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Snaking a Shower Drain: A Comprehensive Guide

Snaking a Shower Drain

The shower drain is why your bathtub doesn’t clog after every shower and may be the most neglected part of the bathroom when cleaning. Without regular maintenance, it can lead to a whole new mess taking over your bathroom.

If you notice that the water in your tub drains slowly or not at all, then you probably need to snake your shower drain! Snaking is the easiest way to clean out all the gunk, hair, and soap inside your drain. Using a plumber’s snake is much safer than chemical cleaners since it won’t damage your pipes.

Are you in the middle of a shower drain crisis? To restore the flow in your drain, give this article a read! We’ll offer the best advice on how to snake a shower drain correctly!

What Is Snaking?

Snaking refers to a plumber’s technique for cleaning shower drains. Professionals use a snake-like tool to slip into the drain and collect all kinds of gunk obstructing the normal water flow in the drains. The manual drain snake is a flexible, 25-foot-long steel cable that easily slips into the drain. You navigate the tool through the coils and wires attached to the crank inside the cable. The plumber needs to turn the handle of the drain snake to start the rotations, which will dislodge the clog.

Snaking also refers to the type of cable movement inside the pipe. The steel cable looks like it’s slithering down your drain, slowly encircling hair, shampoo residue, and all kinds of debris!

Snaking can be done with numerous types of drain snakes. The best type of snake shower drain for bathtubs and sink drains is a hand auger. This tool works by reaching down your tub’s drain and removing all the debris causing the blockage.

When to Use a Drain Snake?

The situation calls for snaking if every time you take a shower, your tub turns into a pool. Here are some other similar situations that call for snaking before becoming a more significant hazard.

Slow-draining Tub or Sink

The first signs of a fully clogged drain are a slow-draining sink and shower drain. Your drain is not draining all the way because of the soft clogs that get lodged up from 15 to 25 feet down the drain line. You can use the plumber’s snake down the drain and break up or pull up whatever is clogging it.

If a Plunger Does Not Work

If your home plunger does not unclog your drain, there must be bigger and more serious clogging. In such cases, snaking a shower drain or sink is the better alternative because it’s much gentler. Plumber snakes are safer to use on stubborn clogs than plungers because they don’t apply too much pressure on tiles.

Water Backups

If you notice that your drain is making the dirty water return, then it’s probably clogged. If the water just continues to rise without showing signs of sinking, you should try using a drain snake.

Chemical Cleaners Don’t Work

Although chemical cleaners are not recommended for their dangerous ingredients, using one on your drain can sometimes do the trick. If the clogged material inside your drain is easily corrosive, the chemical liquid cleaner will unclog it. However, if the build-up inside your drain is too strong, the cleaning solution will just circle around it and corrode your pipes.

Foul Odor Rising From the Drains

Noticing a foul odor from the drain is the most alarming sign that you need to clean your drain. An array of reasons can cause a bad smell from the drain, but the main reason is the appearance of bacteria due to long periods without cleaning or declogging. Clean it or call a professional immediately if you notice a foul odor. The smell can worsen if you ignore it and even cause the rise of dirty water.

Bubbling or Gurgling Sounds

The bubbling or gurgling sounds you hear coming from the shower drain result from a blockage forming inside your pipes. The gurgling sound you hear is the air bubbles trying to escape your drain. When there’s a clog in the drain, air pockets appear around the clog, causing the trapped air to escape with the water that flows down your sink or bath.

Puddles of Water Near Drains

Seeing puddles of water near water drains in your home is a clear sign of a clog. If the puddles appear even when you are not using the appliances, then it’s a sign of concern. This can be a result of a leaky pipe, a breakage, or a clog. Make sure to examine every drain in the house and communicate with professionals.

How to Snake a Shower Drain: Step-by-Step

There are many ways to unclog a drain, but snaking it is a guaranteed fix. Can you snake a shower drain without contacting a plumbing service? Although it should be left to professionals, homeowners can also snake the drains themselves.

Here’s how to snake shower drain issues by yourself!

Gather Gloves, Goggles, and a Bucket

You’ll need gloves and goggles if you snake a shower drain yourself. Using a drain cleaner is dangerous, so protecting your hands will do the trick. Keep a bucket nearby to put the gunk inside, and protect your eyes with goggles in case the drain snake pulls out something unexpectedly.

Find a Plumber’s Snake

You’ll need to get either a manual or electric plumber’s snake to snake your drain. Electric snakes are much easier to clean with, and some manuals allow you to attach an electric drill to power up the tool and push through a clog.

Insert the Plumber’s Snake Into the Drain

Slowly push the plumber’s snake inside the drain and continue pushing it down the pipe. Once the snake is inside a few inches, crank the handle. The handle will enable the snake to descend even more down the drain.

Crank the Handle Harder

Once the drain snake starts to descend, you might encounter other obstacles. One functional way to go through the barriers is to crank up the handle a little harder or wiggle the wire. The key is to never stop turning the handle, and at some point, the snake will meet the blockage.

Apply Pressure and Rotate

Once you encounter the blockage and the snake cannot go further, start rotating it. While circling it around, the snake will capture all the hair and residue that remains in the drain. Remember to apply just the right amount of force while rotating the drain snake.

Remove the Plumber’s Snake

Once you finish rotating the snake, move the cable up and down to pull and release any leftover gunk. If you feel no resistance, prepare the bucket and pull out the plumbing snake. The clog will either come out in pieces or a solid chunk, so shake all the debris off your tool. If nothing comes out with the snake, repeat the process of pushing and rotating as many times as needed.

Dispose of and Check if the Clog is Gone

Once you pull the snake from the drain, clean it and dispose of the gunk in the bucket. Do not throw it into the toilet, and wear goggles and gloves while disposing of it. Finally, turn your shower on to see if the clog is completely removed. If the water is successfully draining, you have managed to snake your shower drain properly!

Showers & Drain Snakes: Final Words

Clogged shower drains can ruin your pipes and cause damage to your bathroom. The most important thing to solve the issue is to tackle it from the very beginning and before it develops a foul odor.

Although it seems easy, snaking requires skill, experience, and plumbing knowledge. People who tried to do it alone have either partially or unsuccessfully attempted to clean their drains.

Snaking is rather straightforward, but you need to know where to aim and when to rotate! If you want to leave the matter to professionals, make sure to reach out to Cummings Plumbing in Tucson!  We’ll give you a free estimate and fair prices, so come down to Cummings Plumbing and let us take care of your pipes!

FAQ About Snaking Your Drain

Is it better to snake a drain or use Drano?

Drano contains dangerous chemicals that are not strong enough to unclog a shower drain, so it is better to use a snake drain.

Can a drain snake break a pipe?

A drain snake cannot directly cause a pipe to break, but it can scratch them and damage the coating. This may lead to cracks or rusting in the pipes, which may cause a pipe to break.

How often should you snake a shower drain?

Snaking your shower drain can be done at least once a month to remove residue and hair, and professional cleaning of the whole draining system should be done once a year.

Is it worth buying a drain snake?

A drain snake provides much more advantages than chemical drain cleaners. It is useful to have one in case a sudden clog occurs.

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