A toilet plunger, sometimes called a 'plumbers helper', is a useful tool for unclogging a toilet. A clogged toilet is not pleasant news. There is the mess and the potential cost. For homes with only one toilet, this is a serious problem. What can you do? Can you fix this problem yourself?
There are two tools that can take care of a clogged toilet efficiently. One is a toilet plunger. With one of these you can get rid of most clogs in five minutes or less. The other commonly used tool is a toilet auger. The auger will generally be needed for tougher clogs, most of the time, a plunger will solve the problem.
This article will help you with the when and how of using this tool. You don't need to dread it when the toilet clogs up. Instead, you can be the hero that is able to fix it quickly and efficiently. This article will give you the information you need.
Using a Toilet Plunger - Information
What Can You Save?
A service call for a plumber will likely be around $75 or more. You will be dismayed when he unclogs your toilet in less than five minutes with a tool that costs less than $10.
How Hard Could It Be?
Using a toilet plunger is not hard or complicated. It can be a little messy.
- Difficulty Level of: Easy
- Skill Level of: Total Novice
For and explanation of the terms in this section, see How to Use This Site.
Check the Simple Things!
Using a plunger is about the simplest thing for a toilet clog. There is not really anything simpler. If you call a plumber, this may be his remedy.
What Can Go Wrong?
Dirty water is the big problem with working on a toilet. You can't tell that the toilet is clogged until you flush it. Many times, the mistake of flushing it a second time is made. This means a bowl full of very dirty water. Clear out the area before you work on the toilet. Have some rags handy to quickly deal with any mess.
Using a toilet plunger is the first choice for fixing a clog. Plungers work on a simple concept, pressure. The plunger generates pressure on the clog to force it through the trap.
This can be very effective, since it is too much volume that clogs toilets in most instances. For the plunger to do its job, it needs to be firmly against the bowl to create a seal. This will generate the maximum pressure.
Try to push the plunger down quickly and straight. You are likely to get some splashing, be prepared for that. It will often take two or three tries before the clog breaks free. Don't get discouraged, even a dozen tries only takes a few minutes.
Make sure the plunger is seating firmly. Plungers will work most of the time, it is pretty rare when you can't get a clog to free up with a plunger. Did you think that learning how to unclog a toilet could be this easy?
Purchasing a Plunger
A toilet plunger is a very simple device. It is a long handle connected to a rubber bulb. The rubber end is designed to compress. When properly seated in the toilet, quickly compressing the plunger generates pressure that forces the clog through the toilet.
You will also find some newer styles that look almost like an accordion. These are designed to generate even more pressure.
Toilet plungers are readily available at home supply and hardware stores. Even department stores will have them for sale. A plunger for a toilet will have an added flange at the bottom that helps to concentrate the pressure. This differs from a sink plunger that has no added flange. Look for one with a bell that is about six inches and diameter and five inches high. One will cost between $5 and $15.
Plunging a Toilet
Plunging a toilet is a lot less painful if you prepare for it ahead of time. Remember, if you need a toilet plunger, this is going to be dirty water.
Remove everything from the area that could be damaged by dirty water. Some water will probably splash, move anything you don't want ruined. Have a mop and rags nearby, just in case.
If the water level is up near the rim, you may need to get a small pail and bail some of the water out. A plunger will displace water when it is used. In addition plunging will agitate the water. A high water level will cause splashing and spillover.
Plungers work on a simple concept, pressure. The plunger generates pressure on the clog to force it through the trap. This is usually successful, since it is too much volume that clogs toilets in most instances. For the plunger to do its job, it needs to be firmly against the bowl to create a seal. This will generate the maximum pressure.
Try to push the plunger down quickly and straight. You are likely to get some splashing, be prepared for that. It will often take two or three tries before the clog breaks free. Don't get discouraged, even a dozen tries only takes a few minutes. Make sure the plunger is seating correctly.
When you use the plunger repeatedly, you may notice the water going down little by little. This is not a bad thing, although it is more satisfying when it goes down in a big whoosh! When the water level gets low enough, you can try flushing the toilet again. You should get the whoosh, this time. If not, try the plunger again.
The plunger does a dirty job and it goes through some less than desirable water. After the clog is cleared flush the toilet two or three more times. Use the fresh water to rinse off the plunger. You can use a toilet brush and some toilet cleaner to further disinfect it.
When toilet clogs are a regular event you may want to keep the plunger close by. Some homeowners have opted to keep it behind the toilet. A nearby closet would be another choice.
It is a good idea to disinfect the rest of the area around the toilet. You likely had some splashing of the dirty water. Some kind of a bleach based cleaning product will kill all the germs and bacteria.
The 'Introduction' to this series on 'Using a Toilet Plunger' talked about the potential cost you might be facing for fixing your garbage disposal. In addition, the simple solutions and the potential problems were discussed.
In 'Step One', we discussed where to go to purchase a plunger and what kind to get.
'Plunging a Toilet' is the article that told you what to do, what you should get out of the way and how to clean up afterwards.
Were you able to successfully use a toilet plunger to solve your problem? This tool is a champ when it comes to unclogging toilets. Did you have to go out and buy one? It is still cheaper than having a plumber come out. Now that you have it, you will be able to quickly deal with problems in the future.
Now that you are done with this project, what are you going to do next? For a homeowner, there is always a list of repairs that you can tackle. Since this one went so well, you can take a look at your list and try something else.