Plungers are one of the most common household plumbing tools – and for good reason. These inexpensive implements are relatively easy to use and can help clear your household drains of clogs. However, you may not know that plungers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific purpose.
Choosing a Plunger to Address Your Household Clogs
When you’re dealing with a clog, you need a plunger that provides the proper conditions necessary to dislodge the clog. Plungers work by creating a seal around the drain in question. When you pull up on the plunger’s handle, suction causes water to draw out of the drain; when you push back down, pressure forces water back into the drain. A back and forth motion alternates these pressures and moves the clog along to your home’s main drainage system.
Each plunger has a different shape, ideal for use on a different type of drain. Plunger types include:
- Standard plungers. A standard plunger consists of a rubber bell or cup which presses against the surface outside of the drain. The plunger’s surface must lie flat to provide the proper suction to move water in and out of the drain. For this reason, standard plungers are often called sink plungers as they don’t provide adequate suction in a rounded toilet bowl.
- Toilet plungers. Unlike standard plungers, toilet plungers also have a rubber flap that protrudes from the interior of the cup. This flap fits inside your toilet drain and creates contact with your toilet, allowing the necessary suction to move water in and out of the drain. Toilet plungers are usually flexible enough to create a seal over a sink or tub drain.
- Accordion-shaped plungers. These plungers can fold in on themselves in an accordion-like fashion to create the water pressure needed to remove clogs. They work well on toilets, providing the force necessary to dislodge large clogs. However, accordion-shaped plungers are often not flexible enough to work on sinks, showers, and tubs.
About the Author: Vincent Sposari, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Olympia
Vinnie has been a trusted plumber since 1989 and a Mr. Rooter owner since 1992. With over 31 years to back him, Vinnie has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in plumbing repairs, drain cleaning, emergency plumbing, and more.