A drain snake may look like a drain auger to the untrained eye. But that would be like saying a bird is a plane because they both have wings. While drain snakes and augers can be used to clear drains, and both are long, coiled tools that you can stick down your pipes, there are also many differences between them.
A drain snake might be just what you need if you’ve got a clog in your sink, shower, bathtub, or toilet. These snakes are usually made out of plastic, and they work by wrapping themselves around whatever is clogging your drain so you can remove it with the snake. You can get a drain snake at most hardware stores—they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
However, if you have a more severe clog causing your pipes to back up or overflow, you’ll need something more powerful: an auger. An auger is less flexible than a snake and is made of metal instead of plastic—this means it’s sturdier and has more force behind it when you’re turning its crank to move it down the pipe. Unfortunately, augers are also more expensive than snakes and can only be operated by professionals on their strength.
What is a drain snake?
You can unclog drains using a drain snake, which is a small, flexible tool. It’s often called an auger, but the two terms aren’t interchangeable—they’re two different tools.
An auger is a drain snake explicitly made for removing clogs in plumbing pipes. The auger design makes it possible to remove the clog without damaging the pipe itself.
Both types of snakes are essentially long, bendable sticks with a crank on one end and a head at the other end with a cutting edge or collection mechanism meant to catch clogs and pull them out.
Can a drain snake break a pipe?
The answer is yes, but it’s quite uncommon. When using a drain snake, you’re essentially pushing a flexible metal coil down your pipes. If the snake isn’t correctly handled and hits a bend or corner in your pipes, it can damage the pipe and cause leaks. However, this is rare if you’re using a store-bought drain snake and aren’t attempting to unclog extremely thick pipes. The best way to avoid this is to take care while snaking the drain: don’t move too fast, and keep your eyes on how far it’s going.
How do you snake a drain with an auger?
First, make sure that your drain isn’t clogged with hair or food bits. These are usually pretty easy to pull out by hand (gross). Then, set up the auger in front of the drain opening. Ensure that the cable is hanging straight down from the drum head so that it doesn’t get wrapped around anything as you go. Then turn on the drill and slowly press down until you feel the resistance of the clog.
How to Use a Drain Auger
A drain auger, also known as a plumbing snake, is an effective tool for clearing clogged drains. For example, you can use it to clear a bathtub or shower drain of hair and soap scum. A plumber’s auger consists of a long steel cable with a hand crank on one end and a screw tip that corkscrews into the clog. An auger works by grabbing onto the clog and breaking it up so that it washes away down the drain.
Before using an auger, you should always be careful not to cause damage to your pipes. You should also make sure that there is no standing water in the sink you are working on to easily see how far you have fed the cable into the pipe.