The plumbing snake is not for amateurs. When the toilet plunger is ineffective in removing a clog or drain problem, the plumber uses an auger, also known as the plumbing snake. Other names associated with the auger include toilet jack and “roto rooter.”
Plumbing augers come in different sizes to achieve different purposes. From hand-held augers (also called hand spinners) to drum augers with motorized and interchangeable blades, the plumbing snake is a necessary weapon at the disposal of a skilled plumber.
These tools are available for common use, but there is a danger in operating an auger without proper training or experience. Drum augers are primarily used by skilled plumbers because of the size, weight, and ability needed to operate them correctly.
Most augers, though varying in size, operate very similarly to each other. The coil consists of a long metal wire with a claw at one end and an attachment to a mechanical crank on the other end. Depending on the size and type of auger, the snake works to break up the clog in a variety of ways including:
– operating like a corkscrew and digging into the clog itself to break it up
– the clawed end breaks up the clog, allowing it to flow down the drain
– cleaning the interior walls of the pipe from mineral deposits, oils, and other substances that can cause further clogging
By digging into the clog itself, the auger coil wire is able to reach the blockage and break it up. This process can take time and be a little noisy (which is an understatement). The process of clawing and breaking up the clogged area from within the pipe helps to prevent damage to the pipe, saving people from the need to replace piping. However, the auger is not always able to break up every clog. Depending on the situation, draining type, and blockage substance, the section of the pipe containing the clog could have to be replaced if the auger is unable to break up the clog.
When you try to unclog a toilet or drain using a plunger and get no results, notify us of your concern. Depending on the size of the area clogged, our trained personnel can respond with the appropriate tools. We work to ensure that both the drain line pipe and the area experiencing the clog are taken care of.
The next time you see a plumber with a coiled cable line, know that serious plumbing work is taking place.