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Drain Snake Vs. Chemical Drain Cleaner

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When chemical toilet and drain cleaner products are ineffective at clog removal, a device called a drain snake must be used.

Clogged Sink Drain

Chemical drain cleaners and clog removal products do an excellent job at dissolving the built-up accumulation of hair, soap and food debris that can clog bathroom or kitchen sinks. There are different formulations for clogged kitchen sinks that specialize in the dissolving of grease, oils and fats and organic food particles that are typically the cause of kitchen sink drain clogs.

Sometimes chemical drain cleaners are not enough to break apart a physical clog and a mechanical extraction device is required. A plumber's tool called a drain snake can be inserted into the toilet bowl and thus into the sewer pipe.

A drain snake or drain auger is a plumber's tool for physically opening-up clogged drains and sewer lines. The drain snake is a long flexible cable that for some models, has various interchangeable bits and augers that can be attached to the insertion end. These are specifically designed to either break-apart clogs or entwine them for physical extraction. Various type of clogs would require various extraction bits (the end on the tip of the drain snake.)

Commercial Drain Snake versus Home-Use Drain Snake

The drain snake has either a hand crank at the operator's end, or an electrical motor that rotates the device. There is a difference between the type of drain snake that is available for home use versus that used by the professional plumber, that being a consideration of length and diameter of the tool. Commercial drain snakes would be longer to reach deeper into the sewer line and thus, also of a larger gauge to support the physical load it must endure.

The commercial drain snake often uses the high gauge unit with a high-powered motor to rotate the cable through sludge, tree roots and other blockages it might encounter. A typical home-use drain snake in all likelihood would be too short and underpowered for the task.

Drain-snaking can become a foul, stinking mess rather quickly so the home-owner needs to be prepared. In cases of severe drain blockages, hiring the services of a professional plumber might be the better option.

Enter the Drain Snake

drain snake in a sink, with an obstruction of hair and other toilet material attached to the business end

(image source)

Here is a drain clog of what appears to be human and/or pet hair, lint, and other detritus.

A fairly large clog but not at all untypical, this drain clog was probably too large for just one application of a chemical drain cleaner product.

Physical removal of the drain clog by means of a drain snake was required.

3 comments

thestickman
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Posted on Feb 1, 2011
Jerry Walch
0
Posted on Jan 25, 2011
carol roach
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Posted on Jan 25, 2011

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thestickman

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