How to Fix a Toilet Clog

Keep a plunger handy

The vast majority of toilet clogs can be fixed with just a plunger. So it kind of goes without saying that you’re going to need a plunger (preferably one with an extension flange on the rubber end).  But even with a plunger, there are better and worse ways to use it to fix a toilet clog.  Here’s what you need to know:

Why is my toilet clogged?

There are several possible reasons for a clog or what appears to be one. The most apparent is when the toilet is entirely obstructed. In this case, stop  flushing or else risk a flood. Sometimes a clog is caused by low water pressure. This might be caused by plumbing system, but it might also be because of a specific malfunction.

Assessing a toilet clog and plunging technique

Check whether enough flush water is getting into the bowl, clog or no. In order to evaluate whether a clog exists, open the tank and lift the flapper valve to let a bit of flush water into the bowl and note whether the water level decreases. Make sure you seal the valve after this test to prevent more water from entering. Once you have determined there is a clog, you could wear a rubber glove and try to dislodge the blockage manually. If rubber gloves and poop are not your style or it didn’t work, it’s time for the plunger.

The right way to use a plunger to fix a toilet clog

When you put the plunger in the bowl, tilt the bell of the plunger up a bit and let all the air out (you should see some bubbles).  Then put the bell over the entire toilet hole and begin pumping. The first few pumps should be slower to allow for the air that is being directed into the toilet. Continue as many times as needed until the water starts to drain. Sometimes the water will drain even though the toilet is still clogged. In that case, push the lever until the water level rises again––be sure to keep the plunger in the bowl, but uncover the toilet hole, or things will still flood.

Toilet clog remover alternative (no plunger)

If the plunger isn’t working, you can just allow some time to pass in order for the matter to break up. Alternatively, you can be proactive by introducing a new substance into the water. This ranges from hot water to an enzyme cleaner.  After you put the hot water or enzyme into the bowl, you will probably have to wait as directed by the instructions on the liquid container. If using hot water, give it several minutes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

In the event none of the above is effective, contact a plumber for a more resourceful look. Otherwise, your toilet should be free and ready to be clogged once again.

Do Better Home Toilets Clog Less Often?

ToiletIf your toilet clogs often, you’re probably wondering if a better toilet might fix the problem.  It might.  Toilets are surprisingly complicated machines.  Like any machine there are better and worse designs. Here is some information to help you make an educated decision about whether a new toilet will solve your problem.

How does a toilet work?

When you flush your toilet it releases stored water in the tank above the toilet bowl.  This water flows through small holes beneath the toilet seat as well as through a larger hole which pushes waste out of the bowl.  Here’s a good video that shows how it works:

Better engineering means that water moves more effectively and more powerfully from the reservoir to the bowl.  If your toilet is clogging frequently, it is possible that a better engineered toilet will deliver the efficiency to keep your toilet working.

You might also consider using a thinner toilet paper or flushing more often.  Often kleenex or other non-toilet paper materials will cause a more difficult clog than toilet-paper.  If your toilet is clogging frequently, you might consider avoiding any papers that are not toilet paper (e.g just use toilet paper).

Toilets That Use More or Less Water

Toilets use more water than anything else in your home (source: https://www.epa.gov/watersense/residential-toilets).  The federal standard for regular home commodes is 1.6 gallons per flush.  However, recent improvements in toilet design has enabled 1.28 gallons of water to do the same or better performance as conventional 1.6 gallon commodes.  

The EPA has a “WaterSense” label for toilets that perform better with less water per flush.  In some areas your utility company may even give you a discount for using a WaterSense toilet instead of a conventional 1.6 gallon commode.

Should You Buy a High Efficiency Toilet or a Regular Toilet?

According to Consumer Reports “more water flushed sometimes (but not always) mean more complete flushing” (read more here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/toilets/buying-guide).  It’s hard to make generalizations, and good performance really depends on which toilet you choose.

For help choosing a toilets that meet your family’s or business’s needs, call Henry Plumbing at 912-352-9827.

toilet

When to Replace Your Toilet

If your toilet is overflowing, you don’t necessarily need to replace it. However, if you are considering a new toilet, here are six different reasons that often make home owners decide to invest in a new toilet.

  1. Toilet Leaks
    Toilets can link from the tank (the top unit that you don’t usually look into) or from the bowl.  These leaks can damage the floor, subfloor, or rooms beneath the bathroom.  Sometimes these leaks undetected for a long time.  So if you see buckling or warping in the floor around the toilet, this is probably a good time to think about calling Henry Plumbing and possibly thinking about a new toilet.
  2. Toilet Uses a Lot of Water
    Toilets manufactured before 1980 can use up to 7 gallons of water per flush.  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 mandated that toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush (source: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/federal-regulations-toilet-gallons-88640.html).   A new toilet can literally save thousands of gallons of water a year.
  3. Your Toilet’s Ugly
    I know it’s cruel to say, but some commodes have really got to go (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).  It’s a bit amazing the sheer variety of colors and designs available in toilets.  You don’t really need to live with an ugly fixture forever.
  4. Toilet is Uncomfortable
    Toilets come in a variety of sizes, heights, and diameters.  If your toilet is uncomfortable, you can almost certainly find a better fit.
  5. Replacement Parts are Hard to Find
    Sometimes something simple like a “flush handle” breaks, and it can be hard to find one that matches the existing commode, or even one that fits.  This can be a good reason to get a new commode.
  6. Planning to Replace Bathroom Flooring
    If you’re replacing bathroom flooring, your toilet will probably have to be removed during the process.  Now is a good time to replace the toilet at the same time since you are already paying to uninstall and re-install the toilet.

Replacing a toilet does not need to be a tremendous investment, but it can make a big difference in the enjoyment and economy of your home.