How many different types of plungers are there? Chances are this is not a question you’ve asked yourself. Most people own one plunger — the one with the wooden handle and the red rubber suction cup. They don’t stop to wonder if it’s the best plunger or the right plunger for the job—it’s just a plunger, end of story.
Well, if this is your approach, you may not be fighting clogs as effectively as you could. There are a variety of plungers in existence, each designed for specific types of jobs. However, for the average person, there are just three types you should concern yourself with.
The Handy-Dandy Cup Plunger
This here is the plunger you no doubt have somewhere in your home. In fact, this is what most people picture when they hear the word “plunger.” For most people, this is the go-to option — simple, cheap, ubiquitous, and effective. Except, it really isn’t as effective as you might think.
Cup plungers are for unclogging drains seated inside a flat surface. This includes those in tubs, showers, and some types of sinks. However, if the sink basin is curved, the plunger will not be very effective. As for toilets, this plunger is, quite simply, the wrong tool to use.
The Fancy Flange Plunger
The flange plunger looks pretty similar to the cup plunger. There’s really just one alteration: a soft rubber flap inside the cup that folds out. However, this makes a big difference. With this soft flap, the plunger is able to create seals on non-flat surfaces, including the insides of toilet bowls.
Flange plungers can wedge into the drain hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl, making it easy to clear clogs. You can also use them on other types of drains, but we don’t recommend using the same one you use on the toilet on other surfaces. If you have one of these on hand, you can likely clear stubborn clogs without calling in a plumber.
The Funky Accordion Plunger
This plunger takes the concept of the flange plunger and makes it even better. The seal has the extra flap, but the vacuum is made more powerful due to the accordion-like design. These plungers are composed of black plastic, so they are very durable.
Most clogs will not require the accordion plunger. However, if you often deal with extreme clogs or have a business, it’s a good idea to have one of these super plungers on hand. Just keep in mind that these are for toilets only.
Some Quick and Dirty Plunging Tips
Having the right tools is important, but a tool is only effective if you know how to use it. Here are some simple tips that will make it easier for you to battle the clogs in your home:
- Pick the right plunger for the job.
- Keep the handle of the plunger straight. If possible, it should be completely vertical.
- Use an up-and-down motion when plunging. Other motions will not generate the proper vacuum suction needed.
- Get the air out of the plunger cup. When there is air left in the cup, the air will compress with each downward motion, providing a buffer to remove force from the suction. You want the plunger to fill with water, not air. Add water to the item being plunged if there is not enough water already present — just don’t do this by flushing a clogged toilet unless you want to clean up a mess.
- Do not use toxic chemicals while plunging. It might seem like a good idea — using a drain cleaner and then plunging means extra drain-clearing power, right? No, not at all. Drain cleaners are dangerous in any situation and likely to damage your pipes. However, adding plunging to the mix means there is a risk of backsplash. Harsh chemicals could end up on your skin or in your eyes. Do not do this!
- Replace your plungers when needed. Any tears or cracks in the plunger will compromise the seal, and that means getting terrible results. To keep them in the best shape possible for as long as possible, always keep them clean and dry when you’re not using them.
Of course, a plunger can’t correct every clog. Battling a stubborn clog and need assistance? Contact Orange Coast Plumbing. We’ll get your drains flowing right in no time.