How to use a ferret to unclog a drain ?

After expressing a few suspicious gurgles, your piping ended up clogging completely. Clogged sink, full toilet bowl… How to solve this problem as quickly as possible? Before you call the plumber, run out to buy expensive, polluting chemicals, or mess around with a plunger, try the simplest solution first. Using a snake to unclog your drain is easy, fast and really economical.

A ferret ? What is that ?

“He runs, he runs, the ferret…” No, it’s not about this charming rodent that runs in childhood memories. In the DIY department, it is rather called… rat tail! The ferret is a particularly simple tool. It is made up of a long flexible stem, with a crank and a handle at one end, and a sort of corkscrew at the other end. Its formidable efficiency lies in its simplicity of use. Thus equipped, no clogged pipe will resist you. Indeed, its long stem is easily introduced into any piping; its corkscrew stem pierces the cork and disintegrates it without difficulty.

Before using a ferret, check the shape of the siphon.

The clog is usually located at the siphon or an elbow, where waste tends to accumulate. It is possible that disassembling these elements will be enough to solve the problem. But if the cap is beyond, the use of a ferret is essential.

Depending on the shape of the siphon, it may need to be dismantled. Is it a bent, straight, flat siphon, a kitchen sink, a shower…?

  • A bent siphon : no need to dismantle because the ferret adapts without problem to the curves of the siphon.
  • A straight or flat siphon : the ferret cannot turn at right angles. Dismantle the siphon and introduce the ferret directly into the pipe.
  • An integrated siphon : this is generally the case for shower drains. Remove the plug and the integrated siphon before passing the ferret. (Take the opportunity to clean the drain before putting it back in place.)

Before dismantling the siphon, install a basin just below. Unscrew the rings that hold the siphon, then let the impurities flow out. Finally, dismantle the siphon. It’s time to use your ferret. It is not necessary to turn off the water beforehand.

How to use the ferret to unclog the drain?

Nothing’s easier. The handling of the ferret varies however according to the shape of the siphon.

Elbow siphon: turn the crank while gradually introducing the ferret into the drain. When you get to the cap, turn the ferret on itself to clear the area. Take out the ferret’s head to clean it; repeat the operation until the clog is completely cleared.

Straight or flat siphon: once the siphon is dismantled, you can insert the ferret’s head into the pipe. Turn the crank, the ferret gradually sinks to the stopper. Take the ferret’s head out from time to time to clean it and introduce the ferret again. When the unclogging operation is complete, reassemble the siphon and tighten the rings using an adjustable wrench or pliers.

Either way, take it easy. If you feel that the ferret touches an obstacle, turn the crank gently, without forcing, until the head pierces the cork. Once the clog is absorbed, rinse the installation.

A little tip: to prevent clogs from forming, remember to clean the pipe from time to time with a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar.

After unclogging, check your installation.

Be sure that water drainage is done correctly. To do this, you just have to close the drain of your sink and fill it with water. When you unclog the sink, see if the water flows at its usual rate. If so, congratulations: the unclogging is a success! But if the evacuation is done too slowly, it is better to repeat the operation until the complete unclogging. A new passage of the ferret is necessary.

Also check that the siphon does not leak, which can happen if it was reassembled too quickly. By placing your hand on the siphon, you can spot if water is flowing out of it. If it leaks, take the time to check that each part of the siphon is correctly reassembled, and that the rings are screwed on properly. If necessary, tighten the rings.

In some cases, the ferret cannot reach the plug, located beyond an accessible area. As a last resort, you can use a suction cup or a dedicated product.

I don’t have a ferret on hand, what should I do?

Do not panic ! If you are caught off guard by a large cork, you can make a booster ferret yourself. Sacrifice a wire hanger and unfold it to make a sort of bottle brush that you can infiltrate into the pipes. But this emergency formula only works if the clog is not located too far in the pipe. A real ferret can enter up to several meters, well beyond the possibilities of your hanger. If your pipes tend to clog regularly, the ferret will be of great service to you. You will easily find them in any DIY store, manual or electric, for a very reasonable budget. Much cheaper than a visit from the plumber, it will help you dissolve most clogs in minutes.

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