It’s difficult to think of anything worse than a clogged toilet. It keeps you from enjoying your bathroom properly and it can cause serious distress for the whole family. There are several reasons for a clogged toilet, ranging from obstructions to build up, to improper plumbing. The reality is, despite the cause, all homeowners want is for it to be cleared and gone. Of course, you still need to figure out the cause and possibly take some steps to relieve the clog quickly and easily.
While it might be your first instinct to call a professional plumber, that isn’t always necessary to begin with. The best way is to start with a few home remedies to see if you can quickly resolve the obstruction or clog. If after you have put in sufficient effort to no avail, then it might be time to call a professional.
A few steps to see whether or not you need a professional plumber include the following.
Steps to Consider Before Calling a Plumber
Step One: Don’t Flush Your Toilet More Than Once
To begin with, if your toilet doesn’t completely flush after your first try, then whatever you do don’t flush it again. All you will do is cause it to overflow onto your bathroom floor and pump more water into the toilet bowl unnecessarily. Start by taking the lid off your toilet tank, and close the flapper at the top to prevent more water from flowing into the bowl. The flapper is a circular rubber piece that stops water from flowing in and out of the toilet.
Step Two: Prep Your Environment
After you have prevented the toilet from overflowing onto the floor, it is still a good idea to prep the environment by placing paper towels or newspapers around the bottom of the bowl. Turn on your ventilation system to keep the air fresh and prevent foul odors from filling up the room. This will make it easier to work and unclog the drain. You might also want to grab a pair of rubber gloves, and throw on some old clothes.
Step Three: Avoid Plunging if There’s an Obstruction
The next step is to see if there is an obstruction inside the pipe. You may already be aware of this if your child has thrown a toy down the pipe or something else is obstructing the water from freely flowing. If you can see the obstruction, grab your gloves and pull out the obstruction with your own hands. If you can’t see it and can’t reach it, then use your plunger gently. However, the best bet is to avoid plunging and try something else instead.
Step Four: Use a Plunger
If there is no solid obstruction, then go ahead and use your plunger. If you do, ensure that your plunger is high quality for the best results. Either a ball shaped plunger or a plunger with a fold-out rubber flange on the bottom part which forms a suction seal, is best. If your plunger is not sealing, then it’s not working. It’s also a good idea to put the plunger under hot water for a few minutes to soften it and prep it for the toilet.
Step Five: Flush with the Plunger Inside
You want your plunger to completely cover the hole of your toilet. It needs to be completely submersed to guarantee a solid suction. You want to push and pull water over the hole to guarantee a real result. Start by slowly pumping the plunger as you flush water into the bowl. This could very well go on for up to 20 minutes with little progress, but don’t give up.
If none of the above works, then it could be time to either try a homemade concoction of chemicals (or something from your local hardware supply store), or it could be possible you will need to hire a professional to help with your clog. Below we address the tell-tale signs that denote you need a plumber on your side.
Signs It’s Time to Call a Professional
- You’ve Used Proper Methods and it Still is Clogged. If the above methods didn’t work to heal your clogged toilet, then the only thing left is to call a professional.
- You’re worried about permanent damage to your system. Sometimes there is such a thing as too much elbow grease. Never try to force your toilet to unclog as this could damage your plumbing system. Instead, call an expert for help.
- You may be concerned the issue goes much deeper than your toilet. Clogs can very well be a symptom of a much larger problem. This could be your sewer line or something else, but you won’t likely recognize the issue unless you get professional help.
Give some serious thought to your plumbing issue before trying any at home remedy. The wrong method could end up costing you more in the end. Contact a professional if your easy strategy isn’t producing results.