I enjoy working on DIY projects and giving advice to others to help them with their own projects.
DIY Homemade Drain Snake
One of the most frustrating things about unclogging a pipe is the fact that a hand-held plumber’s snake just can’t penetrate massive clogs. You keep pushing the snake in, and all it does is coil up behind the clog. Nothing happens.
This was what happened to me last summer when my main waste pipe finally had its fatal heart attack. The clog had completely blocked the main pipe out of my house. The sinks backed up. The tube drain backed up. Luckily the toilets were not in use at the time of the fatal blockage.
The first thing I grabbed was the plunger. After about ten rapid plunges, I knew I was in trouble. It was Saturday morning, so I could forget getting a plumber out to the house. I needed a power snake to clear the clog.
My options were limited. I could rent one from the local home improvement store or make one myself. The bank account was at its usual level, $15, and it was a week until payday. So I had to make a power snake with either what I had on hand or what I could borrow. Luckily, I had everything I needed in my garage.
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You Will Need
A professional power snake is just a piece of heavy-duty coiled steel, linked together in ten-foot sections as the plumber sends the snake through the pipe. The pipe confines the snake so that it will not flop around like a live wire. You can do the same thing with regular handheld plumbers snakes. All you need are:
- A variable speed power drill
- Several sections of 1-inch PVC pipe cut to various lengths
How to Unclog the Drain in a Few Seconds
- Open the cleanout plug and feed the snake down into the pipe until you hit the clog. Try to push through the clog while turning the snake by hand. If it works, you will see a blob of disgusting brown-black stuff float by. Take your garden hose and flush it down the pipe.
- But, if it doesn’t work, stop messing around, get your power drill, and cut a piece of PVC pipe to slip over the exposed portion of the snake. You want to leave about three feet of exposed snake.
- Chuck up your drill to the end of the snake. Start off at slow speed, pushing the snake into the PVC. Once you have reached the end of the pipe, pull the snake back out. Repeat this process a few times until any resistance you feel is gone.
- Take the drill off the snake and remove the PVC pipe. The clog should be removed; however, you might have pushed part of the clog further down the pipe. Just cut another piece of PVC pipe to length, again leaving about three feet of exposed snake, and repeat the procedure.
Depending on how bad your clog is, or how bad the pipe is, you might have to cut a shorter and shorter length of pipe until you get the snake completely into the pipe to clean out years of gunk sticking to the side of the pipe. Just take your time and be patient. Sooner or later, the clog will come out.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 William Green