Whether it is a sink clogged in the kitchen or bathroom, or a toilet is misbehaving, reaching for the plunger is common practice to free the lines of obstructions and allow for proper drainage. But what people may not realize is that plunging incorrectly can cause severe pipe damage, resulting in the need for professional assistance. Plunging techniques are not always correct and people trying to emulate what they see isn’t always enough to ensure appropriate application. To spare yourself some unneeded grief and to help you effectively gain success in your plunging efforts, we at The Original $49.95 Plumber would like to expound on the dos and don’ts of plunging.
Pre-plunging Dos and Don’ts
Before grabbing the plunger, there are a few things that are better to do and other things best to avoid. With that in mind, below is the pre-plunging dos and don’ts you should keep in mind before getting to the nitty-gritty.
Do – Use biodegradable drain cleaner for the drains prior to plunging. Not only may this help get obstructions moving more freely with the plunging action, it could be enough to not have to use the plunger.
Do – Inspect the strainer and look for soap scum buildup or hair that might be causing the blockage. To remove the stopper, twist counter-clockwise and pull it out; clean the stopper or drainer well and before reinserting it back into the drain, twist the wire and pull up any debris.
Do – Add a tablespoon of mild liquid dishwashing soap in a large pot of boiling water and use the soapy water to flush the clogged drain. This method is especially useful for clogs near the garbage disposal as grease could be clogging the drain passageways. Then simply pour the boiling soapy water down the drain and check to see if the clog was effectively removed.
Don’t – Do not use caustic chemicals to unclog the drains. The commercial chemical drain openers can not only cause undo damage to your pipe lines, but it can prove to be a hazard to your family.
Plunging Dos and Don’ts
Now that it is time to take the plunger and get to it, keep in mind the following dos and don’ts.
Don’t – Do not use excessive pressure and force to plunge the clogs. The drain line connection and trap can be easily damaged with too much pressure.
Don’t – If you opted to use chemical drain cleaner, do not use the plunger. If it should make contact with your skin after the toxic liquid splashing onto your skin, it could result in chemical burns.
Do – If the plunging is ineffective, do use a plumber’s snake. Once you meet resistance in the drain, you have found the clog and all you do is continue to crank and rotate the auger to clear away the obstruction.
Do – With wet cloths, block the overflow drain, grab the plunger and position it over the drain and firmly plunge down and up several consecutive times. With a little extra strength, jerk the plunger upward and out on the last plunge.