If your kitchen sink is starting to back up it may be time to break out the drain snake. A drain snake is a long thin flexible tool that can be used to remove blockages from drain pipes. Although drain snakes can be purchased at most hardware stores they can also be rented from many tool rental establishments.
Before using a drain snake it is important to understand how they work and what safety precautions need to be taken. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use a drain snake to clear a kitchen sink drain as well as some tips on how to avoid common mistakes.
How Drain Snakes Work
Drain snakes are equipped with a either a manual or power-operated rotating handle that is used to spin the snake’s cutting head. The cutting head is a sharp circular blade that is capable of slicing through most types of blockages including hair grease and sludge.
As the handle is turned the cutting head of the drain snake is forced further down the drain pipe. The snake will eventually reach the blockage at which point the blade will slice through the obstruction. Once the blockage has been cleared the drain snake can be pulled out of the drain pipe and the water will begin to flow freely again.
Although drain snakes are relatively safe to use there are a few safety precautions that should be taken before using one. First be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp cutting head. Second be careful not to push the drain snake too far down the drain pipe as this could damage the pipe. Finally be sure to keep the area around the sink clear of clutter as this could create a trip hazard.
Using a Drain Snake
1. Begin by removing the drain cover from the sink. Most drain covers can be unscrewed by hand but some may require the use of a screwdriver.
2. Once the drain cover has been removed lower the drain snake into the drain pipe.
3. Start turning the handle of the drain snake being careful not to push the snake too far down the drain pipe.
4. Continue turning the handle until the drain snake reaches the blockage. At this point the blade should slice through the obstruction.
5. Once the blockage has been cleared pull the drain snake out of the drain pipe and replace the drain cover.
Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes
One common mistake that people make when using a drain snake is pushing the snake too far down the drain pipe. This can damage the pipe and cause the snake to become stuck. If this happens it can be very difficult to remove the snake without damaging the pipe.
Another common mistake is not using enough force when turning the handle. This can cause the drain snake to get stuck in the drain pipe. Be sure to use enough force to ensure that the blade is able to cut through the blockage.
Finally be sure to keep the area around the sink clear of clutter. This will ensure that you have a clear path to the sink and will avoid any trip hazards.