3 Things To Know Before Plunging A Toilet

Using a toilet plunger is hardly rocket science. Yet unless you understand a few key things about your plunger, you may find it more difficult than it should be to clear your toilet's drain of clogs. If you would like to increase your range of home plumbing skills, read on. This article will introduce three things to know about plunging a toilet.

Use the right type of plunger.

Plungers can be broken down into two main categories: standard plungers with plain, bowl-shaped heads, and toilet plungers with a rubber flap extending from the bottom. The former are designed specifically for sinks and other flat surfaces. For that reason, standard plungers are not able to generate the kind of seal they need to effectively unclog a toilet.

The special rubber flap on a toilet plunger is designed to nestle down into the outflow pipe, thus ensuring a good tight seal while you plunge. This helps create the kind of suction needed to work stubborn clogs loose. And for the record, toilet plungers can also be effectively used for plunging sinks and other types of drains. All you have to do is tuck that rubber flap up inside the bowl and you're good to go.

Make sure there's enough water in the bowl.

When faced with a clogged toilet, many people wisely shut off their toilet's water valves to help prevent an overflow. Yet this can actually work against you, if there isn't enough water in the bowl. To be fully effective, the head of the plunger needs to be completely immersed in water.

When there isn't enough water in the bowl, the plunging motion will end up pushing air down into the drain. This air, in turn, will make your plunging less effective. If you're worried about an overflow, simply fill a bucket at the sink or tub and use this to fill your toilet bowl to an appropriate level. 

Perform slow and deep--not fast and shallow--plunging.

A common misconception about plunging a toilet is that speed will make it easier to resolve the clog. The problem is, fast plunging often results in shallow plunging. In other words, you simply can't generate the force you need. Instead, focus your energy on making deep, forceful plunges. For maximum benefit, be sure to apply an equal force to the upward motion as well.

Bottom Line

You don't need to be a plumber to successfully plunge a toilet. All you need is the right plunger and some basic information. If you find that even this isn't enough to resolve your clog, it's probably a good idea to a professional plumber, like Rolling Bay Plumbing, for help.


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