If your drains are prone to clogging, you probably have lots of experience with using the plunger or chemical drain openers. The former does not always work and the later can be damaging to your pipes. As an alternative, you can purchase a drain snake, but you need to use it properly so that you don't do more harm than good.
Drain Snake Basics
You can purchase a super inexpensive model, but for more reach and drain-clearing power, you may want to invest in a longer version. However, you can get a decent drain snake for under $50.00. Before you dive in, you'll want to prepare the area and yourself for some nasty sludge. Wear protective gloves and cover the immediate area with towels or rags. What comes up on the snake may be a grease, hair, and toothpaste mixture that is truly frightening to behold. You will want a bucket nearby to hold the mess once you bring it out. Remember to dump the goo in the garbage. Do not attempt to flush it down the toilet unless you want another clog.
The actual snaking is not difficult. You need to feed the snake into the drain, slowly turning the handle as you do so. You will feel the tension in the snake when it hits the clog, but keep turning until you believe you've sufficiently penetrated the blockage. Then pull the snake back out, and, hopefully, the clog will come with it. Once you pull off the nasty gunk and discard it in the bucket, all you need to do is flush out the pipes by turning on the water.
Although you may be able to snake some moderate clogs out of your drains on your own, serious clogs may be beyond your skill level. Plus, indiscriminate snaking can cause serious plumbing problems. You can puncture your pipes if you are too aggressive with the snake, particularly in homes with older plumbing systems. Do not try and force your drain open. When a clog is stubborn, call in the professionals, like http://terryrossplumbing.com/. Paying for a plumber is much more affordable than paying for replacement pipes.
A drain snake is a good item to have in your homeowner's arsenal. As long as you proceed with caution, using one on clogs can be a fast and inexpensive way to get things flowing again. Do exercise caution because you can puncture or crack your pipes if you apply too much force. For truly difficult clogs, call in a plumber. Save the do-it-yourself attempts for less serious occurrences.