Homeownership 101: How to Use a Plunger

Can’t flush your toilet?

Don’t worry, don’t feel embarrassed – it’s a common problem we all have to deal with. Don’t panic and replace your toilet bowl yet! Fortunately, a simple plunger can help you deal with this kind of issue.

One of the most basic homeowner skills you should learn is how to use a plunger. It’s an important ability, especially when you need to unclog your sink drains. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bigger problem with your plumbing over time.

That’s why in this guide, you’ll learn some tips on how to use plungers on your clogged toilet or sink. Read on and find out more.

How to Use a Plunger

When you use a plunger for a drain, it uses both suction and compression forces to complete the job. Pulling the plunger up pulls the drain water upward, which starts the process of making the clog loose. Pushing down the plunger, the clog moves in the other direction since you’re forcing the water downward.

After doing a few strokes, the push-pull mechanic will help break up and loosen the clog. That way, the drain water will carry the debris through the drainage system. Keep these in mind while you plunge your drain.

Here are the steps on how to use a plunger:

1. Examine the Drain Stopper

If you have a clogged bathroom sink, you might only need to pull out the pop-up stopper and clean it off. In most cases, the clogging happens when hair, soap, and other gunk get deposited on the stem underneath the stopper’s plug. It’s also possible that the debris accumulates on the rod moving the stopper up and down.

When this happens, make sure to use needle-nose pliers to pry the hair from these components. A good alternative is to use a metal coat hanger. Bend it into the shape of a hook to do the same job.

If that the drain stays clogged, start with the plunging process.

2. Block the Overflow Opening

Bathroom sinks need to have a sealed drainpipe before the plunging starts. A good way to do this is to block the overflow opening using a wet rag. It’s near the sink rim’s top if you’re not familiar with its location.

Another location is either the front or the back of the sink. Depending on the design, some sinks might have two openings for overflow. Blocking it seals the drain, enabling the plunger to make the needed suction and compression.

Without this, your plunger won’t have a lot of effects. If you have a double-basin kitchen sink, you need to block the drain opening in one basin. Do this before you start plunging the other basin.

3. Position the Plunger

Put the plunger cup over the opening of the drain. Make sure that will fully cover the opening. Once done, you can try running some water in the sink until it’s enough to cover the plunger cup.

4. Start Pumping the Plunger

Make vertical thrusting motions with the plunger. Take note, the suction force of both the upstroke and the downstroke is important to accomplish the job. Make sure that the seal between the rubber plunger cup and sink surface remains in place.

You’ll most likely feel the clog loosening. When you start feeling the plunger handle becoming easier to pump, you’ll know that you’re close to finishing the job. If you’re having a hard time sealing the plunger cup and sink basin, try applying some petroleum jelly around the cup lip.

5. Check for Drainage

After using the plunger to pump six times, pull the plunger away from the opening of the drain. Check whether the water starts draining once again. If it does, then it means the clog became loose and your sink functions as intended.

If it isn’t, repeat the process until you’re sure you did your best.

6. Flush the Drain

Once you’re done freeing the clog, try running hot water for a few minutes. This will help in flushing any debris down your drainage system. It’s also a good method of dissolving the soap scum, thus preventing new clogs from appearing.

What if Plunging Doesn’t Work?

If the drain doesn’t clear up despite several plunging attempts, it means plunging isn’t an effective solution. Your next option is to snake the drain. It’s a process that needs you to disassemble the trap of the drain.

If you don’t have any DIY experience, it’s a good time for you to start calling for expert help. The best part is that there are around 500,300 plumbers employed across the country. This means that you’ll have lots of professional help available.

But it’s always important to look for a good reputable company to work with. An effective way of assessing your plumber’s abilities is to look for online reviews. In most cases, you’ll find these using local business listings through Google and the like.

Also, don’t hesitate to look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Most reputable companies have certifications from this organization. Also, you can see whether the company received some complaints from the past.

With that, you’ll have the means of finding the best plumbers for your needs.

Start Using Plungers Today!

When you know how to use a plunger, you’ll clear up your drains as soon as it becomes clogged. That way, you won’t need to wait long for professional services. These tips are great when you need to fix almost any clogs, so use them and apply them to your daily life.

But when things get serious, you need to start considering the help of experts. That’s why we encourage you to contact us today so we can help you out. We have the right set of expertise and equipment to help with all your plumbing needs in Utah.

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