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Drain Snakes

Overview Of The Different Drain Snakes

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Several different drain snakes.
Aaron Stickley
A machine for every task. Drain snakes come in oh so many shapes, sizes and brands that they can make things quite confusing. Here is an overview of several common drain snakes and how they are used. With this set of drain snakes I can handle any drain stoppage I am likely to encounter.

You can rent these or similar machines from most tool rental places at a fraction of the cost that you might spend on a plumber.

  • Toilet Auger - A toilet auger is a snake made specifically for toilet stoppages. This is very handy if you can not clear a toilet stoppage with a plunger or if you think something is stuck in your toilet. Learning to clear a toilet stoppage with a toilet auger is relatively easy.

    I often recommend purchasing a toilet auger because the cost is usually less than $50 and it can save you a considerable amount when compared to calling a plumber.

    Note: There are also urinal augers if you have a business that may have urinal stoppages from time to time and they work similarly to toilet augers.

  • Top Snake - This is the smallest of the snakes. It is mostly used for tubs, showers, bathroom sink stoppages, washing machines and sometimes kitchens sink. Most have a 25' long cable. They come in many different shapes and sizes as well as manual and electric.

    Of course I highly recommend the electric ones because they are easier to use. You can usually rent a top snake from for $25 for a few hours or buy a used one for as little as $100 in some cases. These are great for stoppages where you do not have to go more than 25' or do not have a lot of buildup.

  • Mini Rooter Or Medium Drain Machine - This snake should be used with a ⅜" cable and work well if they have at least 50 to 75' of cable length. These are great if you have a kitchen or washing machine clean-out or to snake the drain from or under the kitchen or bathroom sink once you take the trap off. They can also be used to clear kitchen or washing machine line from the roof vents.

    Do not use these for tub or shower stoppages because these can break the trap under the tub or shower. Also, I do not like to use these in anything bigger than 2" sized drain lines.

  • Large drain Machine - Like the others this comes in many shapes and sizes. For this machine I recommend a minimum of ⅝" cable but I use and prefer ¾" cable with no less than 50 to 100' of cable length. While I prefer 100' of cable, depending on how far away the stoppage is, sometimes even more cable is required.

    This machine is used for drains that are 3" or larger in width. I do a lot of stoppages from the clean-out to the street and most of the time the cause is roots so you need a strong cable and machine to get the job done.

    Like the other machines, a large drain snake can usually be rented by the hour and can cost considerably less than calling a plumber.

Whenever you rent or buy a drain snake ask for an overview on how to use that specific machine. Most drain snakes work in similar ways but it is safer to be well acquainted with your particular model. Before you attempt to use it you should know what each part does.

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