We’ve all had clogged drains before. They’re annoying, they’re gross, and they always seem to happen at the most inopportune times. So, when you’re dealing with a clog, you’ll do just about anything to get rid of it – including reaching for the nearest drain snake.
But before you use a drain snake on your pipe, you might want to think twice. While a drain snake can help break up a clog, it can also damage your pipes if used improperly. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at whether or not a drain snake can break a pipe and what you should do to avoid damaging your plumbing.
What is a drain snake and how does it work?
Drain snakes are invaluable tools used by plumbers to unclog drains. They consist of a long, rigid cable that is inserted into the pipe and maneuvered through the curves and turns. The end of the drain snake has a head with specialized blades which cut through the clog, causing it to break up.
It’s possible to reach clogs deep within pipes, oftentimes in places that would otherwise be impossible to physically reach with traditional plumbing tools. Not only can they help clear out clogs, but they can also be used to remove things like hair and other debris from drains. As such, drain snakes are an effective way to keep your drainage system flowing freely and prevent costly future blockages.
Can a drain snake break a pipe if used improperly?
A drain snake is an important tool for unclogging a clogged drain, but it is possible for the end of the cable to break a pipe if not used correctly. When using one, you should always make sure to use gentle, careful movements and avoid forcing the snake too far into your drains. Doing this can cause damage to old or weak pipes that can’t handle such force or pressure.
Before attempting to snake a clogged drain, it is also important to identify what type of pipe you are working with so that you know how much pressure to apply when using the drain snake. Using the wrong-sized cable in your pipes could also be damaging and should be avoided.
How to use a drain snake properly
The first step to using a drain snake correctly is to connect the auger head securely to the end of the cable; it should fit flush against the sides of the drain tube. Once that’s done, feed the snake into the pipe up until you meet resistance. Move it back and forth in short bursts to break through any obstacles you encounter. Once you feel a heightened amount of resistance, rotate the handle clockwise in order to “ratchet” through and break up whatever might be blocking your pipe. Lastly, pull out whatever objects have blocked your drain.
What to do if your pipe does break while using a drain snake
If you’re using a drain snake to clear out a clogged pipe and it breaks, the first thing to do is assess the damage. Depending on where the break occurred, your options could be limited. Have some towels on hand to soak up any water that spills. If you’ve broken a straight portion of pipe, your best option might be to use a coupling with two hose clamps to reconnect the ends of the pipe together temporarily. You will likely need to call a plumber to come and repair the broken pipe properly.
If you’re dealing with a more serious rupture or if your pipes are just very old and weak, it might be time to consider replacing them altogether. This can help prevent future blockages in your drains, which will save you both time and money in the long run.