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When To Plunge, When To Snake, And When To Call A Plumber

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Experiencing a clogged drain in your home is unfortunately inevitable at some point in your life, and when you get a really tough clog, it’s best not to let the panic set in. Although there are different ways to clean your drains, you will most likely need to do one of three things: attempt to use a plunger to fix the clog yourself, snake your drains, or call in a plumber. The important thing to be able to do is find out when you should be doing what.

When To Plunge

If your toilet is backing up, your kitchen sink is draining slowly, or there are funny sounds coming from your bathtub – you probably have a clogged drain. Your first attempt should always be to haul out the plunger and give it a go. If the toilet is backing up then giving it a good plunge might do the trick and give you some immediate relief. If the problem persists, however, then it is likely that the clog is a little more complicated than you hoped. Your next option is NOT to run to the supermarket to buy chemical drain cleaners – these will only cause more damage to your pipes and not help you find the root of the problem.

Another concern with using a plunger at home to unclog a blocked drain, is that you might not be using the correct plunger for the right clog. There are three main types of plungers that are suitable to fixing certain clogs in your home. 

These different plungers include:

  • Cup Plunger

    This type of plunger is commonly found in your home and is usually what comes to mind when you picture what a plunger looks like. The cup plunger is usually used to unclog your kitchen or bathroom sink. It has a wooden handle and a circular suction cup. This cup plunger works best on flat surfaces so that it can form a vacuum to suck up the clog.

  • Toilet Plunger

    This plunger is similar to a cup plunger in that it has the same shape cup but it also has a cylindrical rubber flap that folds out from inside the cup. This extra flap fits well over the toilet drain allowing enough suction to remove the clog more efficiently. Sometimes it is best to keep the toilet plunger separate from the sink plunger as it can be unhygienic to use in both places.

  • Accordion Plunger

    This type of plunger is made of hard plastic and also contains a cylindrical flap at the bottom. It is best used to plunge a clogged toilet, however, the hard plastic material can be damaging to the bowl of the toilet.

If you don’t think you have the right plunger at home, to perform the right plunging job, then it is a good idea to get a plumbing expert in to do the job for you.

When To Snake

A drain snake is a popular plumbing tool that allows for you to try and tackle a clog that is a bit further down your pipes. The way it works is that the long end of the snake reaches the blockage and cuts through the debris to break it up. There are two different types of drain snakes available. The one you might have at home is usually made from plastic and contains barbs. This method allows for the snake to be squished into the drain to hook out whatever is causing the blockage. This type of drain snake is helpful if the clog is closer to the surface.

The other type of drain snake is made of metal and is bendy and coiled. This metal drain snake is longer in length and is usually used by most professional plumbers. There are a few things to be aware of as to why it is important for plumbers to be in charge when using this particular tool. The pipes in your plumbing system are rather intricate and so it is important to not damage them when attempting to clear a clog. It is also often the case that the clog may be further down the pipe where certain parts will need to be removed using additional tools, so that the clog can be reached by the drain snake to help clear it.

Another thing to consider when you think you might have a clog is the size of the drain snake you will need to use. If the wrong size is chosen, it can be difficult to get the wires through the bends in your pipe. If the drain snake is used incorrectly, it can cause major long-term damage to your pipes.

When To Call A Plumber

When a clogged drain occurs, it can be tempting to try and fix the issue yourself since it can be extremely frustrating to not have immediate relief. A lot of the time it is necessary to call in a professional with the right equipment and expertise to give you that relief, and avoid a plumbing disaster. If you think you may have a clog in your main sewer line, then you should always give a plumbing professional a call to see to the issue. Your home plumbing system is made up of intricate and expensive parts so it will most likely save you more money in the long-run by having an expert see to the issue, and help you avoid the problem reoccurring.

If you think you might be experiencing a clogged toilet, bathtub, kitchen sink, or are suffering from any other plumbing nightmares – give one of our professional plumbers at Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning a call today and find out more about the variety of plumbing services we provide.


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