Clogged drains are, undoubtedly, the most common plumbing problem in the home. And it is, perhaps, for this reason that most of us often opt for a pricey drain cleaning chemical or a plumber as such problems cannot be ignored; not for long anyway.
However, what many are unaware of is that stooped up drains can be cleared just as easily with what is commonly referred to as a plumber’s helper- a plunger. Below, therefore, we take a look at how to use a plunger to unclog a drain in 6 easy steps that should take you 5 minutes or less as follows:
- Ensure that there is standing water and if there is none, fill up the basin with about three inches of water.
- Proceed to create a vacuum by sealing adjoining drains and air vents. This is necessary in order to make the water in the drain push on the clog hence forcing it down the pipe.
- Then, cover the affected drain with the plunger suction cup by placing it directly over the drain, making sure that it is completely covered.
- Using both hands, push and pull on the plunger while exacting as much force as possible to the suctioning process. Pushing is just as important as pulling with the aim being to get the clog moving, regardless of the direction.
- Having pulled and pushed several times, you can now remove the plunger by pulling it completely off the drain. Give it a few seconds before checking whether the water has began going down the drain.
- If the clog is more stubborn than earlier thought, repeat steps 3 through to 5 a couple of times. It can take a few tries before getting the clog moving.
A plunger can be used more effectively in the following areas of the home as follows:
- Kitchen sink
When unclogging the kitchen sink, make sure that there is standing water on both sides of the sink. Then, place a towel or stopper on one side while plunging the other. You may consider having someone present to hold the stopper in place as the plunging action may cause it to pop out. If the drain does not clear out after the first try, switch sides and repeat again. If the stoppage is not cleared by plunging, you could try using a snake or taking the trap apart to clear the drain.
Tubs are a lot trickier to unclog as you have to block the overflow before plunging otherwise all the force and water generated by the plunging action will exit through the overflow. It is advisable to take the overflow cover off and then plug the hole with a large rag (be careful that it is not too far in as you may find it difficult to take it out). Once this is in place, you can commence the plunging process.
- Bathroom sink
Begin by covering the air holes in the sink with duct tape or a rag before plunging. And as is the case with a kitchen sink, if plunging does not work, try using a snake or take the trap apart.
More often than not, a plunger should suffice in cases where a toilet is blocked and all homes ought to have one in place in case of emergencies.
With no overflow or air holes to cover, just place the plunger over the drain and begin plunging.
When done correctly, some rigorous back and forth plunging action can unclog most drain stoppages. But should the problem persist, it may be about time you enlisted the services of a professional plumber.