How to Use a Drum Auger

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how to use a drum auger


Let’s explore the world of drum augers, where clogs meet their match! If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of a stubborn clog in your plumbing system, then the drum auger is the tool you need. This powerful device is designed to tackle even the toughest clogs, providing a quick and effective solution to your plumbing woes.

But what exactly is a drum auger? Well, think of it as a superhero for your pipes. It’s a long, flexible cable housed in a drum-like container, which can be easily maneuvered through your plumbing system. The cable is equipped with a sharp cutting head at the end, allowing it to break up and remove obstructions with ease.

The main purpose of a drum auger is to clear clogs in your drains and pipes. Whether you’re dealing with a clogged toilet, sink, or bathtub, this trusty tool can come to the rescue. It works by snaking its way through the pipes, breaking up the clog and allowing the water to flow freely once again.

So, if you’re tired of dealing with slow drains and frequent backups, it’s time to get acquainted with the drum auger. In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at how this amazing tool works, how to use it properly, and some helpful tips and precautions to keep in mind. Get ready to bid farewell to clogs and say hello to smooth-flowing drains!

Understanding the Drum Auger

The drum auger is made up of several key components that work together to effectively clear clogs. At the heart of the drum auger is the drum itself, which houses the coiled cable. This cable is the star of the show, as it is what actually snakes its way through the pipes to reach the clog. It is flexible yet sturdy, allowing it to maneuver around bends and corners without getting stuck.

Attached to the end of the cable is the cutting head. This is the business end of the drum auger, responsible for breaking up the clog and clearing the way for water to flow freely. The cutting head comes in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of clog you’re dealing with. Some cutting heads have sharp blades, while others have hooks or barbs to grab onto the obstruction.

To operate the drum auger, you’ll find a handle on the drum that allows you to manually turn the cable. As you turn the handle, the cable will rotate, making its way through the pipes and breaking up the clog. Some drum augers also come with a motorized option, allowing for easier operation and less physical effort.

In addition to its components, the drum auger also boasts several features that make it a versatile and efficient tool. One such feature is the cable length. Drum augers typically come with cables of varying lengths, ranging from 15 to 50 feet or more. This allows you to choose the appropriate length based on the depth and location of the clog.

Another important feature is the drum auger’s ability to lock and unlock the cable. This feature allows you to easily extend or retract the cable as needed, ensuring smooth operation and preventing the cable from becoming tangled or stuck.

The drum auger is a powerful and reliable tool for clearing clogs in your drains and pipes. Its well-designed components and convenient features make it a must-have for any homeowner. With the drum auger by your side, you’ll be able to tackle even the toughest clogs with ease and restore the flow of water in no time.

Preparing for Use

Before you begin using a drum auger, it’s important to properly prepare it for use. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure that your drum auger is ready to tackle any clog.

First, check the cable length of your drum auger. The cable length will determine how far the auger can reach into your pipes. Measure the distance from the drain opening to the clog to determine if the cable is long enough. If not, you may need to purchase a longer cable or consider an alternative method.

Next, inspect the cable for any signs of damage or wear. Look for frayed or broken sections, as these can impact the performance of the auger. If you notice any issues, it’s best to replace the cable before using the auger.

Once you’ve checked the cable, ensure that the drum is securely attached to the auger. Give it a gentle tug to make sure it’s properly locked in place. A loose drum can lead to complications and make it difficult to feed the cable into the drain.

Before using the drum auger, it’s a good idea to wear protective gear such as gloves and safety glasses. This will help prevent any potential injuries while operating the auger.

Familiarize yourself with the controls and operation of the drum auger. Read the user manual or watch instructional videos to ensure that you understand how to safely operate the tool. This will ensure that you can effectively use the drum auger and avoid any accidents or damage to your plumbing system.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be well-prepared to use a drum auger and effectively clear any clogs in your drains and pipes.

Using the Drum Auger

Using a drum auger to clear a clog is a straightforward process that can save you from calling a professional plumber. Once you have properly prepared the drum auger and taken the necessary safety precautions, you can confidently tackle the task at hand.

To begin, insert the drum auger cable into the drain opening. As you feed the cable into the drain, apply gentle pressure and rotate the drum clockwise. This motion will help guide the cable through the pipe and navigate around any obstacles or bends.

As you continue to feed the cable, you may encounter resistance. This could indicate that the cable has reached the clog. Apply steady pressure and use a back-and-forth motion to break up the clog. The rotating drum will help the cable effectively dislodge and remove the debris.

While using the drum auger, it’s important to maintain a steady and controlled pace. Avoid rushing or forcing the cable, as this can cause damage to the pipes. Instead, maintain a consistent rhythm as you navigate the cable through the drain.

Once you feel that the clog has been cleared, slowly retract the cable from the drain. Again, use a gentle rotating motion to ensure that any remaining debris is thoroughly removed. As you remove the cable, be cautious of any potential splashing or mess.

After successfully clearing the clog, flush the drain with hot water to ensure that the pipes are clear and free of any remaining debris. This will help prevent future clogs and maintain the proper flow of water.

Remember, using a drum auger requires patience and precision. Take your time and be mindful of the process. With practice, you’ll become more confident in effectively using a drum auger to clear clogs and keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

So, the next time you encounter a stubborn clog, don’t panic. Grab your drum auger and follow these simple steps to tackle the problem head-on. You’ll save time, money, and gain a sense of accomplishment as you successfully clear the clog and restore the flow of water in your home.

Tips and Safety Precautions

When using a drum auger, it’s important to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to avoid accidents and injuries. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

First and foremost, always wear protective gloves and safety goggles before using a drum auger. This will protect your hands from any potential injuries and your eyes from splashes of water or debris.

Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and familiarize yourself with the specific features and operation of your drum auger. Each model may have slight variations, so it’s crucial to understand how to properly use the tool.

Before inserting the drum auger into the drain, ensure that the area is well-lit. Adequate lighting will help you visually inspect the drain and identify any obstructions or potential hazards.

Be cautious of the amount of force you apply when operating the drum auger. Excessive force can damage the pipes or cause the cable to become stuck. Use a gentle and controlled motion to avoid any mishaps.

It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings while using a drum auger. Keep children and pets away from the work area to prevent accidents. Additionally, be mindful of any electrical outlets or appliances nearby to avoid the risk of electric shock.

Finally, never leave a drum auger unattended while it’s in use. Always maintain a firm grip on the tool and stay focused on the task at hand. This will help prevent any unforeseen accidents and ensure your safety throughout the process.

By following these tips and safety precautions, you can confidently use a drum auger to clear clogs without compromising your well-being. Remember, safety should always be your top priority!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When using a drum auger, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to complications and frustration. One of the most common mistakes is applying too much force when operating the auger. While it may be tempting to forcefully push the cable into the drain, doing so can damage the pipes or cause the cable to become stuck. Instead, it’s crucial to use a gentle and controlled motion, allowing the auger’s rotating cable to do the work.

Another mistake to avoid is neglecting to wear proper protective gear. It’s essential to wear gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from any potential debris or splashes. Additionally, wearing protective clothing can help prevent any accidental contact with the cable or rotating components of the auger.

A common mistake is not properly inspecting the cable before each use. Over time, the cable can become worn or damaged, which can affect its effectiveness. Before inserting the cable into the drain, make sure to check for any signs of wear or fraying. Replace the cable if necessary to ensure optimal performance and prevent any further damage to the drain.

Another mistake to avoid is rushing through the process. Clearing a clog with a drum auger requires patience and precision. Take your time and allow the auger to work its way through the blockage. Avoid using excessive force or pulling the cable out too quickly, as this can cause the clog to become even more stubborn.

Do not neglect proper cleaning and maintenance of the drum auger after use. Failing to clean the cable and drum thoroughly can lead to buildup and reduce the effectiveness of the tool over time. Regularly clean and lubricate the cable to ensure smooth operation and extend the lifespan of your drum auger.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following the correct procedures, you can effectively use a drum auger to clear clogs without encountering any unnecessary difficulties. Remember, a little patience and attention to detail can go a long way in achieving successful results and maintaining the longevity of your drum auger.

Maintenance and Storage

Proper maintenance and storage are crucial for keeping your drum auger in optimal condition. After each use, it is important to clean the cable and drum thoroughly to remove any debris or residue that may have accumulated. Use a damp cloth or brush to wipe down the cable and drum, ensuring that all the dirt and grime are removed.

It is recommended to lubricate the cable before storing it. This helps to prevent rust and keeps the cable flexible for future use. Apply a small amount of lubricant along the length of the cable and work it in using your hands. This simple step can significantly extend the lifespan of your drum auger.

When it comes to storage, find a dry and secure place for your drum auger. Avoid leaving it exposed to the elements, as moisture and extreme temperatures can damage the tool. Consider investing in a storage case or bag specifically designed for drum augers to provide an extra layer of protection.

It is essential to store the drum auger properly to prevent any accidental damage. Make sure to retract the cable fully into the drum and secure it in place. This prevents tangles and keeps the cable neat and organized. Store the drum auger in an upright position to avoid any unnecessary strain on the cable and other components.

By following these maintenance and storage guidelines, you can ensure that your drum auger remains in excellent working condition for years to come. Regular cleaning and proper storage not only prolong the life of the tool but also contribute to its overall performance. Take care of your drum auger, and it will take care of your clogs.

Alternative Methods

While a drum auger is an effective tool for clearing clogs, there are alternative methods that can be used alongside or instead of it. These methods provide different approaches to tackling stubborn clogs and offer additional options to consider.

One alternative method is the use of a plunger. This simple yet effective tool creates pressure and suction to dislodge clogs in toilets, sinks, and drains. By creating a seal around the drain opening and applying forceful plunging motions, you can often clear minor clogs without the need for a drum auger.

Another option is the use of chemical drain cleaners. These products contain powerful chemicals that break down organic matter and dissolve clogs. While they can be effective, it’s important to use them with caution and follow the instructions carefully. Keep in mind that chemical drain cleaners may not be suitable for all types of pipes, so it’s important to check the compatibility before using them.

For more stubborn clogs, a plumbing snake can be a useful alternative. This flexible tool features a long cable with a coiled end that can be inserted into pipes to break up and remove clogs. Plumbing snakes come in various lengths and sizes, making them versatile for different types of clogs and pipe sizes.

Hydro jetting is a method that utilizes high-pressure water to clear clogs. This technique involves using a specialized machine to blast water into the pipes, effectively removing debris and obstructions. Hydro jetting is particularly effective for severe clogs and can help restore the flow of water in a pipe.

It’s important to note that while these alternative methods can be effective, they may not work for all types of clogs or pipe materials. In some cases, professional assistance may be required to ensure the safe and thorough removal of clogs. It’s always a good idea to assess the situation and consider the best course of action based on the severity of the clog and the resources available.

While a drum auger is a reliable tool for clearing clogs, there are alternative methods that can be used in conjunction with it or as standalone options. Whether it’s using a plunger, chemical drain cleaners, a plumbing snake, or hydro jetting, exploring these alternatives can provide additional options for effectively clearing clogs and maintaining a smooth-flowing plumbing system.


Even with proper use, there may be times when you encounter issues while using a drum auger. One common problem is a lack of progress when attempting to clear a clog. This could be due to a few different factors. First, check to ensure that the auger cable is properly inserted into the drain pipe and making contact with the clog. If the cable is not reaching the clog, adjust the length as needed. Another possible cause could be a weak or worn-out cable. Over time, the cable may become frayed or bent, reducing its effectiveness. In this case, it may be necessary to replace the cable.

Another issue you may come across is the drum auger getting stuck or jammed in the drain pipe. This can happen if the cable becomes tangled or if the auger head gets caught on a stubborn clog. To address this, carefully retract the cable from the pipe and remove any obstructions or tangles. If the auger head is stuck, try gently wiggling it back and forth to dislodge the clog.

Occasionally, you may experience an issue where the drum auger fails to rotate or spin. This could be caused by a few factors. First, check that the drum auger is securely attached to the drum and that the drum is engaged properly. If everything appears to be in order, the issue may be with the motor or power source. Check the power cord for any damage and ensure that it is plugged in securely. If the motor is not functioning, it may need to be repaired or replaced.

If you notice that the drum auger is not effectively clearing the clog or that the clog keeps coming back, it could be an indication of a more serious plumbing issue. In this case, it is recommended to seek professional assistance. A plumber can assess the situation and determine if there are any underlying problems that need to be addressed.

Remember, when troubleshooting issues with a drum auger, always prioritize safety. Wear protective gloves and eyewear, and be cautious when working with the auger cable. If you are unsure about how to troubleshoot a specific problem, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek guidance from a professional plumber.


Here are some frequently asked questions related to using a drum auger.

Q: How do I know if a drum auger is the right tool for my clogged drain?

A: A drum auger is typically used for medium to heavy-duty clogs in toilets, sinks, and tubs. If you have a stubborn clog that cannot be cleared using a plunger or a drain snake, a drum auger is a good option.

Q: Can I use a drum auger on a fragile or old plumbing system?

A: It’s important to exercise caution when using a drum auger on fragile or old plumbing systems. The rotating auger cable can potentially damage weak or corroded pipes. If you’re unsure about the condition of your plumbing, it’s best to consult a professional plumber.

Q: How far can a drum auger reach?

A: The reach of a drum auger can vary depending on the model. Most drum augers have a cable length of 25 to 50 feet, which is generally sufficient to clear most clogs. However, if you have a particularly long or deep pipe, you may need to consider a drum auger with a longer cable.

Q: Can I use a drum auger to unclog a main sewer line?

A: While drum augers can be effective for clearing clogs in individual drains, they may not be suitable for unclogging main sewer lines. Main sewer line clogs often require more powerful equipment, such as a sewer jetter or a plumber’s snake.

Q: Can a drum auger damage my pipes?

A: When used correctly, a drum auger should not damage your pipes. However, if used improperly or with excessive force, the rotating auger cable can cause damage to weak or compromised pipes. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and exercise caution when using a drum auger.


A drum auger is a versatile tool that can be used to effectively clear clogs in most household drains. We have discussed the components and features of a drum auger, as well as provided step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and use it. It is important to keep in mind some safety precautions, such as wearing protective gear and using the auger correctly to avoid damaging your pipes. We have also highlighted common mistakes to avoid and provided tips on proper maintenance and storage of the drum auger.

While a drum auger is a useful tool, it may not be suitable for unclogging main sewer lines, which may require more powerful equipment. It is always recommended to consult a professional plumber for such situations. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and exercise caution when using a drum auger to ensure optimal results and prevent any potential damage to your pipes.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable information on how to effectively use a drum auger to clear clogs and keep your drains flowing smoothly. With the right knowledge and proper usage, you can tackle clogs with confidence and maintain a functional plumbing system in your home. Happy unclogging!