Know Your Plungers – Three Types and Where They Are Used

It’s one of the most recognizable symbols of plumbing. You likely have one in your bathroom or tucked away in a closet or basement. We’re talking about a plunger. But did you know there are different styles of this tool?

Know Your Plungers

There are three types of plungers: the cup plunger, the flange plunger, and the accordion plunger. Knowing which plunger to use can increase your odds of unclogging a sink or toilet drain.

3 types of household plungers

  1. Cup plunger – The standard plunger you imagine – with a simple rubber bottom with a wooden handle – is called a cup plunger. What’s surprising is that a cup plunger is best suited for sinks, not toilets. The reason is that the cup design works best on a flat surface such as a sink. When you move the plunger down and up, the cup creates positive and negative pressure that pushes the blockage in the drain. 
  2. Flange plunge – At a glance, the flange plunger looks similar to the cup plunger. But take a closer look and you’ll notice a significant difference. The bottom has an extra flap that narrows to create a smaller hole than the cup’s base. This piece is the flange, and it helps the plunger fit snugly into the curved shape of a toilet bowl and create a vacuum for effective plunging. So if you have a clogged toilet, we recommend the flange plunger over a cup plunger.
  3. Accordion plunger. Last but not least, we have the accordion plunger. Unlike the first two types we’ve discussed, this plunger is typically made out of hard plastic. The “cup” has multiple layers that give it the accordion name, along with a flange at the bottom. There are pros and cons to using an accordion plunger to unclog a toilet. On the positive side, it creates more force, which can be useful for stubborn or deep clogs. The downside is that it’s more challenging to create a reliable seal due to the plastic cup (rubber forms to the surface better). 

Safety tips about plunging

As we’ve learned, the cup plunger works better on a sink, and the flange and accordion plungers are better suited for toilets. Another reason to keep these plumbing tools separate is cross-contamination. Say you use your trusty plunger to unclog a toilet one day and then later use the same plunger on a sink. Unless you do some major sanitizing, you’re spreading toilet germs to a sink where you brush or teeth or prepare your food. Gross. 

Finally, we never recommend using liquid drain cleaners to break up a clog. But if you do, it’s crucial not to use a plunger afterward; otherwise, you could splash harsh chemicals on yourself or around the room. 

Professional drain cleaning

When used on the correct type of fixture, plungers can be useful drain-clearing tools. However, even the best plunger in the world can’t fix serious clogs or sewer line blockages. In those cases, you’ll need the experts at Reichelt Plumbing. To schedule professional drain cleaning, call us at (219) 322-4906.

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