Whether you decide to install a urinal in your home, or you operate a business that has washrooms for your guests, those urinals will need maintenance from time to time. Yes, they can get clogged, and one option to turn to when they do is to use an auger. Today, we want to teach you exactly how to snake a urinal.
We will be providing you with a step-by-step tutorial on the matter. We’ll also talk about the type of snake or auger you need to use, as well as what some of the best alternatives are.
Can a Regular Toilet Snake Be Used with Urinals?
The first thing that many people wonder is if they can use their toilet snake to unclog and clear out a urinal. Although a noble thought, the answer here is a solid no. Toilet snakes and urinal snakes are not the same things. Sure, the concept is the same, and indeed, the way they function is the same too. However, there is a major difference between the two, size.
Yes, in some cases size does matter! Simply put, toilets are meant for both liquid and solid waste, whereas urinals are meant for liquid waste only. Due to this, toilet traps and pipes are much wider, to accommodate solid waste and toilet paper. Wider drains and pipes require larger snake diameters. In other words, a toilet snake will just be too big for a urinal. You won’t even be able to fit it in there.
How to Snake a Urinal
Now that you know that you do in fact need a real urinal snake for this task, and now that you have bought one, let’s go over a step-by-step tutorial on how to use it to get that urinal flowing freely once again.
Step 1: Remove the Drain Cover
Before you can even think about snaking out your urinal, so you can get the head of the snake into the urinal, you first need to remove the drain cover. All you need to do is to use a screwdriver with the appropriate bit to remove the screws from the drain cover, and then remove the drain cover. You can’t snake the urinal if that cover is there.
Step 2: Extend the Urinal Snake
One of the things that you need to watch out for here is scratching the urinal’s porcelain near the trap. To prevent this from happening, before you insert the coil of the urinal snake down into the urinal, you want to pull the handle of the urinal snake all the way up, so that the coil is hidden inside of the body. You don’t want that coil exposed as you go to put the snake into the urinal.
Step 3: Put the Boot to the Drain
A urinal snake should come with a so-called boot. This is like a little rubber cylinder that is hollow in the middle, and it is located right on the front, where the head of the snake’s coil comes out. You want to press this boot against the drain, and get it down into the drain as much as possible.
This rubber boot, when properly positioned, will prevent the metal coil of the urinal snake from rubbing and potentially damaging the porcelain of the urinal. Damaged porcelain is a big problem, so this needs to be avoided at all costs.
Step 4: Insert the Snake and Crank it
Now, push down on the handle of the urinal snake, which will cause the coil to move down into the drain. Extend it as far as you can. One of two things will happen here. Either you will hit the blockage, or the snake won’t be long enough to get to the blockage.
Slowly crank the handle, and if you do feel the blockage (if there is one, you will feel it), once you hit it, very slowly push into the clog and crank the handle clockwise. This should cause the clog to attach to the head of the coil.
You should then be able to pull the clog out by slowly turning the snake the other way while also pulling it out of the urinal. If the clog remains or you cannot find it, then you will need to use another method to unclog the urinal, or more likely, you’ll need professional help.
3 Best Alternatives to Urinal Snake
There are of course alternatives to using a urinal snake, so let’s take a quick look at the best ones right now.
In all reality, a plunger is the first thing that you should have tried using before a urinal snake. A plunger may very well create enough pressure to blast a clog right through the urinal. Plungers are also much cheaper, and the chances of you already having one are much bigger than you having a urinal snake.
If you don’t have a urinal snake, and the plunger didn’t work, something you can try doing is using vinegar. Vinegar has the ability to dissolve both uric acid crystals and hard water buildups. Just pour a couple of liters of white vinegar into the urinal and let it sit for as long as it takes to unclog it. If you have multiple urinals (such as in a place of business), you will need to fill the water system with several gallons of vinegar to flush it through all of them at once.
#3] Drain Cleaner
Perhaps the easiest alternative to go with here is some simple enzymatic drain cleaner that will quite literally eat through and dissolve any hard water or uric acid clogs in the urinal. Just follow the directions on your product of choice.
There you have it folks, everything you need to know about how to unclog a urinal with a urinal snake. As you can see, there are of course alternatives to the snake, but which method you choose is something we will leave up to you.