The flush toilet, more than any single invention, has ‘civilized’ us in a way that religion and law could never accomplish. ― Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
The toilet is perhaps the most essential necessity in any project today. We cannot imagine our world without a bathroom. It has also often been named the fourth basic necessity for a human to live after, food, shelter and money.
One of the standard issues faced today is a clogged toilet pan, which often is a disconcerting event. Dealing with a clogged toilet is not easy unless you have the right tool at hand or a plumber handy nearby.
Many of us don’t realize that un-clogging a toilet can be quickly done at home by yourself if you have a plunger. Funny fact is that unclogging with a plunger does not need much time nor does it cost you.
What is a plunger?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a Plunger is rightly defined as “a part of a device or mechanism that works with a plunging or thrusting movement. The device consisting of a rubber cup on a long handle used to clear blocked pipes using suction.”
In simple language, it is a rubber suction cup that uses a combined suction and thrusting motion to remove the debris clogging the toilet drainage pathway.
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What are the types of Plungers available?
Plungers can be broadly classified into four types. They are
- Sink Plunger – These plungers consist of a suction cup attached to a long handle. They are mainly used to unclog kitchen sinks, bathtubs and wash basins. Sink plunger works well on a flat surface as the sink plunger cup can create sufficient vacuum needed to unclog the drain. However, these plungers cannot be used in case of toilets due to the angled structure of the toilet pan.
- Toilet Plunger – These are different from the Sink Plungers. Though they look similar, the toilet plungers are much softer as they have to fold outwards to create better suction on the angular surface of the toilet. Best toilet Plunger creates a perfect seal on the bathroom to provide the maximum needed suction action to clear the drainage block.
- Accordion Plunger – Some consider this as the best toilet plungers because they are often more effective than the traditional toilet plungers available. They generally have a smaller size cup attachment that fits the size of the toilet drain hole perfectly. Though they are regarded as the best toilet plungers, however handling them is slightly trickier than usual as they are harder to control.
- Flange Plunger – This plunger has a more extended cup with a sleeve-like extension on the lower side. This gives it a flange-like appearance. The flange fits the toilet drain hole to create an airtight seal. This plunger can be universally used in sinks, tubs and toilets. Most commercial areas recommend Flange Plunger as the best toilet plunger.
How to use a plunger?
Choosing the right plunger to use for unclogging is the first step. Once the right plunger is chosen, the work can start.
There should be sufficient standing water in the toilet pan to allow the cup to be wholly submerged in the water. It does not matter if dirt or other matters are floating in the pot.
The flange should be directed or pulled in the outward direction while the cup remains submerged. The plunger should be slowly pushed inwards to let the cup filled with as much water as viable.
Make sure the pushing motion is slightly angled instead of the straight vertical direction of movement. The angled axis allows minimum air entrapment thus creating a powerful vacuum and a better plunging force.
Once the complete seal is created along the walls of the toilet drain with the cup, hold the handle tightly and push very forcefully in an inward direction.
Repeat the same process of pushing at least five times. Then pull off the rubber cup. This constant shoving motion will create an alternating compression and suction action that dislodges the clog and clears the pathway.
In case of failed attempts, locate the flapper or round rubber trap door located at the bottom center of the toilet bottom. Push it down to prevent water from the tank to reach the pan. Repeat the plunging action.
After that, there is a high probability the clog will clear. Once done, lift the rubber flapper again to allow water from the tank to reach the pot. In case of failure using a toilet, auger is the last viable option.
Points to remember while unclogging the toilet –
- Always plunge in a vertical direction.
- Ensure that the plunger cup is wholly submerged in water.
- It takes time to keep repeating the motion for sometime before you can see the result.
- Be patient. Try alternating between steady strokes and occasional monster heaves.
- Never use any chemical to unclog the toilet pan.