Would you know what to do to unclog a toilet if it happened to you after you finished your business and flushed the chain? It’s bad enough if it happens in your own home, but the situation can be even more embarrassing if you are at someone else’s home.
Many men have no idea how to deal with a blocked toilet, and their initial thought is to call a plumber, regardless of what time of day it is. However, many women seem to regard it as one of the manly duties, along with getting the grill going and killing spiders. I talked to one of the experts, Rod from Edmonton Emergency Plumber and learned what the most effective way to unclog a blocked toilet is, should you find yourself in that predicament.
Closing the toilet flapper after removing the lid from the toilet tank should be your first step if it looks as if the toilet bowl is going to fill up and overflow on to the floor. You may want to remove the lid of the toilet before you flush the toilet if you are concerned that flushing the toilet may cause it to overflow. This strategy allows you to quickly and efficiently prevent any deluge in your bathroom, by keeping one of your hands within easy reach of the flapper, while pushing the flusher with the other hand.
Congratulations – you have managed to avoid having a flooded bathroom, although you still have work to do to make sure you thoroughly unclog the toilet. Whenever possible, use a funnel cup plunger to unclog your toilet; these have an additional part, or flange extending from the bottom of the rubber cup, which allows them to ensure a tight seal between the toilet bowl and the plunger.
A pliant and soft plunger is much better at unclogging your toilet than a hard and stiff one, and before using it, rinse it under some hot water, to ensure that all critical tight seal will be there when you start plunging.
The pullback is just as significant as the push downwards when using a plunger to unblock your toilet, although Rod points out that many people overlook this. You may notice the water disappear after just a few good hard strokes, although you will need to close the flapper to prevent more water from entering the bowl if you don’t see positive results. Repeat the procedure as needed if your plunging doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.
Pouring a couple of cups of hot water, perhaps along with some dishwashing soap, into the toilet bowl before you start plunging is a secret technique that most good plumbers recommend. The hot water will break up whatever stuff is floating in the toilet after you allow it all to sit for at least a few minutes. As mentioned previously, there are few things more embarrassing than clogging up the toilet at a friend’s house. If you would rather not ask your host for a plunger, try pouring hot water down there first; often it simply breaks up the stuff causing the blockage without having to plunge.
An auger will tell you it may be time to use the auger to unclog your toilet if the plunger isn’t working. Most good hardware and home improvement stores stock augers; it’s a cable like a device that can break up whatever is causing your blockage by penetrating into the pipes.
Turn the crank on the end of the auger after you have maneuvered it as far as you can into the pipe. Pull out any stuff that the auger hooks onto, and get rid of it. There may be a leftover blockage even after using the auger on your toilet, and a few minutes of work with the plunger should take care of that.
However, you may find that everything you have tried won’t unblock the toilet, meaning it may just be time to call the nearest plumber. If there is water backing up in your showers or sink when you flush the toilet, it’s a sure sign that you may have to call a plumber, says Rod. You probably have a clogged main line if you notice backed up water after flushing, and unfortunately, the auger and plunger won’t be sufficient.
Of course, as Rod points out, avoiding a clogged toilet in the first place should be your focus. That means educating kids on the right way to use the toilet and what not to do with it. A toy or other item stuck in the toilet is the reason for a surprisingly high number of clogged toilets.
Your toilet may not be able to flush at full power if you have clogged jets, and Rod says one way to minimize the chances of a clogged toilet is to make sure those jets around the edge of the bowl are clean. And while it may not be everybody’s favorite chore, simply giving your toilet a good clean on a regular basis can help to prevent clogging. Any junk can be cleared out with a screwdriver or an Allen wrench, and you may notice a lot of accumulation if you haven’t cleaned your toilet in a while.
And another step you can take to make sure you don’t have the ordeal of a blocked toilet – go easy on the toilet paper and don’t use more than necessary.