If you’re jamming your plumbing snake into your clogged drain over and over again with no success, you may feel like the snake won’t turn a corner in the pipe.
This situation can be immensely frustrating. This article will help you find a solution for how to make a plumbing snake turn corners.
The first thing to know is that your plumbing snake is likely stuck on an obstruction, rather than a turn in the pipe. Snakes are designed to move easily through pipes, even ones with dramatic turns. So, odds are, you’ve reached the clog that is causing all your problems, and now you just have to remove it.
Quick Overview of Plumbing Snakes
Plumbing snakes are long, flexible cables, usually made of metal. At the end is an uncoiled spring or auger, and at the top is a handle with either a crank or controls.
It works to remove clogs by coiling and uncoiling to either grab or disintegrate the structure. They can be motorized or manually operated with a hand crank, and they come in all sizes for different drains.
Types of Snakes
Below are some of the most common types of plumbing snakes. Some are professional and heavy-duty, while others are common household tools. The ideal snake for your clog will depend on several factors, such as the drain size and type of clog.
- Toilet Auger: Also called a closet auger is a manual snake specifically for unclogging toilets.
- Top Snake: A top snake is the standard drain snake most people use. It’s one of the smallest kinds of snakes and is easy to use.
- Drain Machine: Drain machines can be mini, small, medium, or large. They are lightweight sewer augers with an electric motor.
- Power Snake: Power snakes use hooked motors, so they’re more heavy-duty than manual snakes. However, they’re not uncommon in households.
- Flat Tape Snake: This snake is similar to a cable snake, but is flatter and smaller, ideal for tiny drains.
- Cable Snake: Also called a corkscrew snake, this snake is very common in households and can unclog many kinds of drains.
- Sewer Auger: A sewer auger is a professional-grade tool for clearing wide drains and sewer lines, typically not something a homeowner would need.
I know you’re looking to learn how to make a plumbing snake turn corners, but your snake is probably not stuck in a corner; it’s probably stuck on the clog. Either way, the instructions below can help you maneuver the snake through your pipes properly and effectively remove the clog or obstruction.
Insert the Snake
The first step is to insert the head of the snake into the clogged drain. Try not to rotate the snake head as you insert it. If you rotate it, pull it out and start again. This should be done slowly but firmly. Do not try and force it aggressively. Slowly and steadily continue pushing the snake.
Crank as You Go
As you encounter gunk and sludge, gently crank the snake to loosen the debris. If the drain is very dirty and blocked, you will need to pull the snake out periodically and remove what has been collected.
Find the Obstacle
If you are consistently removing debris and the snake moves forward, you’re getting the job done. If the snake refuses to go further, it’s likely an obstruction. It’s easy to get frustrated and blame a turn in the drain. But if you’re clearing and cranking as you go, the snake will turn corners just fine on its own.
Tighten the Thumbscrew
If you hit an obstacle and the cable will not rotate, the thumbscrew likely needs to be tightened. A handle on the side of the snake drum has a place for you to insert a corkscrew and tighten the drain auger. Tighten the auger as much as you can before continuing to snake.
Remove the Obstruction
After you ensure the thumbscrew is tight, continue to crank and remove debris until you get past the obstacle. This process may take several rounds of snaking and cleaning. If you cannot, it may be time to call a plumber.
Things To Consider
As explained, drain snakes are designed to follow the path of any pipe, that includes turning corners. So the problem likely lies with a different aspect of the situation, like the type of drain or pipe. Below are considerations to keep in mind when troubleshooting a clogged drain.
- Type of clog/blockage
- Pipe age
- Snake size
- Snake material
- Pipe material
- Drain type
Is a Plumbing Snake the Best Option?
If you followed the step-by-step instructions in this article and still cannot unclog your drain, call a professional plumber. Some clogs and blockages require heavy-duty tools and harsh chemicals that you do not keep in your household.
Knowing how to make a plumbing snake turn corners is not usually the problem. The best thing to do is call a professional and reliable plumbing company to inspect and unclog the drain. If you have a clogged pipe that you can’t snake in the Las Vegas area, call our team at Sierra Air Conditioning & Heating today. Our experienced plumbers are available 24/7 if you have an emergency.