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Is your blocked drain getting you down and you’re on the cusp of calling a plumber? You’ve tried boiling water? Bicarb & vinegar? Chemical drain cleaner? Got all sweaty with a plunger? You’re definitely not alone, as it’s one of the most common reasons people just like you call in the cavalry for a fast and affordable fix. But before you cry out for professional help, we thought we’d give you a bit of a pro-tip that goes by the name of a drain snake.

Sometimes known as an electric eel, a plumbing snake, a drain eel or a plumbers eel, it may have lots of names and nicknames but this is a nifty bit of kit that you should consider giving a try. Simple, affordable and ingenious, it’s been known to help people (including plumbers!) just like you out of a clogged up problem.

No idea how to use a drain snake, though? If you’re feeling like a capable DIY-er with a healthy dose of confidence, let’s get stuck into a crash course.

Drain snake or electric eel?

First things first – if you’ve just Googled ‘drain snake’ and found an expensive looking contraption on wheels, keep scrolling. What we’re recommending here is the hand-held variety of drain snake Bunnings or any other hardware store should have in stock. Similar to its big daddy on wheels, the drain snake is basically a system of cables or coils that slither like a snake into your drain to vanquish the gunk that has given you your plumbing headache. The drain snake is a go-to tool for your DIY drain unblocking endeavours!

How to use a drain snake in 5 simple steps

Here, we’ll provide an example on how to use a snake on a sink drain, but the same applies to shower drain or bathtub.

1. Insert the snake

Take the end of the snake and feed it into the backed-up drain. It should slide into the drain quite easily with some light force, but don’t keep pushing through total resistance as you could be damaging something that you really don’t want to damage.

2. Uncoil the snake

Now, use the handle to uncoil the system of cables – think of it like a snake uncurling and slithering down your drain. Crank the handle at an easy, steady pace until you feel it reach the blockage.

3. Break up the blockage

In all likelihood, your blockage is caused by a build-up of gunk and other drain debris, so wind the snake a little bit further into the pipe past the blockage point – and then reverse the direction and wind it back up a little bit. Repeat this backwards and forwards action to break up the blockage.

Note: You shouldn’t hear or feel any scraping or grinding, but if you do, you could be attacking the pipe itself!

4. Test your handiwork

After you and the snake have done some hard work on that blockage, wind the coil all the way in. Take care that once the end of the snake hits the drain entrance, it doesn’t do any damage on the way out.

Now, cross your fingers and test that drain – is the blockage now history?

5. Call in the cavalry

At the end of the day, a drain snake is a very effective way to at least temporarily break up a minor drain blockage, especially for unblocking sink drains and showers. But what lurks out of your sight could actually be a stubbornly-lodged object, a broken pipe or a deeper plumbing problem, or simply a major blockage that requires professional skills, years of experience and all the best and latest tools & technology.

But it’s still not the end of the world, because our experts at clearing Melbourne blocked drain are quick to respond, quick to work, and guarantee the quality of their workmanship … forever! With our powerful drain cleaning tools like CCTV drain camera inspection and high-pressure water jetter, we can easily pinpoint the blockage and clear it away. We also offer fixed, fair and upfront pricing and $55 off if you call today – so why not give the drain plumbers at Ezy-Plumb a call today?