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Nearly every household has at least one plunger, and when a clog occurs in the bathroom, it’s essential to have on hand. No homeowner wants to be left without a plunger, but have you ever wondered if you’re using your plunger right? Not only will we tell you how to use a plunger the correct way but we will also discuss the different types of plungers and the best way to use them.
What Is A Plunger?
A plunger has a long handle with a large rubber cup at the end. When used correctly, a plunger can unclog pipes and have them run more efficiently. There’s no clear answer as to who invented the plunger. Many say that the plunger got its first use around the late 1700’s or early 1800’s.
While the design of a plunger is relatively simple, it is a powerful tool. When the plunger is pressed down, over a clog, it forces air into the drain and increases pressure. When the clog is moved, the air will continue to move through the pipes. Pulling back up on the plunger creates a vacuum and forcing anything in the pipe upwards and out.
How To Use A Plunger?
Most people reach for the plunger when the toilet becomes clogged and isn’t flushing correctly. You can use a plunger on other clogs throughout the house, such as in sinks, and many times a plunger will fix the issue and save you a call to your plumber.
When is it time to grab the plunger? Whenever there is evidence of a clog, it’s a good idea to try out a plunger. While it may not fix every plumbing issue, it’s an easy and convenient first step to take before you call a pro.
Choosing The Right Plunger
Even though all plungers are designed to unclog a drain, some plungers are best suited for different types of clogs. Let’s take a look at some of the different plungers, so you know which one is best for you.
If you have a plunger, you probably the standard plunger. This type typically has a wooden handle and an orange rubber cup. Standard plungers come in a variety of surfaces, and while they can be used for a variety of clogs, they are best used for flat surfaces over a sink drain or in a slow draining bathtub.
While a standard plunger may help unclog your toilet, it’s ideal to have a plunger that’s specifically designed for a toilet. Like a standard plunger, toilet plungers have a long handle and a rubber cup (often black).
The design difference is a flap (or flange) that folds out from the inside of the cup and is intended to fit into the toilet drain opening; which helps form a better seal and apply more effective pressure when plunging. Since the flap folds back into the cup, this type of plunger is also suitable for sinks and tubs.
Another toilet plunger referred to as an “accordion” plunger. Rather than a traditional flexible rubber cup, the cup is made of hard plastic and is an accordion design. While it’s a forceful plunger, it’s not as versatile as traditional toilet plungers.
When selecting the type of plunger you want, it all comes down to personal preference. It’s a good idea to have one plunger for each toilet in your home and one other standard or multi-purpose plunger for other non-toilet clogs.
Plungers are relatively inexpensive and available everywhere from your local grocery store to online.
Now that you know more about plungers and which ones are best for certain clogs let’s take a look at how to use a plunger.
Using A Plunger In Your Toilet
When your toilet looks like to overflow, wait about ten minutes.
After waiting at least ten minutes, turn off the water supply hose on your toilet (located on the wall behind the toilet). If the water in the toilet is still close to overflowing, remove some of the water. If the water level is too low, add more water to fill the toilet bowl approximately halfway; having the right amount of water can make plunging more effective.
Using a plunger, make sure the flange is out from the inside of the cup. As you put your plunger in the water, the cup should be covered with water, and the rubber ring of the flange should be inserted into the drain opening in the bowl.
Put even pressure, pushing and pulling for about 20 seconds. Avoid breaking the “seal” with the drain and keep the plunger in the water.
Unclogging Tub, Sink, or Shower
It’s easy to use a plunger on a bathtub, sink, or shower. As we mentioned earlier, standard plungers work best on clogs that are not in a toilet.
Take note that if you plan to use a chemical for unclogging drains that you don’t use a plunger (as noted on the warnings on the bottle). A plunger could splash around the toxic chemical and cause harm to you.
If you unclog a sink drain, tub, or shower, make sure to cover the overflow drain if one is present. Covering the overflow drain helps create a stronger suction.
Place the cup of the plunger over the drain and using firm pressure, push and pull the plunger. Similar to plunging a toilet, plunge the drain for about 20 seconds.
If you continue to have a slow drain, try plunging more and use extra force.
Taking Care Of Your Plunger
While most plunger handles are designed to screw into the cup, you may want to consider replacing your plunger when the handle moves around too much or if the cup starts to crack. A damaged plunger is less likely to create good suction, and you may end up working harder than necessary to unclog a drain.
For sanitary purposes, it’s a good idea to keep it clean. You may also decide to soak your plunger in bleach. If you have a large toilet bowl, you may clean the plunger in the toilet; make sure the cleaning solution is safe for your toilet. After cleaning the plunger, let it dry and keep it someplace convenient.
If you want to keep your plunger nearby, you can always store it in a bathroom closet. If you store a plunger in a bucket, just make sure to clean the container.