The Surprising Reason Why Every Home Needs More Than One Plunger
When it comes to the hands-on plumbing maintenance in your home, two plungers are always better than one.
Did you know that different clogs in different areas–sink vs. toilet, for example–call for different types of plungers? If you are going to tackle a clogged drain on your own, having one of each in the house is best. This way, you are always prepared for any plumbing emergency that could arise in your home.
The Two Types of Plungers You Should Keep at Home
When it comes to home maintenance, you always want to be prepped and ready for any kind of issue. Get ahead of your plumbing woes by having these two plungers on hand.
A sink plunger is obviously designed to unclog your sink. This style of plunger is the one most commonly seen in stores and stock photos. It has a flat bottom and usually a shorter handle.
To use a sink plunger, you must first remove the top of the sink hole stopper or cover. By adding a touch of water to the sink, you will ease the process of clearing the clog.
Next, you must create a strong seal by placing the sink plunger over the drain. Apply enough force to feel the pressure of the seal. Then remove the plunger and check to see if the drain is clear. You may need to repeat this process a few times to clear the clog.
Simply put, a toilet plunger is a basic tool for plumbing maintenance and is used to unclog a toilet. Toilets typically get clogged from too much toilet tissue or random items being flushed that should not be placed in the toilet.
Toilet plungers are different from sink plungers because they have a flared cup. This little flare, or flap, fits into the toilet drain opening, which makes for better suction.
Using a toilet plunger is actually very simple. Much like a sink plunger, all it takes is a little pressure. Only this time it is around a larger opening. The force you apply here should work to push the clog out so the entire bowl can drain and become clear. Be sure there is water in the bowl to plunge effectively.
You will want to apply a good amount of pressure to the blockage in the toilet's U-trap. (FYI: the U-trap is a curving channel located inside the base of a toilet that leads from the bottom hole to the drainpipe.)
It could take a few tries to get the pressure and suction just right to clear the clog but stay patient and it should eventually clear itself out in a few tries.
How Plungers Work
Most people have had the not-so-fun experience of having to use a plunger to perform some plumbing maintenance. The way a plunger works is pretty much basic physics, specifically Boyle's law.
The moment you place the plunger over the drain opening, you are sealing it. Then when you push down, you are creating an increase in the pressure within the pipe. You can physically feel the tugging on the plunger as you do this, indicating that the area is sealed. This increase in pressure pushes the water down so that when you pull up on the plunger, the suction you created reduces the pressure and causes the water to rise.
How To Use a Plunger
To properly use the common plunger, push down on the cup against the drain opening. You will then do one of two things. You need to either press hard into the drain to force air in or push down until the rubber cup is flattened. You then pull it out, which creates a vacuum. This vacuum is what creates enough force to pull any blockage out of the drain and clear out the clog.
Is It Time to Call a Plumber?
You’ve given it your best try but the clogged drain or toilet just won’t budge. It’s time to call in the professional. It’s also time to call for help if you notice other things like the smell of sewage in the air or if more than one of your drains is experiencing issues.
A plumber is more equipped and trained to use more advanced tools to remedy your problem. They can bring along a special plumbing maintenance tool called a snake to clear the drains. Clearing a drain or clog is something you can typically handle on your own, and many things can be fixed easily, but it’s always best to call a professional if your attempt to use a plunger on the clog does not work.
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