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Plumbing in the Home/How to use a plunger properly?



I have used a plunger to unclog a toilet and a bathtub respectively.  It seemed successful.  But I am still not absolutely sure how to use a plunger properly.  

First, the water has to be enough to cover the plunger. Correct?
I do NOT press down TOO hard but with enough force.  But when I pull it upwards, I try to suck as much air as possible.  Is this the right way?  I have no clue how a plunger works in respect of air pressure, vacuum...... etc. etc.  Please enlighten me.  Thanks.

Hi EP,
A plunger is actually correctly called a "force cup". The best way to use one is to press down slowly, trying to expel much of the the air under the cup on the first stroke. Then while it is sealed around the opening in the toilet, work it up and down rapidly in short strokes.  The object is to move the water under the cup back and forth rapidly which will break up the clog and allow the toilet to drain.

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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