Using a Hand Auger

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 6, 2021)

For particularly difficult clogs, there is one thing that you should try before calling a plumber. That is to try using a hand auger. Hand augers, also known more commonly as snakes, are smaller versions of the tools used by a professional plumber to get rid of nasty clogs. These tools are really effective on clogs that result from grease and hair buildup. However, before you begin using a hand auger you need to make sure that you know what you are doing. If you do it the wrong way, you could potentially damage one of the pipes. Simply follow these steps, and you should have no problem.

  1. Disconnect the trap. Place a large bucket underneath the sink, directly underneath your drain trap. This bucket will catch the water that will come out when you disconnect and remove the trap (it helps to reduce the mess). Loosen the slip nut couplings by using a pair of water-pump pliers, and then remove the trap. Take the time to remove any gunk from the trap. Set aside for later.
  2. Loosen the setscrew. Near the front of the hand auger, you should see a small key screw. This screw is called the setscrew, and it needs to be loosened so that you can remove some of the snake. Pull out the snake cord about a foot, and begin to feed it into the pipe. Be careful that you don't push too hard, since you may run into a bend in the wall. Continue to gently push until you cannot push any more.
  3. Tighten the setscrew. Retighten the setscrew, and then turn the handle on the auger clockwise. This should help make the cable move forward again as it works its way through the clog. When the cable stops again, loosen the setscrew again. Repeat the process, until you are sure that there is no more blockage. Remove the cable and discard the gunk that is on the tip.
  4. Replace trap and test. Replace the trap that you removed earlier. When it is in place, turn the water on and test your work. You should notice a dramatic increase in the ability of the water to drain. If you do not, then you will need to try it again. However, if you notice no significant changes after your second attempt, then you may have a clog in the main drain line. In the event that you do, that is when you should call a professional.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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