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Is a Drain Snake Enough to Handle a Clog?

drain-cleaning-cutawayIf the “drain snake” you’re thinking of when you ask this question is a hand-cranked drain auger purchased from a store, then it might be enough to take care of a clog in a sink or shower drain. It isn’t a total solution, however, and in many cases it provides only a brief fix and will leave you with a clogged up drain only a few weeks later—or less.

When it comes to fighting drain clogs or cleaning out drains, you may need something more powerful. And no, we don’t mean chemical drain cleaners. These are not only temporary solutions at best, they are harmful to drains and can end up compounding problems.

Drain Snake Basics

Let’s talk about the drain snake, a.k.a. drain auger. This is a standard home-plumbing tool that many people have in case of clogs. The standard auger consists of a coil of wires that can be inserted down into the drain to reach as far as the p-trap. Turning the coil with a hand-cranked drills the wires down into an obstruction. This can break apart the clog, pull parts of it out, or push a large hole through it. As a second method to attempt after a sink plunger, a drain auger can work for simple clogs. It may even break them apart entirely.

It doesn’t work with heavy clogs, however, and often it only drills a hole large enough to allow wastewater to pass through, leaving the rest of the clog still there. The clog will rapidly build up and create the clogging again.

The Professional Drain Snake

There is another type of drain snake, which is the motorized version. This is a tool professional plumbers use, sometimes called a rooter. This drain snake is much more powerful and can attack and remove thicker clogs, as well as clear out more obstructions. Using a motorized drain snake requires training: you can’t purchase one of these on your own (they’re too expensive anyway) and hope to use it successfully. You are likely to damage your pipes if you use a professional drain snake improperly. Please don’t resort to this unclogging method if you can’t get your standard drain snake to do the job.

The Full Professional Solution

For complete drain unclogging and cleaning, the preferred method of expert plumbers is a different tool, the hydro-jetter. This device blasts out high-pressure water through a nozzle attached to a lengthy hose. The hose is sent down drains and can reach long distances. The hydro-jetters can even be used to clean out the length of an entire sewer line. The directional nozzle blasts out the high-pressure water in all directions, and the force of the water removes all types of debris and build-up from the walls of the pipes.

Hydro-jetting not only eliminates clogs for the free-flow of water, it cleans the pipe interior so thoroughly that it’s difficult for build-up to start again. This makes hydro-jetting the best choice for long-term solutions to problems with your plumbing in Burlington, VT.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Call us for emergency service when you have drain troubles.

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