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Types of Plungers & When to Use Them

Toilet Plunger

Do you know there are different types of plungers to unclog your drains? If you’re struggling with a clogged sink, toilet, or bathtub, the right plunger can help before you have to call a plumber. Here’s a look at the different types of plungers and how they can be used to clear your clogs.

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Different Types of Plungers & When to Use Each One According to Your Plumber

Plungers are helpful tools that can remove clogs from your drains. You can use one on your own to clear minor clogs in your home or you might notice that your plumber will try with a plunger first to clear clogs before moving onto more specialized tools like drain weasels and drain augers.

Every homeowner should have a plunger in their home. They can be a lifesaver when you’ve clogged a toilet or when your drains are moving slowly. When you picture a plunger, you might have one image come to mind. However, did you know there are actually different types of plungers for different uses?

  • Cup Plungers: Cup plungers are likely what you pictured when you thought of the word “plunger.” These are shaped like a dome.
  • Flange Plungers: Another type of plunger is a flange plunger. These look similar to cup plungers, but have an additional lip that extends past the the edge of the dome.
  • Accordion Plungers: Accordion plungers are also a type of plunger. They look like an accordion, as their name suggests.

Each of these plungers has very specific applications, so it’s important to know when to use each one. You might want to get one of each for your home in case of drain clogs. It might just save you a call to your plumber!

When to Use a Cup Plunger

A cup plunger is one of the most useful tools in your arsenal if you’re attempting a DIY fix for a drain clog. This type of plunger creates powerful suction on flat surfaces to rid your drains of small clogs. It’s the “stereotypical plunger” that everyone pictures. However, it’s not actually meant for all types of plumbing clogs.

In fact, cup plungers are designed specifically for using on flat surfaces like sink drains. The edge of the “cup” sticks flat around the opening of the drain and from there you will use it to create suction to try to force the clog through the line. These plungers don’t work well for toilets because there’s not a flat surface for the plunger to seal against. If you try to use a cup plunger on a clogged toilet, you’ll probably end up calling your plumber before long, since this will be really ineffective at fixing your clogged toilet.

When to Use a Flange Plunger

A flange plunger looks really similar to a cup plunger, but it has an extra “lip” that extends beyond the normal edge of the cup. This allows you to use it for both drains and toilets.

When you need to unclog a drain with a flat surface, like your kitchen sink, then you’ll fold up the extra lip inside the cup portion of the plunger. This allows you to use it exactly as described above as a cup plunger.

However, if you need to unclog a toilet, you’ll need that extra lip to create suction in the toilet. Insert that piece into the small depression in your toilet that won’t flush properly. This will allow you to plunge the toilet and get enough suction to clear small clogs for a simple and easy DIY plumbing repair.

When to Use an Accordion Plunger

Accordion plungers look different from the other two types of plungers. These look like a small accordion attached to a stick. Accordion plungers are specifically designed for clearing clogs from toilets. If you try to use them on a sink drain, they probably won’t work. Instead, use an accordion plunger for more severe toilet clogs that are difficult to clear with a flange plunger. It creates more suction than other types and may be the last thing you try before you call your plumber to clear a major toilet clog.

Tips from a Plumber on How to Use a Plunger Correctly

Using a plunger correctly is an essential part of keeping your drains and showers clear of blockages. First, make sure you have the right kind of plunger for the job. Next, fill your sink or toilet with enough water that it covers most of the plunger’s cup so that there’s an effective seal. Without this step, there won’t be a tight enough seal to create suction and push the clog down the drain. Skipping this step will make the plunger ineffective! So, make sure you ensure there’s plenty of water around the plunger, but not so much that you’re likely to splash a lot of water everywhere and cause a lot of mess and water damage.

Next, hold the plunger firmly over the drain and push down onto it several times to create suction. After you’re done, check whether or not the clog is gone. If not, you can try a few more times to see if you can get the clog to clear away.

Dealing with persistent blockages may require a stronger solution like a plumbing snake or chemicals, which is always best left to an experienced plumber. When used correctly, a plunger can help keep your drains clear time after time!

What if Your Plunger Doesn’t Work?

If your plunger isn’t unclogging that pesky drain, don’t despair! Sometimes, a plunger simply isn’t enough to clear out a stubborn clog. You do have other options, though. Depending on the type of clog and what materials you have at home, you may wish to try boiling water down the blockage to help break up any stuck organic matter like hair or food. If that doesn’t work, household chemicals like vinegar and baking soda can sometimes be a good solution as well. If all else fails, it may be time to call a residential plumber who will be able to use professional tools to tackle the more difficult clogs.

When to Call a Plumber for Plumbing Clogs

Clogged drains and toilets can be extremely frustrating, especially when they pop up at the most inconvenient time! But knowing when to call a professional plumber is the right choice for keeping your home’s plumbing system healthy and running smoothly. For example, if the clog recurs after trying to clear it yourself — it’s time to call in a pro plumber. Remember, even small problems with your plumbing system can usually be fixed quickly and at an affordable cost by bringing in a qualified and licensed plumber.

If you’re struggling to clear a plumbing clog, our team at Santhoff Plumbing is here to help. We offer nearly five decades in the business to provide you with superior quality services. Our team is proud to offer prompt, friendly service whether you need plumbing repairs, maintenance, or installation. Trust our experts for all your home’s plumbing needs. Contact us now to schedule service!

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