Augers and Plungers
Augers and plungers are both non-mechanical devices that can save you from having to call a plumber to unclog your toilet or shower drain. Heavy-duty electric snakes can also quickly and effectively free a clogged drain.
This buying guide highlights the available augers and plungers and provides helpful tips to unclog a drain.
Augers clear blockages in sinks, tubs and toilets and provide deep access to clear hard-to-reach areas
- Augers consist of and handle and flexible cable with a corkscrew on the end that must be hand-fed down into the drain. The handle then turns the end of the cable, which either hooks the clogged material so it can be pulled back out, or pushes the obstruction through the pipe.
- Power augers use a built in motor or attach to a drill that feeds the cable down and back up and range from 50 to 200 feet in length.
- If you have a clogged toilet, look for an auger specially designed for these tasks.
- Flat tape can be used to clear clogs in pipes larger than 2-inches in diameter as it is more rigid than coil and can handle larger obstacles.
- Rocket nozzles produce a highly pressurized stream of water that chews up or disintegrates obstructions and can clear lines ranging from ½ - 8-inch pipe.
Plungers are best suited for clearing shallow clogs in sinks, bathtubs, showers and floor drains
- Typically consist of a rubber cup attached to a wooden, metal or plastic handle.
- Position the rubber cup around the drain to create a seal and then an up-and-down plunging motion is applied to the device to create suction that draws out blockages.
- Toilet plungers are bell-shaped and feature a protruding rim. The rim allows it to fit more precisely around opening for greater efficiency.
- Make sure your first plunge is slow and gentle. If you plunge too quickly, the air inside the plunger will be forced out around the seal, shooting contaminated water from the toilet bowl all over the bathroom.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger if you have trouble getting a good seal.
- Built-in corkscrew is used to pull clogged materials back out of the drain or push them through
- Requires manual operation
- For pipes 2-inches in diameter or larger
- May end in a corkscrew (for pulling clogged materials out) or spearhead (for pushing obstructions through)
- Connects to a low torque drill or has mounted motor for power operation
- Uses high-pressure water to clear tough clogs
- Flexible cable easily maneuvers the twists and turns of toilet plumbing
- Ideal for shallow clogs in sinks, toilets, showers and floor drains
- Special design works well in clearing toilet blockages that are not too deep
Seek out the highest clean-out point you can find and begin the unclogging process there
- Avoid applying chemicals if you plan to use a plunger.
- Fill a sink with a few inches of water before plunging to allow the plunger to create suction.
- If your sink has an overflow hole or you’re plunging one side of a double sink, be sure to cover any openings you’re not working with. Failing to do so will result in a lack of air pressure needed to break up the clog.
- When trying to clear the drain in the sink, you will need to remove the trap and slide the auger directly into the pipe.
- Try to hook the blockage with an auger and pull it back through the pipe toward you instead of pushing it through the drainage pipe.
- Push snakes into the drain with some force and twist to work around bends in the pipe.
- Wear gloves and keep a bucket and rags handy when plunging.