How to Use a Plunger

Опубликовал Admin
5-10-2020, 11:50
A plunger is a cheap and effective DIY tool that every home should have, because plungers are used to remove clogs and blockages from pipes. Whether you’ve got a clog in your toilet, tub, sink, or another drain, there's a good chance you can remove it on your own in a few moments with a plunger. The trick to dislodging clogs with a plunger is using the right technique, otherwise plunging may not be successful.

Filling the Basin

  1. Add some water to the sink or tub basin. The major key to removing clogs with a plunger is suction and pressure, and you need water in the basin to create a vacuum seal. For sinks, tubs, showers, and other basins, fill the basin with 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) of water, or enough to submerge the cup of the plunger.
    • For drains that are only partially clogged and still draining slowly, add a bit more water to compensate for what will be lost to drainage.
  2. Remove some water from a toilet. For clogged toilets that are full of water, use a bucket to remove half the water from the bowl. This will give you enough water to create a proper vacuum seal without having so much water that it'll spray and splash everywhere when you plunge.
    • For toilets that are empty, fill the bowl halfway with water from a nearby tap.
  3. Plug the overflow hole. Most sinks and bathtubs have overflow holes that allow water to drain out if the basin fills with too much water. Soak a wet rag with water, and wring out the excess. Stuff the rag into the overflow hole to prevent air from getting in.
    • Overflow holes in bathtubs and sinks allow air into the pipes, and this will prevent you from forming a proper vacuum seal with the drain, meaning you won’t be able to plunge out the clog.
  4. Plug nearby drains. The plumbing lines in your house are all connected, so air in one pipe can prevent you from forming a proper seal with a clogged drain. To prevent this, stuff wet rags into other nearby sink, tub, and shower drains.
    • For instance, if you have to unclog the toilet in the bathroom, plug the drains in the shower and sink as well. If you have to unclog the sink drain, plug the drain in the shower.

Removing Clogs with a Plunger

  1. Choose the right plunger. There are two styles of plungers, and each one is suitable for different types of drains. The flange plunger has an extra flap attached to the inside of the cup that makes it ideal for toilets. A plain cup plunger doesn’t have this extra rubber flap, and is best for creating seals with drain openings in:
    • Sinks
    • Bathtubs
    • Showers
  2. Submerge the plunger. For sinks, tubs, and showers, place the cup plunger into the bowl or basin so that the cup of the plunger is submerged in the water. For a toilet, pull the flange out from inside the plunger and submerge it in the toilet bowl.
    • The cup on either plunger should be fully or at least mostly covered by water.
  3. Burp the plunger. When you insert the plunger into the water, the cup will likely trap air inside, and this will reduce the pressure created when you plunge. You need lots of force to remove a clog, and air trapped in the cup will stop this from happening. To burp the air from the plunger:
    • Rest the cup on the bottom of the basin or bowl
    • Tilt the cup to one side
    • Allow the air bubbles to escape
    • With the cup tilted, plunge once or twice to push air from the cup
  4. Position the plunger. In a sink or tub, right the plunger so the cup is flush with the bottom of the basin. Position the plunger over the drain hole. In a toilet, insert the flange into the drain opening in the bottom of the toilet. For toilets and basins, hold the plunger vertically.
    • Holding the plunger vertically over the drain opening will ensure that you form a proper seal when you start to plunge.
  5. Plunge using a vertical action. Hold the handle of the plunger with both hands. For the first plunge, gently press straight down on the handle so the cup forms a seal with the drain opening. Pull up on the handle and start plunging by pulling up and pushing down on the handle in a vertical fashion. Don’t tilt or angle the plunger, or you'll break the seal.
    • Continue plunging like this for about 20 seconds. As you pull up and down on the handle, the suction will push pressure in and out of the drain and dislodge the clog.
  6. Release the plunger. After 20 seconds of plunging, pull up on the plunger handle and lift it off the drain hole. Some debris might come up from the drain when you release the plunger, and it’s important to remove this from the sink or bowl before it drains back down.
    • Put on a pair of gloves and pick up the debris. Throw the debris in the garbage.
  7. Repeat the plunging. Add more water to the basin if necessary. Repeat the burping and sealing steps, and plunge for another 20 seconds. After this time, pull the plunger away. Remove any debris that comes up from the drain.
    • It’s especially important to plunge a toilet twice, because you want to be sure the clog has been removed before you try flushing.
  8. Flush or rinse. Once you’ve removed debris from the second plunge, flush the toilet or rinse out the sink, tub, or shower with clean water. The toilet should flush normally, and the sink should drain properly. Stay close so you can turn off the water if the clog hasn’t been removed.
    • In case water starts backing up in the toilet bowl, shut off the water by turning the valve beside the toilet to the right (clockwise).
    • For a sink, simply turn off the taps if the water doesn’t drain properly.
    • Try plunging again if the clog hasn’t been removed. You can also try a drain snake, or call a plumber.
  9. Clean and dry the plunger. You should always keep your plungers clean and dry, because moisture and cleaning products can cause the cup to crack or rip. If this happens, you will have to buy a new plunger next time you have a clog.
    • To clean a cup plunger, fill a bucket with hot water and add some liquid dish detergent. Swish the plunger around in the water. Remove the plunger, rinse it with clean water, and lay it on a rag to dry.
    • To clean a flange plunger, rinse the plunger in the clean toilet bowl. Flush the toilet. Add a few drops of liquid dish detergent and a capful of chlorine bleach to the water. Swish the plunger around in the water. Remove the plunger, let it drip dry for a minute, and then lay it on a rag to dry with the flange out.

Preventing Clogs

  1. Don’t put food down the drain. Drains are only meant to handle water, so putting food down the drain can lead to clogs. This includes, scraps coffee grounds, grease, bones, and even bread crumbs and rice, which will expand in the drain as they absorb water. All food and scraps should go in the composter, green bin, or garbage.
    • Grease will cool and coat the walls of your pipes, narrowing the passage and causing clogs.
    • Instead of pouring grease down the drain, transfer it to an old can or milk carton. Let it congeal and then compost it or throw it in the garbage.
  2. Don’t flush garbage or waste. Similarly, your toilet drains are only meant to handle water, small amounts of paper waste, and some soft organic matter. You should never use your toilets to dispose of any garbage or waste. Not only does this waste water, but it can also lead to clogs. Never flush:
    • Medical supplies like adhesive bandages or gauze
    • Cotton swabs, balls, or pads
    • Cosmetics and lotions
    • Wrappers and packaging
    • Diapers and wipes
  3. Clean out drains regularly. Every week, remove the stoppers from the drains and pull up any debris that’s caught on the stopper. Throw the debris in the garbage rather than washing it down the sink. For shower drains, pick hair and soap scum from the drain covers. Clean out the inside of all drains every two weeks:
    • With baking soda: Pour ½ cup (110 g) of baking soda down the drain, followed by enough white vinegar to make the soda foam. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then pour 2 quarts (1.9 L) of boiling water down the drain.
    • With enzymes: Run some hot water down the drain to preheat the pipes. Spray five to ten sprays of enzyme cleaner down the drain. Let the cleaner sit overnight. In the morning, run hot water to flush the drains.
    • Use a wet/dry vacuum hose on drains to suck out any hair or debris that may be stuck inside.
  4. Install mesh drain screens. Mesh screens are a great way to trap food, hair, and other debris before it gets into your drains. You can install these in showers, tubs, and kitchen and bathroom sinks.
    • Clean the screens every one to two days to keep water flowing properly down the drain.
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