Ok, it happened. The toilet has backed up. You have company, or your mother-in-law, or even a date at the house and you are mortified. What do you do? Call a plumber? Pray that no one has to use the bathroom?

While the latter might not be super effective, I have turned off the water and walked away. The justification? Thinking that everything will be just fine if I wait and come back in a few hours. How can I do that? I am fortunate to have a second, half bath of the guest room, I highly recommend making sure you have that half-bath when you are house hunting.

So, what is important to know about plunging a toilet?

A Toddler ripping up toilet paper in bathroom
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The most important things to know are that it is going to potentially be messy, and it is guaranteed to smell. Turn off the water (if you can), make sure you are not wearing your best clothes, grab a few old towels just in case things start to overflow, and then you'll need to start plunging. 

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Does the type of plunger matter? Or can you use any kind?

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I have tried three different styles of plunger; I keep going back to the "traditional" style that you probably think of when you hear the word plunger. In my opinion, this works best. Try a few different ones for yourself. Trust me, you will eventually have a preference.

Does plunger placement in the bowl really matter?

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Oh, heck yes it matters. Regardless of the type of plunger you are using, it needs to cover the drain hole. You can position that plunger in a variety of spots and push, push, plunge to your hearts content, but if you haven't made the proper seal with the plunger, you are not going to be effective in your plunging.

How do you know that your plunging is effective or working?

You will know, because all of the sudden, the toilet will woosh its contents away to toilet never-never land. Make sure to clean up your surrounding toilet area and once that is done, turn the water back on and wait for the toilet to refill and that there are no leaks before you walk away. Good luck!

Looking for more tips? Here are a few to help with winter travel in New York State

Before you bring out the space heaters, read this regarding the dangers so your house does not burn down

Many people use space heaters to stay warm in New York. But few know the important steps you need to take to avoid a fire. 

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