How to Unclog your Drain Using a Plunger

how to use a plungerA blocked drain in your house means such a big mess. It means dirt, bacterium around the mouth of the drain and much more. A blocked drain indicates an underlying material (or materials) that can’t allow water to pass through. It can be any drain; toilet, tub, sink, any. It is always a serious disruption but then it doesn’t need a plumber, there is a way you can do it by yourself. Using a Plunger. But plunging needs some technique to be successful.

A plunger (Also called a force cup) is a tool that consists of a rubber suction cup that’s attached to a stick (shaft) which can made of plastic or wood. The working of a plunger is purely physics, suction and pressure.

First things first, your safety is paramount, ensure you wear gloves. Then, add more water to the sink or basin (the immediate environment above the clogged drain).  The aim of adding this water is to create a vacuum seal. The level of water filled in that basin should be enough to submerge the cup of the plunger. If the drain is partially clogged, then add some more water to compensate for what will be lost to drainage during the unclogging.

Ensure you have sealed all possible water loss points. If, for instance, you’re unclogging a tub, then ensure you plug the overflow hole. That hole allows air to pass through, and this will hinder formation of a proper vacuum seal with the drain as required. You can do the plugging by soaking a wet rag with water, wringing out the excess then stuffing it into the hole. Essentially, take care of the plumbing lines in your house as they are all connected, so a hole along that line means pressure balance hence no results out of unclog.

So, now every hole is plugged and we’re unclogging our drain, which plunger do we use? There are two types of plungers, and each has a place it fits. Flanger plungers have an extra flap attached to the wall of the cup (from inside) which makes them ideal for toilets. Then we have plain plungers which do not have this flap. The latter is best in creating seals with drain opening in sinks, bathtubs and showers.

Here’s how to successfully unclog your drain using a plunger;

  1. Submerge the plunger- We said the immediate environment above the clogged drain should be filled with water. The cup should be fully covered by water. If you’re using a flanger plunger, ensure the flap is pulled outside and it’s not inside the cup.
  2. Once the plunger is inserted into the water, the cup will most likely trap some air. This reduces the pressure created when you plunge and as a result you will require more energy to unclog. Here is what you do;
  3. Once the cup is fully immersed in the water, tilt it slightly to one side.
  4. Allow the air to escape, you’ll see the bubbles as water rushes to occupy the space left by air.
  • With the cup tilted still, plunge it once or twice to ensure all air has escaped from inside the cup.
  1. Now return it to its normal position.
  2. Holding the plunger straight/vertically ensures a proper seal when you start plunging. Hold the plunger with both hands, press it gently, pull, push, pull, and push repeatedly without tilting the plunger. As you do this, the suction will push pressure in and out of the drain, eventually dislodging the clog.
  3. After about 30 seconds of plunging, lift the plunger off the drain hole. You will realize some dirt come out of the drain. Remove this dirt from the sink before it goes back down the drain (use your hands since you have your gloves on).
  4. Repeat the whole process from 1 to 4, to be sure that all the dirt has been removed from the drain. Then flush with clean water and see what happens. If your clogging was successful, the water will keep going without any stagnation. If however water starts filling up again, then the unclogging wasn’t successful. Repeat or call a plumber.

Finally, wash the plunger and dry it. It should always be kept clean and dry.

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