Plunger Facts You Should Know

Most homes have at least one plunger stored in the bathroom or garage. For years, these items have been considered an absolute necessity. While they are useful tools to have around in case of plumbing clogs, when used incorrectly, they can be ineffective or cause more problems than they cure. You need to know when and how to use a plunger.

Plunger Types

You've seen different types of plungers at the store, but you may not have realized that each has its own purpose. A true toilet plunger has a cup set inside the bowl of the plunger. This cup is designed to fit over the toilet drain and seal there, allowing you to get enough suction to dislodge whatever is clogging the toilet. The plungers without this cup are meant for the sink. When you use the wrong plunger type, you simply will not get the seal you need for the plunger to be as effective as possible.

Plunger Procedure

When you do use a plunger on your toilet, you need to exercise caution. Often homeowners plunge a clog hard and fast, exerting as much pressure as possible. You need to fit the plunger over the drain and slowly, yet firmly, press down until it is fully "compressed." Then, quickly pull back the plunger. You will be pulling the clog back toward the toilet, which is what you want to do. You are loosening the clog so that it can eventually be flushed away. If you plunge too wildly, you can damage your fixture and possibly push water through the wax seal, causing leaking and the need for more repairs.

Plungers and Chemicals

One huge mistake is using a plunger after you've used a chemical drain solution in your toilet or sink. Some experts caution against ever using these drain openers, but if you choose to do so, you need to add them after you've already tried plunging. If you plunge afterward, you can easily suffer from dangerous chemical burns. Some of the liquid stays in the clogged mess and can splash back on you or anyone else nearby.

The handy plumbing plunger is still an excellent tool for DIY attempts at getting rid of clogs in the toilet or sinks. If used properly, you may be able to take care of these plumbing issues yourself. If, despite your best efforts, the clog remains a problem, you need to call your local plumber. Too much plunging on your part can lead to additional plumbing issues.