Few things are more annoying — and nastier — than a clogged toilet.
Prevention is certainly the best cure when it comes to toilet blockage, but if you have a clog, you may be able to fix it on your own.
However, because of the serious health risks associated with exposure to sewage, it’s important that you know when to call in a professional to help.
In this post, we’ll tell you all about some of the most common causes of a clogged toilet, and offer you basic tips on how to unclog a toilet with standard blockage.
We’ll also fill you in on when it’s best to call in a plumber, and where you can go to find the experienced help you need.
Remember, a toilet blockage isn’t something that’s going to magically go away on its own. Read on to understand how to stop the problem before it gets any worse.
Why Toilet Blockage Happens
It might not be the most pleasant thing to think about, but let’s quickly talk about why your toilet clogged in the first place.
In some cases, using too much toilet paper could be the reason for the blockage. The same goes for flushing objects, like feminine hygiene products, food waste, baby wipes, and cotton balls down your toilet.
Because many objects like the above are absorbent, they expand and block the pipe completely.
Sometimes, toilet blockage occurs because you have a low-flow toilet, designed to save water. While low-flow toilets manufactured after the mid-1990s usually don’t clog, earlier models weren’t quite perfected before they went to market.
You may also deal with a toilet blockage because you don’t have enough water in your tank, making it impossible to create enough pressure to properly flush.
Toilets can also clog because of issues with hard water. This water eventually calcifies and makes it tough for waste and water to properly move through your pipes.
How to Fix a Clogged Toilet
The first step in learning how to unclog a toilet is to begin by giving it a thorough cleaning.
As long as the toilet bowl isn’t yet overflowing or close to overflowing, you can use a standard drain unclogging solution to attempt to fix the blockage. Leave the solution for about 15-20 minutes, and then flush it once the water level is close to normal levels.
One important rule to keep in mind?
Avoid pouring too much bleach down the pipes. This can often end up doing more harm than good, as bleach can release harmful fumes if there are already other chemicals in the pipes, and even damage their structural integrity.
If this doesn’t work, it’s time to break out the plunger.
Put it directly over the toilet trap (the small opening in the center of the toilet bowl) and use an even force to push and pull the plunger in and out. You’ll likely need to do this a few times.
When you spot the water level going down, the plunging method is working properly. Flush it to eliminate the blockage.
You can also try using a toilet snake for more stubborn clogs.
Put the end of the snake down the toilet trap, and slowly turn it clockwise as you continue to push it further down into the trap. This should break things up.
When to Call a Professional
You’ve used toilet drain cleaner, a plunger, and some of the other methods we mentioned above.
However, you’re still dealing with a seriously clogged toilet. The last thing you want to do is accidentally make the problem worse than it already is.
It’s time to call in a professional.
In addition to a stubborn toilet clog you just can’t fix on your own, when else should you call in a professional plumber?
If you suspect that you may have a blocked plumbing vent, it’s not something you can fix on your own. These vents stop air pressure from building up, and bring air into your plumbing. Sometimes, twigs, leaves, and even nests can block the vents.
This leads to serious, consistent clogs. An expert will be able to properly identify where the clog is located, and use the right tools to fix it once and for all.
Sometimes, the issue is much larger than your toilet or even the vent. In some cases, the true problem originates in your main sewer line.
This can happen because of a buildup of foreign objects over a long period of time, or even because of tree roots that have spread and poked holes in the sewer line.
Sewer line issues aren’t just responsible for annoying clogs. They can also seriously threaten your health. You’ll be at a higher risk for exposure to harmful bacteria, which can lead to stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and serious disease.
Call in a professional right away, and never attempt to fix this issue on your own.
Need Professional Help with a Toilet Blockage?
No one likes dealing with toilet blockage, but the good news is that being proactive and taking good care of your toilet can prevent lots of these issues.
However, sometimes, there are toilet and sewage problems that you can’t — and shouldn’t — handle on your own.
When that happens, you deserve the best professional help from plumbers that will properly diagnose the problem and find a lasting solution.
Whether you suspect the issue is with your main sewer line, a plumbing vent, or if you’re dealing with a stubborn clog, we’re here to help.
Reach out to us today to get an estimate or schedule a service call.
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