How to Unclog a Toilet & Preventing a Clog in the First Place
Toilets are one of the most common plumbing problems for which people call our office. It’s usually a blocked toilet that is at risk of overflowing onto the bathroom floor. On this page, we’ll discuss some of the common causes and how you can fix your clogged toilet.
Signs That Your Toilet (or Sewer Line) is Blocked
- The water does not flush properly, stays in the bowl for long periods or ends up overflowing over the top of the bowl
- When the toilet is flushed, water starts to gurgle up in your shower or bathtub drain
- When the washing machine is running and you notice water coming up in the showers, bathtubs, or gurgling in the toilet bowl. That is a sign of water that can’t leave the house easily and is backing up into the other sewer lines.
- If you notice fluid leaking out of the sewer drain out outside of your home.
Causes of a Clogged Toilet
There are many reasons why toilets get clogged. Perhaps from how the toilet is used, the mechanics of the toilet, or issues with the water supply.
This article will cover several of these reasons your toilet could be clogged and provide some fixes, as well as offer tips to keep your toilet from future clogs.
- Low-flow toilets: Some older low flow toilets simply do not have enough power to properly flush.
- Poor drains: Old pipes that have been damaged by the home’s foundation, tree roots or age can restrict the flow through the drain lines.
- Blocked toilet trap: The trap is part of the toilet behind the bowl that is shaped like the letter S. Kids toys, wads of toilet paper, paper towels or feminine products are the usual culprits. Plungers can be effective in this case, although, for toys or other hard objects, it is better to retrieve them to prevent damage to the drain lines.
- Toys: curious kids “teaching big bird to swim” is not a recipe for success!
- Too much paper all at once.
Here are a few tips to help keep your toilets flowing freely. Don’t flush any of the following:
- Paper towels
- Feminine products
If it’s too late to a prevent an already clogged toilet, and you need a plumber’s assistance, call (972) 379-4000 for professional plumbing services in Plano and the surrounding communities including Rockwall, Richardson, and Garland.
How to Unclog a Toilet
Quite often, all that is needed to clear a simple clogged toilet is a toilet plunger. They usually cost less than $10 at your local hardware store and tend to get the job done quickly and without too much mess.
Align the head of the plunger over the toilet drain as shown in the picture and quickly push down on the handle 2 or 3 times. That normally does the trick and you’ll hear and see the water flowing down the drain. Once this happens, give the toilet a couple of full flushes to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Here is a short video on how to use a toilet plunger that was produced by Home Dept.
If you find that your toilet gets frequently blocked for no apparent reason, there may be other more systemic issues that should be addressed. We recommend that you call us at (972) 379-4000 for a drain system inspection.
Homemade & Chemical Drain Cleaners
Some people swear by their homemade drain cleaning formulas. While they are kinder to the environment than their chemical counterparts, their effect may be limited.
Usually, a combination of hot water, vinegar, and baking soda is recommended, although do not use boiling hot water as it may crack the porcelain of the toilet. If you want to try this method, you may try “Googling” homemade toilet drain cleaners and see what other people have been using.
Chemical drain cleaners can be purchased at most hardware or grocery stores. Please use extreme caution when using this product as it can be very toxic to pets, people and also corrosive on the sewer pipes. It’s also harmful to the environment.
If the blockage is more biological in nature, a drain cleaner can help, but if the object is hard, like a toy, for example, this solution will not work for you.
Look for cleaners that are specifically designed to unclog toilets.
This method will only deal with light blockages and may do more hard than good. It is rare that a good plumbing company will use chemicals to fix a clogged drain.
A plumbing snake is a device you can usually rent at a hardware store that you insert into the toilet. When the handle is rotated, the “snake” spins around and when it reaches the blockage, hopefully, it dislodges it enough that water flows freely and flushes the offending object away.
Plumbing snakes may also be known as a closet auger, which is specifically designed for unclogging toilets without harming the toilet bowl.
The idea is to feed the end of the snake into the toilet drain opening until you can feel the obstruction. Sometimes the blockage is so far along the drain line, that your plumber snake is not long enough, and you’ll need to find another drain access point, possibly from the outside of your home.
The main concern from a DIY perspective is making a mess and what happens if this does not fix the blockage. If a tree root is the cause of a blocked drain line, then you will need to hire a master plumber with specialized augers or plumber snakes that are designed to cut through tree roots or other hard objects.
Call a Professional Plumber for Clogged Toilets & Other Plumbing Repairs in Plano
Many homeowners are quite handy when it comes to minor fixes, especially with the plethora of help you can find on places like YouTube. Quite often, it’s a simple fix that costs very little and can be performed in a short amount of time. Having a $10 toilet plunger in the bathroom can save you the time and expense of bringing in a plumber to fix your issue.
At some point though, the average DIY-er should not think about fixing it themselves and leave it to the professionals like Staggs Plumbing. All too often, we have seen someone attempt to fix a plumbing issue themselves, only to make the problem worse. A cracked toilet or broken sewer pipe can be disastrous to your home, your health and your wallet.
If you want it fixed right and fixed the first time, choose a plumber with high consumer ratings, a company with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and excellent user reviews. We’re here to take care of your home and make it safe for you and your family.
Contact us online or call (972) 379-4000 to schedule reliable and affordable plumbing services in Dallas and the surrounding communities. We have offices in Plano TX and Rockwall Texas that dispatch our plumbers to all cities within about a 30-mile radius.