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- Plumbing Tools
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Pump the handle downward, collapsing the cup. This forces air into the pipes, increasing the pressure on the blockage, which may break up the material that is clogging the pipe. Work the tool up and down five to ten times. Repeat again if necessary.
If the material still has not been loosened, you may need to resort to the drain auger.
The Drain Auger. The drain auger is used when a plunger is unable to open a blocked drain line. It consists of a twisted wire hook and auger fastened to the end of a steel spring coil. More expensive models come with a crank and with a storage canister into which the length of the coil can be withdrawn, while simpler varieties are wound by hand into a coil. Coils of various diameters are sold, but three-eighths and half- inch coils are usual.
To use the drain auger, the end is inserted into the pipe. If your blockage is in a sink, remove the trap beneath the sink first. That way you can be sure the clog isn't simply at that point and easily removed by hand. By removing the trap, you also open up a more direct access to the drain lines beyond. (One suggestion: when you remove the trap, position a pail or other watertight receptacle beneath it to catch the water contained within.)
Push the auger in until it reaches the blockage. One of this tool's nicknames, the snake, describes the way it twists and weaves, following the bends in the pipe.
At one or several points, it may refuse to travel any further into the pipe. That doesn't necessarily mean you've reached the blockage, but the end of the snake may have reached angled fittings and may need a little persuading to continue its journey. Try twisting the snake in a cranking motion, using the built-in cranking handle that can be tightened (using a set screw) to the length of the coil. If your snake doesn't have a crank, position one hand on the snake where it enters the trap. With the other, grip the snake about eighteen inches further along its length. Then crank it, rotating your hands as if you were pedaling a bicycle.
The cranking motion should be in a clockwise direction (when looking into the end of the pipe). If you have reached the blockage, the turning snake will engage the blockage, and the twisted steel auger at its end will bore into the material, either causing it to break up or allowing you to pull it back out. If the resistance you felt was not the blockage but a fitting, the cranking motion, together with some pushing pressure, will allow the snake to advance in the drain line.
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