How to Troubleshoot a Stuck Plumbing Snake

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Things You'll Need

  • Basin

  • Medium-sized plumbing wrench

  • Large pots or kettles

  • Drain-cleaning gel

If your plumbing snake (also known as a drain auger) gets stuck while you attempt to wrestle a blockage out of your drainpipe, you've obviously got a persistent obstruction on your hands. A stuck snake can be frustrating, but there are a number of ways to dislodge it. The key is finding a way of getting it out of the drain without breaking it. Finding the way that works best for you can also help you solve the bigger problem: that of the blocked drain itself.


Step 1

Switch your snake into reverse and slowly but firmly pull the snake upward and out of the drain. Use rhythmic tugs rather than one firm yank, as this may break the snake.

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Step 2

Place a basin underneath the U-bend extending from the bottom of the offending drain. Unscrew the lugs holding the bend in place with a medium-sized plumbing wrench to expose the trapped drain snake. Fish the snake out of its blockage, and pull it up and out of the drain.


Step 3

Fill two to three large pots or kettles with water and bring these to a boil. Hold the handle of the drain snake to the side as you pour half a bottle of drain-cleaning gel down the drain, following this with the pots of boiling water. Wait 10 minutes, then turn the snake on, first in forward then reverse, to remove it from the softened blockage, which should disperse as the snake is removed.


Before replacing the U-bend in Step 2, try shifting the blockage by pushing it with a drain brush.


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