Why do I Need 2 Plungers?
Chances are you have just 1 plunger in your household. Most likely, it’s sitting next to your toilet ready for the clog to happen. But what about when one of your sinks is backed up?
At Bell Brothers, we understand why you wouldn’t want to use your toilet plunger for anything else, this is one of the reasons we recommend two plungers in every house.
Both types of plungers function differently: toilet plungers are designed and built to adapt to the shape of the toilet’s drain. Sink plungers (or cup plungers) are unilaterally designed to pull debris up from sink drains.
When you use a toilet plunger to unclog a sink, you’ll be unable to position the plunger properly over the drain. You’re also spewing the bacteria from your toilet onto your sink and into your sink drain.
Likewise, if you use a sink drain for a toilet, you’ll spew the same bacteria back onto your sink.
How Plungers Work, and Why You Need 2 Plungers
- Atmospheric pressure: The atmosphere around you has pressure. Where you’re sitting right now, you are surrounded by atmospheric pressure. This atmospheric pressure sits in the cave of the plunger when it’s not in use.
- Low pressure: In this case, we’ll consider any pressure lower than atmospheric as “low.” Wind, water, and other items get sucked inwards towards the source of the low pressure.
The basic science behind plungers involves changes in air pressure. When you press a plunger onto a surface, the atmospheric pressure inside of the plunger lowers. Then, the atmospheric pressure outside of the plunger pushes down onto the plunger rubber, which makes it stick to the surface
When you pull your plunger back up, water and obstructions get pulled up as well. This is because lower pressure causes a vacuum due to higher surrounding pressure.
How a Sink Plunger Works
The best plunger for sinks and bathtubs are cup plungers. These are shaped like a cup with no other layers. Sink plungers also tend to have a shorter handle than toilet plungers.
Sink drains have two parts: the main drain and the overflow drain. The overflow drain is the little hole that usually sits under the faucet. This is connected to the main drain of sinks or baths.
When it comes to unclogging a sink, you will need to plug up the overflow drain. You can do this by stuffing in a rag or using an overflow drain cover.
Why is it necessary to plug the overflow drain?
Because the pipe that catches water from the overflow drain is the same one for the main drain. This means that air and water can still flow through this mutual pipe even if the main drain is blocked.
When you cover the overflow drain, you allow the sink plunger to create the pressure it needs to pull debris up from the main drain.
On the other hand, toilets don’t have overflow drains that need to be covered. They are, however, shaped differently than sinks and require a different kind of plunger.
How a Toilet Plunger Works
Flange plungers are created for toilets. They look like cup plungers but with a protruding base. This is so that the plunger can adapt to the shape of the toilet drain.
The toilet plunger is pressed downward to change the pressure inside the plunger. This then creates a vacuum. Water and other items push upwards into the plunger. Once released, the water and debris fall away from the plunger.
What to Do When Your Plunger Doesn’t Work
If your plunging efforts are not working, you may have a severe clog. There may be stubborn objects in your drain such as:
- Hardened fats and oils
- Wet wipes
- Menstrual products
- Tree roots (Yes, they can grow into your pipes!)
- Hard water minerals
Here’s when you should call a Bell Brothers plumber for professional plumbing maintenance:
- Multiple plunge attempts with no result
- The clog worsens
- The clog begins to flood or overflow
- Your drain clogs regularly
Sometimes, the clog isn’t a simple fix. A professional can take care of the guessing game and figure out what’s going on with your drain. Moreover, you may worsen complex plumbing issues by trying to solve them yourself, which will only heighten the need to call a professional for plumbing maintenance and repair.