Know your Plungers

Know your Plungers

The plunger, sometimes called "a plumber's helper" is one of the greatest and most convenient household plumbing tools. The often underappreciated plunger gets a bad rap but when you need one and are without one, you’ll develop a real appreciation for its attributes.

The orange plunger above is technically a sink plunger and the black one with the cup on the bottom is for toilets.

Plungers come in two varieties: toilet plungers and sink plungers. The design with a more shallow suction cup is a sink plunger. However, this plunger will also work on toilet clogs in a pinch but not as well as the deeper cup design that is specifically designed for toilets. Notice that it has an extended cup at its base, which helps it get a better seal around a toilet drain.

Remember, while a sink plunger may work in a toilet, the dedicated toilet plunger (like the black one shown in the photo) is not very effective on a kitchen or bathroom sink clog because the bottom cup just gets in the way. Fortunately, plungers are inexpensive so Roto-Rooter recommends you keep both types around the house.

How to use a plunger. Grip the handle with both hands and slide the cup over the drain hole. Make sure there is water surrounding the drain hold, whether it’s a sink or toilet. Plunging a dry hole is largely ineffective but when some water is in the line and around the plunger, it becomes more effective at establishing a vacuum inside the drainpipe. Thrust up and down several times then pull back in a popping motion from the drain. In most cases this will dislodge the clog and establish proper drainage.

Don’t forget to plug the hole! When plunging a bathroom sink clog, remember to plug the overflow hole at the front of the sink, otherwise your plunger will not properly seal the drain and affect the clog. Some people plug the hole with a wash cloth or simply slide a finger inside to seal it off. The same principle comes into play with a double kitchen sink. You can’t effectively plunge one side of a double sink unless the other sink drain is sealed with a drain cover or sink strainer.

If no amount of plunging will dislodge the clog, you can try over-the-counter clog removers but use only as directed. When all else fails, your local Roto-Rooter plumbers are available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Happy plunging!

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