A plumber using a plumbers snake at Murrieta Plumbing

Evolution of the Plumbers Snake: From Innovation to Safety in the Plumbing Industry

The plumbers snake, also known as an auger or drain snake, has a rich history rooted in the early 20th century when indoor plumbing became prevalent. Before its invention, plumbers relied on labor-intensive and often ineffective methods to clear clogs. However, in 1933, Samuel Blanc revolutionized the industry with the invention of the first electric drain snake. Since then, the plumbing snake has evolved through various improvements and modifications. While it is a valuable tool for clearing blockages, it is essential to understand the potential risks and follow safety guidelines to prevent injury. This article explores plumbing snakes’ history, types, and safe usage.

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The History of the Plumbing Snake 

In the early 20th century, as indoor plumbing became increasingly common, plumbers faced the challenge of clearing clogs and blockages effectively. Before the advent of the plumbing snake, plumbers resorted to using hooks, hand augers, and pumps, which were often time-consuming and inefficient.

The breakthrough came in 1933 when Samuel Blanc, a San Francisco-based plumber, invented the first electric drain snake. Blanc’s creation was a motorized version of the traditional hand-cranked auger, enabling plumbers to easily clear clogs and blockages from pipes. This invention revolutionized the plumbing industry, making the task more efficient and less labor-intensive.

Plumber using a plumbers snake

Improvement to the Plumbers Snake

Over the years, the drain snake has undergone significant improvements and modifications. Plumbers have developed specialized heads for different types of pipes and drains, enhancing the tool’s versatility and effectiveness. These advancements have propelled the evolution of the plumbing snake into a reliable and indispensable tool for plumbers worldwide.

Types of Drain Snakes

Several types of drain snakes are available today, each designed for specific purposes and tailored to different types of clogs. Understanding these variations can help users select the most suitable tool. Here are some of the most common types of drain snakes:

  1. Handheld Drain Snakes: Basic drain snakes primarily use for simple clogs in small drains. Users operate them manually, and they provide a portable and cost-effective solution.
  2. Drum Augers: Electric-powered drain snakes featuring a rotating drum that holds the cable. Drum augers are ideal for larger pipes and more stubborn clogs due to their enhanced power and versatility.
  3. Sectional Drain Snakes: Comprising individual sections that can be assembled or disassembled, sectional drain snakes accommodate different pipe lengths. This flexibility makes them suitable for a wide range of applications.
  4. Closet Augers: Specifically designed to clear toilet clogs, closet augers feature a protective coating to prevent damage to the toilet bowl. Their unique design allows for safe and efficient unclogging of toilets.
  5. Flat Tape Drain Snakes: Ribbon-like in shape, these drain snakes are perfect for clearing smaller, flexible pipes found in sinks and showers. They navigate bends and twists with ease, effectively removing clogs.
  6. Power Drain Snakes: Professional plumbers typically use these robust, electric-powered drain snakes to tackle large or particularly stubborn blockages. They provide maximum power and efficiency for demanding jobs.

The nature of the clog and the size and type of pipe being worked on determines the specific type of drain snake needed.

Save Money by DIY

When renting a drain snake from a rental yard, please provide them with the necessary details to ensure you receive the correct-sized snake for your specific needs. A 50-foot snake is usually suitable for handling DIY clogs around the house. This type of snake features a flexible metal cable with a corkscrew-type bit attached and is operated manually with a rotatable handle.

Prioritize Safety: Gloves and Proper Attire 

Before unclogging a drain, especially a toilet drain, take precautions to ensure your safety. Prepare the area around the toilet by placing old towels to manage any mess. Wear gloves and dress appropriately to protect yourself.

Using a Plumbers Snake Effectively 

To begin, gently insert the end of the snake into the toilet bowl, applying minimal pressure. The bit at the end of the snake will start breaking up the clog once it makes contact with the obstruction. Rotate the handle on the drain snake while maintaining gentle pressure.

Allow the Drain Snake to Work and Apply Gentle Pressure 

Apply excessive pressure, as it can push the obstruction further down the drain. The primary purpose of the snake is to break up the clog. You can remove the cable to clear any accumulated debris or attachments and reinsert it if necessary. Always turn the crank handle clockwise when in contact with the object until the drain is clear. You can apply these principles to unclog any drain. Keep in mind that smaller drain pipes may require a correspondingly sized snake.

Conclusion: DIY with Caution 

You can save money on simple clogs around the house by renting and using a drain snake. However, always prioritize safety by wearing gloves and appropriate attire. Remember to apply gentle pressure and let the drain snake do the work, avoiding excessive force. If you encounter difficulties or have concerns, it is advisable to seek professional help. 

Murrieta Plumbing Has the Expertise

As a homeowner project, using a plumbers snake offers a surprisingly simple and accessible solution. With a clear understanding of how to use the snake and the patience to maneuver it, you can successfully eliminate stubborn clogs in sinks, bathtubs, and toilets.

However, there may be instances when your efforts fail to overcome a particularly stubborn clog. In such cases, there’s no need to despair! After attempting to snake the drain, the next recommended step is to contact Murrieta Plumbing. Our skilled team has the plumbers snake and expertise to locate and effectively break up any challenging clog.

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