Floor drains are common in showers.

Floor drains are common in basements, showers and laundry rooms. Their main function is to carry wastewater away from your home. Over a period of time, they can accumulate dirt, hair, grease, soap scum and an array of other debris that can form a blockage in the pipe. When the drain becomes clogged, the wastewater can back up into your home, causing unsanitary conditions. Clearing the blockage is required to restore the floor drain to working condition.

Floor drain blockages can be tough to remove. Sometimes, a simple piece of wire inserted into a shower drain can pull out enough hair to unclog it. However, they often require using a manual snake or electric power auger to cut through the material causing the blockage to restore service.

Manual snakes

A manual snake — available at most hardware stores — is a device used to unclog drains. Usually available in 25- to 50-foot lengths, the flexible steel cable incorporates a handle used for twisting the device into the drain. These simple devices are effective for minor blockages and are easy to use.

Electric power augers

Electric power augers or snakes — available at tool rental centers — are mechanical devices designed to handle tough blockages a manual snake cannot. The power auger is similar to a manual snake but incorporates an electric motor to turn and feed the cable into the drain. A foot pedal connected to the machine activates the motor, allowing you to use both hands to guide the cable. Various sizes of cutting heads attach to the cable end, which lets the machine accommodate different pipe sizes and blockages.

Drawbacks

Manual snakes, while very effective handling small blockages, are limited when it comes to tough blockages or those farther down the line. A power auger, while simple in appearance, requires some experience and finesse to operate effectively and safely. A power auger can damage your pipes or cause bodily harm when used incorrectly.

Snaking a drain line is also a very messy job. If you plan to do it yourself, be prepared for the smell and assortment of material that might be extracted. Wear protective gear and cover inside flooring for easier cleanup. Homeowners without plumbing experience are better off leaving this messy job to the professionals.

Homeowners in Stockbridge and beyond seeking additional expert advice or service can contact Delta The Educated Plumber. Since 1974, Delta has provided its customers with outstanding service and support.

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