Clogged drains are among the most common plumbing issues faced by homeowners. When confronted with a clog, your first instinct might be to reach for a plunger. But did you know that there are different types of plungers, each designed for a specific type of clog? In this article, we decode the difference between household plungers so you can choose the right one for the job.
It is important to remember that you should never put anything down your drains that could potentially create a clog, such as cooking grease, coffee grounds, or hair.
Before we go on about plungers, we would like to let you know that Titan Plumbing And Electric is always here to help you unclog any drains in your home. We are just a call away! So, if you do not feel comfortable using a plunger or you think the clog is too big for a plunger, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Types of Plungers
You may have noticed that there are different types of plungers on the market for different drain problems. So, what is the difference between these plungers? Do you need more than one type for your home? Here is a quick guide to help you decode the difference between some common plungers.
Cup Plunger / Common Sink Plunger
The most common type of plunger is the cup plunger, also known as the common sink plunger. This plunger has a straight wooden handle and a rubber suction cup at the bottom that creates a seal around the drain. The cup plunger is best for use on flat surfaces. That means it will work best for clogs in bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, tubs, and showers. Many people make the mistake of using this plunger on a toilet, but the cup plunger is not designed for toilets. Because the toilet bowl is not flat, the cup plunger is unable to create the vacuum which it needs to remove a clog. It uses both positive and negative pressure to dislodge the clog. Positive pressure is created when you push the plunger down and negative pressure is created when you pull the plunger up.
Toilet Plunger / Flange Plunger
The toilet plunger is designed specifically for toilets although it can be used for sinks as well. It has a flanged suction cup which creates a seal around the drain opening and a long handle to give you more leverage. The added pressure from the handle is helpful when plunging a toilet. It also has a rubber flap (the flange) that hangs out from within the cup. The flange can tuck inside the cup to enable the plunger to act like a cup plunger. This makes it possible to use it on your toilets as well as your sinks. It is not hygienic to use the same flange plunger for both your toilet and your sink, so you may want to keep a cup plunger on hand as well.
Accordion Plunger / Bellows Plunger
The accordion plunger is shaped like a flange plunger but has a hard plastic suction cup at the bottom and accordion-style ridges just above the flange. It is also similar to a cup plunger but with a more compact design. This plunger is best for toilets but can be tough to use. Due to the hard nature of the plastic from which it is made, it can be difficult to create a vacuum seal over a drain. For this same reason, the bellows plunger can scratch your toilet. The cup and toilet plungers are less likely to cause toilet scratches because they're made of rubber. Because of its compact size, the bellows plunger is also easy to store.
Plunging Tips to Make Unclogging Easier
- Choose the right plunger: If you've read this far, you should now have a good idea of which plunger to choose for your needs.
- Create suction: Squeeze the air out of the plunger cup by pressing down before placing it over the drain. This will create a better seal.
- Plunge straight: Use a straight up and down motion with your plunger to create more effective pumps. When you plunge at an angle, you lose some of the plunger's power and the seal may become loose.
- Submerge the plunger: Ensure that the entire plunger cup is submerged in water before beginning to plunge. This will help create a stronger seal. If the water level in your sink or toilet bowl is too low, add more so that the plunger cup is completely submerged.
- Maintain your plunger: Always keep your plunger clean and dry when you're not using it. This helps to prevent ripping as well as mold and mildew growth. Store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Plunger cup tears will lead to weak vacuum seals and less effective plunging.
- Safety tip: Do not use a plunger immediately after using toxic cleaning products in your sink or toilet. The plunger can splash the chemicals back up, causing harm. Wait until the area has been flushed with water several times before using a plunger.
Use these tips the next time you find yourself in need of a plunger and you should be able to unclog whatever drain is giving you trouble. If you try these methods and still can't get your drain unclogged, it's time to call a professional like Titan Plumbing And Electric. Clogged drains are never fun but with the right plunger and a little elbow grease, you can usually get them unclogged on your own.
Are You Facing Stubborn Clogs That Require More Than a Plunger?
If you're dealing with tough clogs that require more than a plunger to fix, it's time to call in the professionals. At Titan Plumbing And Electric, we have the tools and experience necessary to clear even the most stubborn clogs. We'll also be able to inspect your drains and make sure there isn't anything else going on that could be causing your clogs. Contact us today at (813) 680-2075 to schedule a consultation. We'll have your drains flowing freely in no time!