A sink drain cleared out with a plumbing snake.Updated Oct. 31, 2017

If you’ve spoken with a plumber recently or Googled a search for plumbing tools to keep handy in your home, plumbing snake may have come up. Known by many names, including snake, toilet jack, or rooter, plumbing snakes are long, coiled augers used to dislodge difficult plumbing clogs when plungers and drain cleaners fail.

However, there’s more than meets the eye with regards to this useful piece of plumbing gadgetry. Consider the following facts and learn exactly what different types of plumbing snakes can do to resolve a variety of clogs.

Types of Plumbing Snakes

While most plumbing snakes are made of a coiled metal wire with a gap between each coil at the end, and include a crank to rotate the helix as it travels down the pipe, there are various types of snakes for different types of clogs.

Consider these variations on a plumbing snake for maximum clog-removing potential:

  • Hand spinner: These types of augers are an excellent choice for clearing out your sink or bathtub drain. They may cause damage to a toilet bowl, or become tangled inside their wide drain pipes. Keep this type of plumbing snake in narrow pipe spaces and you’ll be in great shape.

  • Closet/ Toilet Auger: The closet auger does the very job that the hand spinner is not qualified to accomplish. Named after the term “water closet,” this auger type feeds through a hook-shaped metal tube, capped with a plastic boot at the end to prevent scratching of your porcelain finish. The short cable on toilet augers provides just enough reach to remove clogs in the trap built into the bowl, and break up and/or retrieve most blockages.

  • Drum augers: A drum auger uses modular blades to cut through thick clogs, like those caused by tree roots. However, because of their sharp edges, these snakes must be used with great caution and by a professional only, to avoid damage to plastic and even copper pipework.

  • Electric augers/ Roto Rooter: Blast from the past! This electric auger, invented by Samuel Blanc in 1933, includes rotating blades that cut through tree roots lodged within sewer pipes.

Before tackling a major clog in the home on your own, it’s important to know that plumbing snakes can cause serious damage to pipes if operated incorrectly. If you live in an older home with galvanized pipes or other types of discontinued piping material, a plumbing snake can do more harm than good. Before attempting to clear a clog on your own, speak to a local plumber about potential risks or hire one to clear difficult clogs.

Clear drain clogs with a plumbing snake

A plumbing snake is an excellent tool to have on hand, depending on the plumbing issue you are facing. If you require the removal of tree roots or another serious blockage from your plumbing, be sure to contact Meticulous Plumbing, for professional service that gets the job done, safely and affordably.

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