Snaking, or drain cabling, is a popular plumbing technique to clear clogged drains. It involves sending an auger, a long metal cable with a corkscrew-like end, down a pipe to break through blockages, such as tree roots and grease buildup. Snaking is an effective drain cleaning method for minor clogs, but there are instances where snaking may not fully unclog a drain.
The Snaking Procedure
Snaking typically begins with a plumbing technician inserting an auger into the drain pipe and pushing it as far down as possible. They manipulate the auger to break apart and remove the debris causing the clog.
The technician will then retrieve it and run water through the pipe to assess the procedure’s effectiveness. They may repeat the process a few times if the clog is extra stubborn or if they suspect that multiple blockages are present.
Snaking can be supplemented by using a high-pressure water jetting system to break up the debris further and help drains function properly.
Your plumbing professional may also recommend using a chemical drain cleaner to dissolve the clog in addition to snaking. This multi-service approach is often the best way to unclog a tough blockage, such as one created by a buildup of hair and soap.
Benefits of Snaking
Snaking is a reliable and cost-effective method of unclogging drains with several benefits. The process of snaking happens quickly, often taking only a few minutes to unclog most drains. It is also highly efficient, as a single service can clear several clogs at one time.
Snaking your drains once a year can keep them running smoothly and help you avoid significant blockages. It is also a much less intrusive method of unclogging than hydro jetting and can save you money on expensive plumbing repairs in the future.
Snaking is an environmentally friendly method of drain cleaning, as it does not require any harsh chemicals. You don’t have to pour any toxic materials down your drains, as the only materials used in snaking are metal cables and mild cleaning solutions.
Snaking rarely causes a mess and does not leave behind any hazardous materials or unpleasant odors. Snaking is designed to break apart clogs rather than just push them down the drain, so the results are often long-lasting. Clogs may not return for months or even years after snaking. It also reduces the risk of further blockages forming due to residue buildup.
Limitations of Snaking
Snaking may not always be successful in completely clearing a clog. Augers are made of rigid materials and can cause severe skin lacerations if mishandled. If an open wound comes into contact with bacteria from the drain, it could lead to an infection.
Snaking may also require spending time on your knees or back, causing muscle strain and fatigue. Call a professional plumber to clear your drains to avoid increasing your mental and physical stress.
Homes that have been around for decades may have rusty, corroded pipes that the drain snake cable can easily damage. The cable tip, designed to break apart clogs, might also scrape the sides of the pipes.
This can causing the pipes to weaken or crack, leading to water leakages, mold growth, and structural damage. Hiring a professional to inspect the pipes can help determine whether snaking is safe for your system. If it’s not, they can recommend an alternative service method.
Some clogs may be too difficult to break up and remove. If the clog comprises heavy materials, it may be too thick or hard to break through. In this case, your plumber may recommend applying a chemical cleaner or hydro jetting the clog to break up the debris and flush it out of the system. A camera inspection can help plumbers determine the exact cause and location of the clog for a more effective solution.
Snaking as an Effective Drain Cleaning Method
Snaking is one of the most effective drain cleaning methods that can help you keep your drains running smoothly. When done safely and correctly, it can give you fast and long-lasting results without causing damage or financial strain.
For more severe blockages that snaking can’t clear, your plumber may recommend supplemental methods. These can include chemical cleaners and hydro jetting. If your drain is clogged, contact your plumber for a service estimate and to learn more about clog prevention.