A plumber's snake or drain snake is a thin, flexible auger used to dislodge blockages in pipes. The plumber's snake is often reserved for difficult clogs that cannot be loosened with a plunger. It is also sometimes called a toilet cat. A plumbing snake is a tool you can use to remove obstructions that block drains and pipes.
It looks like a hose, but it serves a very different purpose. A plumbing snake is a long, flexible metal wire with a small unwound spring, or auger, on one end and a handle on the other. As you use a plumbing snake, it unwinds down the drain, eventually reaching the blockage that blocks the pipe and causes the backup. A standard household drain snake, sometimes called a drum snake or top snake, is the smallest of the drain cleaning augers.
It is mainly used for clogs in bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines and sometimes kitchen sinks. Most have a 25 or 50 foot cord with a corkscrew tip to trap debris. They come in many different shapes and sizes, as well as manual and electrical. Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with 15 years of experience in commercial plumbing, new residential and residential service and repair.
While a plumber may have all of them, he will likely only need one or two, unless he wants to rent a large auger to clean a sewer drain. A plumber's snake is usually a metal wire, wound with a gap between the coils, with one end attached to a device that will drive a rotation, such as an auger. It takes a little practice to learn how to use a sewer auger effectively, but renting a machine for half a day is much cheaper than having a plumber or roto-rooter technician clean a drain. Sometimes called electric eel or even toilet cat, the plumber's snake is one of the most common and useful devices used to remove clogs from drains.
The plumber's snake, sometimes known as a toilet jack or electric eel, is a flexible auger used to remove obstructions in pipes that cannot be loosened with a plunger. The movement of the plumber's snake corkscrew allows for various ways of operation, ranging from using the end to drill a particular object causing the clogged drain to breaking the material causing the blockage and scraping the rest of the sides of the pipe. There are many types of plumbing snakes, but the most commonly used is a manual auger, which is used for many kitchen and tub drains. If you have problems while using a plumbing snake, call the plumbers at Cates Heating and Cooling.
Plumbers have large and very expensive versions of these augers, but you can rent smaller units with 100-foot cords and 4-inch cutter heads. When a clogged drain is too stubborn to respond to a plunger, a plumber's snake is usually employed.