to get things fixed. 

  • Try a Different Auger: A hand-cranked auger might not always be enough. If you’re dealing with a stubborn clog, a motorized one could be the answer.
  • Don’t Force It: Resist the urge to Hulk-smash your way through the clog. Forcing the auger can damage your pipes and leave you with a bigger problem than you started with.
  • Call in the Pros: If you’ve tried everything and the clog is still holding strong, it’s time to admit defeat and call a plumber. Sometimes, professional help is the best solution.

How to Take Care of Your Drain Auger 

Your drain auger’s a champ, but even champs need a little R&R after a hard-fought battle. Treat it right, and it’ll be your go-to tool for years to come. Think of it like this: you wouldn’t leave your trusty car parked outside in a blizzard without washing it, would you?

Your drain auger is a great tool, but even it needs to be maintained from time to time. To make sure it is always operational, make sure you keep it in top shape.

Here’s how to keep your auger in tip-top shape:

  • After-Party Clean-Up: Wipe down the cable with a damp cloth after each use to remove any leftover gunk.
  • Lube It Up: A little lubricant goes a long way in keeping the cable moving smoothly and preventing rust.
  • Store It Right: Coil up the auger and keep it in a dry place to prevent rust and damage.

Good Luck with Using Your Drain Auger

There you have it, folks – you’re now a certified drain auger ninja! With this knowledge in your back pocket, you can tackle clogs head-on, save yourself some dough, and keep your plumbing in tip-top shape. Just remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and figure out what works best for you. Now go forth and conquer those clogs!

That’s all you need to get started. You’re now ready to tackle any drain issue you may have. With this information and some key tips on how to deal with a clog, you’ll clear up your drain in no time. Just remember to be patient.

Meet Marco, a lifelong tinkerer and DIY enthusiast, developed a passion for plumbing after fixing a leaky faucet in his own home. Years later, he turned that passion into a thriving business, Amarco Plumbing, where he shares his knowledge and expertise with the community.