Having some basic drain cleaning tools on hand can help to resolve plumbing issues without calling the plumber. The tools range from basic and manual to powered and more complex to use.
A plunger is one of the simplest tools to use when cleaning a drain. It creates a suction that will push the clog further down the pipe to the main drain. To use a plunger in a toilet just put it over the drain hole and push it down firmly and quickly. If you are using it in a double kitchen sink be sure to plug up the other side before using the plunger.
A plumbing snake (also called an auger) is a flexible steel cable that has an auger on the end. The other end has a handle that the user can turn. To use a manual snake feed the cable down the drain. The spiral hook on the auger end will hook the debris that is causing the clog and it can be pulled out of the drain. Another way it works is to break up the clog so it can be pushed further down the pipes to the main drain.
An electrically powered plumbing snake has a motor on one end instead of a handle. It is generally used for tougher clogs. But it does work in the same way. To use a power snake feed the cable down the drain and turn it on. These kinds of snakes are expensive but can be rented at a local home improvement store.
This kind of snake has the same type of cable with an auger on one end. The other end, instead of having a manual handle or an electrical motor, fits on an electric drill. The drill provides the power of the turning motion to dislodge the clog.
A rooter is a machine with a motor and a coiled steel hose. At the end of those are curved cutting blades. These are normally used only by plumbers. Here is how it is done. Open up the main clean up and feed the cable into the opening. When the clog is reached there will be some resistance. The blades will cut through the clog and also any small roots that might be clogging the drain. Pushing it back and forth a few times normally clears the pipe.
This tool is based on the same principles of the plunger but updated with more air pressure. It comes with an adapter so it can be used in a sink, bathtub or a toilet. To use this tool add air by pumping the chamber. Put on the correct adapter. Now just push a button and pressurized air is blasted into the pipe pushing the clog out of the pipe.
Drain cleaning tools can make clearing drains much easier. Keeping your plumbing in good working order will help you to avoid future plumbing problems.