What causes a clogged toilet, and what are the solutions? Clogged toilets are probably the most unpleasant experience everybody has to deal with from time to time. It is not just inconvenient, but also messy and unsanitary. You have probably dealt with the situation successfully most times, but recurrent clogging can be sign of more serious problems that require total replacement of a toilet or a professional drain technician. To prevent clogged toilet, recognize the signs and know how to troubleshoot them.
A clogged toilet form excessive use of toilet paper
It is generally true that only the things that go into the toilet are toilet paper, intended waste, and water. However, during certain occasions such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any holiday season where a big family gathers in your house, excessive use of toilet paper is very common. Added with the excessive use of toilet paper, the habit of “balling” it is also a common issue. Folding the paper may make you think that the paper will become smaller, allowing it to be flushed more easily, but it is not. Tightly or largely bound paper balls are hard and may not fit the diameter trap. This is especially true when they combine with water.
Prevention: Minimizing the habit of “balling” the toilet paper can help to eliminate clogging. Also, it is best to flush the waste first, and then followed by another flush to remove the toilet paper.
Solution: I you have a clogged toilet, a plunger is your weapon of choice. If the culprit is indeed toilet paper, not hard objects like toys or anything else, a good quality plunger should be able to get rid of the problem.
Flushing tampons causes a clogged toilet
Tampons and other hygiene products are common causes of a clogged toilet. Such products are designed to absorb moisture/water and expand. When they go into toilet bowl, they will stop at the trap. Also, sanitary napkins commonly have plastic linings which do not dissolve in water. They may go into the bowl, but then they prevent incoming water from flowing freely.
Prevention: Best things to do is to NOT throw away tampons and sanitary napkins into toilet bowl. They should go into garbage bin.
Solution: Once again, a plunger is an effective tool to troubleshoot the problem. If a plunger does not seem to work, you may need a professional drain cleaner. In this particular case, the toilet bowl itself may have to be removed, then re-installed. This is best rusted to someone with experience.
Non-flushable items placed in a toilet
It is preferable for the manufacturer to call their products “flushable items”, rather than the “non-flushable”. This is frequently not the case, and is a main cause of a clogged toilet. Many physical objects including wet wipes, certain specialty paper towels, toys, and baby wipes are not flushable. Again, many products are advertised as if they are, but they are not.
Prevention: Although some products are labeled with “flushable”, it does not necessarily mean that they can be flushed so easily. Do not try to flush those things just to prove that the advertisement is telling the truth! Keep the area above the tank clear of any physical object; a shelve can be good idea, but sometimes items unintentionally fall into the toilet and can cause clogging once flushed.
Solution: A typical plunger may not be powerful enough to flush hard object. Power plunger or hydro-jet plunger works well for stubborn blockage. But once an object is flushed, you better call a pro.
Hair is a common enemy of drain lines
Several hair strands are not going to cause clogged toilet. They flow easily with water in a single flush. There is, however, a possibility that some hairs are left behind and can accumulate. If you have a habit of flushing hair from a brush or shaver into the toilet, stop it now. If a clogged toilet is caused by a clump of hair, you may need a professional plumber to snake the sink.
Prevention: Stop flushing hair into the toilet, or sink. Train your family members as well.
Solution: If the hair still has not reached deep into the pipes, a plunger can pick the hair easily. But if it goes deep, it can get embedded in the plumbing. If a plunger is not is helpful, you can use chemical-based drain cleaners, but frequent use can deteriorate the pipes. If it still does not get rid of the problem, it is time to call a professional plumber.
Toilet bowl accidents!
As previously mentioned, some items on a shelf can fall unintentionally into the toilet. Some items that usually fall into toilet are a toothbrush, toys, and razors. If large enough, any of those things can cause a clogged toilet almost instantly.
Prevention: The best thing you can do is to remove all possible clogged-causing items from the vicinity of the toilet. If you need shelves to store items, make sure you can securely place those items inside the shelf. The best place for such a shelving unit is NOT above your toilet.
Solution: Small items such as toys and toothbrush are easily plunged, but if the items are considerably bigger, you must call a professional plumber to get rid of them. Some items may cause heavier damage than you may think, and a professional plumber will perform the necessary repair.
Fresheners can unintentionally clog a toilet
Some people use the type of toilet freshener that hangs inside the toilet bowl itself. The hooks can deteriorate over time, causing the freshener to fall.
Prevention: If you need a freshener, avoid using something that hangs inside the toilet bowl. There are many other types, and most will work effectively to eliminate bad smells. Who really cares if the water turns blue or not?
Solution: A hand-operated auger is the best tool to retrieve fallen freshener. But calling a professional and low cost drain cleaner like Balkan Drain Cleaning may be your preferred solution.
Old or weak flusher, or toilet components
If you live in on old house with an outdated toilet design, a weak flusher can cause clogging too. Toilets manufactured from January 1994 to mid 1997 have been known to have weak flusher components. Even with a modern toilet mechanism, accumulation of hard water deposits can slowly cause partial or an actual clogged toilet.
Prevention: Use a more modern toilet. Of course, it requires total replacement and this job is best left to professionals. Modern toilets use much less water, create a savings, and are environmentally friendly
Solution: The easiest way is to replace the toilet is with a modern modern design. It is a professional job so you have to hire a plumber to do it. To reduce hard water deposits, you may use an item such a wire from clothes hanger or a hard brush. But if you are not sure how to do this, calling a professional is always great idea.