A clogged drain can be a real problem. Water begins to back up, you can’t use your fixtures properly, and the blocked drain can even begin to smell! Fortunately, many blockages can be dislodged if you know how to use a plunger. This essential plumbing tool is simple to use and very effective. However, there are still a few important things to know if you want to get the job done quickly and with minimal difficulty.
1. Use the correct type of plunger.
There are two main varieties of plunger, and using the right one can greatly improve your chances of success. Cup plungers are suitable for unclogging bathtubs, sinks, and showers. Flanged plungers, on the other hand, are the right choice if your toilet is blocked.
2. Get rid of excess water.
If there is too much water in the blocked fixture, the plunging process can become quite messy. Siphon off any excess water, leaving just enough to submerge the cup of the plunger. If there is too little or you remove too much, top it off with some warm water.
3. Block other drains.
Plunging is less effective if you have other drains open nearby. Use wet rags to block the drainage outlets of any sinks or other fixtures before you get started. This will increase the pressure in the drain as you plunge, making it more likely that you’ll dislodge the blockage.
4. Ensure a tight seal.
A tight seal helps to ensure that as much force as possible is transferred via the plunger into the drain. Adding a little petroleum jelly to the rim of the cup can help keep it firmly in place, and it may also protect your plunger from cracking or drying out.
5. Let air out of the cup.
Too much air can reduce the suction of your plunger. Ensure that the cup of the plunger is fully submerged, and release any excess air from it before you begin, so it contains as much water as possible. This prevents the air from acting as a cushion, reducing the force of your plunging, and making the blockage less likely to shift.
6. Use a vertical action.
Finally, it is important to use the right action when plunging a drain. Keep the plunger straight and perpendicular to the drain, using a vertical action to plunge. Why do it this way? If you tilt the plunger, some of your force will be lost, making your efforts less effective. If you keep the plunger upright, you ensure that as much force as possible goes straight into the drain. If you follow these steps on how to use a plunger, you should have your drain unclogged in no time. Remember to check after 15 to 20 seconds to see if you have been successful. If water begins to drain away, chances are the blockage has been cleared. However, if you have no luck or you are concerned about damaging something, a reliable plumber can always assist you with the blockage and help get your drain back in working order.