Residential Plumbing – Don’t Forget the Plunger!

While a toilet plunger may not be the sexiest of purchases, there are only a few things more frustrating than a clogged toilet with no plunger on hand. So, go out and buy that plunger. And, when you do, keep the following in mind:

1. Plunger Type

While the plunger is one of the most familiar residential plumbing tools, not all are the same. What most people don’t know is that there are actually two standard types – the “cup plunger” and the “flange plunger.” The more familiar “cup plunger” (commonly referred to as the “sink plunger”) consists of a rubber cup with a flat rim, making it useful for unclogging sinks, showers, bathtubs, floor drains. While this type of plunger is sometimes used on toilet clots, what every plumber knows (and you should too) is that there is a specific type of plunger that is more effective for toilets.

Given a toilet bowl’s shape, toilets are better served with a bowl-shaped plunger, with an additional protruding ring or “flange,” known as the “flange plunger,” or “toilet plunger.” This type of plunger is specifically designed to seal the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl and to snake down into the actual toilet drain, allowing for greater pressure to be applied to the clogged pipe. In the event that your toilet is of the low flow variety, you should also be aware that some toilet plungers are designed specifically for use with these types of toilets and feature a long, funneled nose allowing for a tighter seal and prevention of backsplash. Note: Toilet plungers are found wherever sink plungers are sold.

2. Size

In addition to the type of plunger (a “cup” versus a “sink”), one other item to consider is the plunger size, both the size of the rubber cap and the handle. Generally, the longer the handle and the larger the cup, the more “powerful” the plunge. In addition, longer handles ensure a farther distance between your hands and the dirty water.

3. Storage

While many people simply keep their toilet plunger on the bathroom floor next to the toilet, a plunger is not the most pleasant item to look at. More importantly, these bacteria-ridden tools are unsanitary and can lead to disease and illness in both people and animals. Thus, it is important to always store it safely, and when purchasing it, you should also purchase something to keep it in. Whether it be a bucket, a custom plunger holder, a plastic sack, or even a flowerpot, it is important to store the plunger properly. For total storage and concealment, on the market today there are also sanitary storage cabinets and other devices that are discrete and allow you to hide it safely inside the bathroom wall.

So, go out and buy that plunger, otherwise known as the “plumber’s friend,” and a nice container to keep it in. And, then learn how to use it! With a plunger on hand, a clogged toilet can be cleared in a few simple steps – no licensed plumber required.