Your Cambridge home's kitchen sink is backed up and you can’t prepare dinner. Or your toilet is plugged and even the plunger isn’t fixing the problem. It may be time to call for the snake – plumber’s snake that is. For those of you who are intimidated by tools, take note: you have nothing to fear from the snake. It is easy to operate and is an effective alternative to plumbing repairs. Okay, so you’ve decided to use a snake to unclog your pipe. Do you have one? If you rarely use a snake in your home you might want to consider renting one. Most tool rental shops have snakes in varying sizes for rent – from hand-held to electric. But it is a good idea to have one around for emergencies and you can find hand-held snakes for under $10 (often named “augers”). The first thing you need to do is prep for the job. Make sure you have cleared out an area to work on the plumbing and that you have plenty of rags to mop up any spills or drips. It is a good idea to lay down some newspaper or plastic to keep the floor and cabinets dry, too. Make sure you have access to the pipe by removing any drain covering. Obviously you will have directly access to the toilet drain. Before operating the snake you should put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from the metal coils of the snake and any debris that might be in the pipe. Next, slowly feed the snake into the pipe. You may have to turn the snake in a clockwise direction to move it along. Once you have reached the clog – and you can usually tell when the snake stops feeding – it is time to rotate the snake into the clog and loosen it up. The head or tip of snake should be able to grab on the debris so that you can pull it back out and dispose of it. In the process, some of the debris may wash away down the pipe and that’s okay (well, as long as it doesn’t accumulate further down the circuit). You really want to use the snake head to “chew up” the debris for removal, rather than just pushing it further down the pipe. Once you have removed the debris clogging the pipe, run hot water down the pipes to wash away any remnants. Replace the drain cover if necessary and clean up your mess. Voila! If you have a stubborn clog that won’t snake out or if you just aren’t comfortable using a tool, call a Cambridge plumber to save you the effort.
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