Most DIY fixes or emergency plumbing solutions require you to handle a plunger. Since a plunger looks like a simple tool, most people have no fear in picking one up and saving their bathroom from becoming the victim of an overflowing toilet, bath or sink. However, there is a lot to know about the type of plunger you should have in your house and the most efficient ways to use them.

How to Choose the Best Plunger

There are commonly two types of plungers, the Cup and the Flange. You should know the difference between the two and what jobs they are best used for.

The Cup: This is your standard wooden handle attached to a rubber cup type of plunger. Although it seems simple, its design is best used on drains that are on a flat surface, such as the sink, bathtub or shower. This is because the shape of the cup is able to create the most effective amount of suction on a flat surface.

The Flange: While the Cup plunger is the most common and is able to tackle most blocked drains, the Flange plunger is especially designed to unclog a blocked toilet. The plunger has an extra rubber ring, called the flange, around its cup. This gives the plunger the extra power to have a suction effect in the curvy drain of a toilet.

A Flange plunger can be used on flat surface drains but each plunger is the most effective for its specific type of drain.

A person uses a plunger to unclog a kitchen sink.

How to Correctly Use a Cup Plunger

To unclog your blocked sink, bath or shower drain, we recommend adding a bit of water if need be to submerge the cup of the plunger and then placing your Cup plunger over the drain. Make sure the plunger covers the entire opening of the drain. Any overflow drains in sinks or baths should be blocked by a cloth to maintain the pressure while plunging.

Once you are set, press and pull the plunger rapidly to create pressure. You should do this action for about 15 to 20 seconds. If water begins to drain away, add more water and repeat the plunging process. If you think proper drainage has been restored, remove the plunger and test the drain by running some water.

How to Correctly Use a Flange Plunger

If the toilet bowl is fill of water, you need to use a bucket or container to scoop out some of the water until it is about half way full. If the bowl is empty, use a container to collect water from a tap and fill the bowl till it is half full. To avoid a big mess, it is advised to wear gloves and to place a towel or newspapers around the toilet before you start to plunge.

Place the plunger in the half fill toilet bowl and ensure the flange cup completely covers the drain at the bottom of the toilet. As you would with the cup plunger, rapidly press and pull the plunger for about 15 to 20 seconds. If water drains away, add more water and repeat the process. When the toilet seems to be draining normally, remove the plunger and give the toilet a test flush.

If this process does not unclog your toilet, sink, shower or other bathrooms fixtures, you should not continue to plunge as you run the risk of damaging your plumbing. The best solution is to call a plumber. Even if you have managed to unclog the blockage and restore normal drainage, it is still wise to have a plumber look at the plumbing and ensure the problem is fixed and will not return.

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