Have you been plunging away at a sink, tub, or toilet with no success? Plunging can alleviate the majority of clogs, but you have to go about it in the right way. Here's a look at some of the mistakes you might be making when plunging. Correct them and you'll stand a much better chance of actually clearing that drain without having to call a plumber.
Mistake #1: Using the wrong kind of plunger.
If you're plunging a sink or tub, the type of plunger you'll want to use has a plain, bowl-shaped end. For a toilet, you need the type that has a narrower projection inside the bowl-shaped end. Use the wrong type of plunger for the wrong purpose and you won't get a good seal between the plunger and the sink, tub, or toilet drain. It's best to keep both kinds of plungers on hand so you always have the type you need.
Mistake #2: Not putting enough water in the sink, tub, or toilet.
Plunging works by forcing water down the drain and then up again. If there's not enough water in the sink, tub, or toilet, you'll be forcing mostly air down the drain, and this is not very effective at removing clogs. Add enough water so that the plunger can be fully immersed. This might result in some splashing, but you can put towels down around the sink or toilet to absorb the water if you're really concerned.
Mistake #3: Trying to plunge too quickly.
It's not the number of strokes you make, but rather the force of those strokes that will determine how effectively your clog is loosened. Focus on delivering as much power as you can with each stroke. It doesn't matter if you then have to rest for a few seconds to get your power back before pushing down on the plunger again.
Mistake #4: Holding the plunger at an angle.
As mentioned previously, the plunger needs to form a seal around the drain in order to work. If you're holding the plunger at an angle relative to the drain, you're not achieving this seal. Make sure you're holding the plunger straight up and down. This may mean you have to stand on a stool to plunge a tall sink, but that's perfectly all right.
If you follow the advice above and are still not able to loosen the clog, it may be located too far down the pipes for the plunger to be effective. Contact a plumber in your area, like one from All Clear, for help.