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Home: Toilet: Hygiene
indirect toilet plunger   (+2, -3)  [vote for, against]
never touches water - for the squeamish

If you can't stand the thought of sticking anything inside a clogged-up toilet, here's a plunger with a ridiculously large rubber bell -- exactly the size and shape of an upside-down toilet bowl. Plunk it down on the rim to form a tight seal. Now whomp the handle violently up and down, transmitting pressure waves through the trapped air to the water. No stray splashing, and good exercise.
-- hob, Feb 20 2002

everything you ever wanted to know about toilets...
[mihali, Feb 20 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

bellows plunger http://www.cornerha...5100000&cat_id=1049
"displaces 182 cu. in. of water" [mihali, Feb 20 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

difficulty --- this will also force air through the little holes under the rim from which the water comes --- if those present less resistance to whomping than the clogged drain, then the plunger won't do much good.
-- wiml, Feb 20 2002

Er... yes. Good thing I haven't tried this myself.

Would suggest adding a rubber lip that went under the rim to seal off those holes, but the squeamish people for whom this is intended would *not* want to make any contact, no matter how indirect, with the under-rim area.

So, first we must modify all toilets to add one-way valves between the cistern and bowl.
-- hob, Feb 20 2002

Unlikely to be effective because:

1. Unlike water, air is very compressible and so you'd waste your energy compressing air rather than overpowering the clog. In a collision, deformation occurs in the manner that requires the least energy.

2. A dry air-tight seal is harder to obtain than a wet seal with water.

3. The "holes" problem.
-- seal, Feb 20 2002

seal: 2 and 3 I absolutely agree with. 1 I think is actually an advantage - you'd create a pressure wave.
-- st3f, Feb 20 2002

Not to mention the looks your friends would give you when they see that great, huge, damn plunger sitting next to the toilet.
-- bristolz, Feb 20 2002

[st3f] The energy would not be used effectively if used to compress air first. I'd be like exploding a depth charger in the air and expecting it to damage the submarine below.

Doesn't work.

For this plunger, the air would act like a giant bumper or padding to protect the clog from your energy. (This explains why the shocks in your car are filled with compressible gas rather than liquid)
-- seal, Feb 20 2002

seal: Hey, I think you've found the answer. Depth charges!
-- RayfordSteele, Feb 20 2002

the plunger must be full of water, and you must make a good seal with the bowl. the plastic bellows type plungers are what the pros use. see link.
-- mihali, Feb 20 2002

{Rayford} Just make sure you close the lid first. ;)
-- seal, Feb 20 2002

Actually, a large amount of air compressed quickly may enhance the effect.

Experiment: Take a glass bottle with a flat bottom, like a beer bottle. Fill it completely with water, so there is no air space at all. Slap your palm down over the mouth of the bottle. Nothing happens.

Fill it to half an inch or so with water. Hold it over a sink or outside, and slap your palm down over the mouth of the bottle. The bottom of the bottle, if done correctly, will blow off. The air compresses then kicks harder than the original slap.

I've seen my brother do it, and I've done it myself.

Mihali: I've got one of those plungers, and they do work pretty well. Kind of a pain to fill it up with water, though; air by itself doesn't work. The real pros use a compressed air one, with a pump. Blow it up to 5-10 pounds, push it in, pull the trigger, "FOOMP"...Father said a friend of his's son got drunk one night, clogged the toilet, pumped the thing up to 120 pounds and fired...Cleared it right out...and shortly thereafter was a knock on the door. Seems the pressure followed the path of least resistance; out the vent pipe on the roof. And someone was walking by, during a short, sharp shower of...
-- StarChaser, Feb 22 2002

// ... looks your friends would give you when they see that great, huge, damn plunger sitting next to the toilet //

*Spit take*
-- waugsqueke, Feb 22 2002

random, halfbakery