A clogged toilet can quickly go from a mild inconvenience to a major mess, especially if you ignore the problem in hopes that it will resolve on its own. To avoid unpleasant overflows, it’s important to know how to prevent and treat backups – and when it’s time to call a professional. Here, we’ll dig into reasons why your toilet is clogged, unclogging methods you can try at home, and signs that you need help from an expert.
Why Is My Toilet Always Clogged?
Preventing clogs is a lot easier and less time-consuming than treating backup after backup. The first step to preventing a clogged toilet is to understand why your toilet is clogging in the first place. Here are some common reasons why toilets keep clogging:
- You’re flushing too much toilet paper
- Large or improper items have been flushed
- The toilet vent is blocked or the trap is clogged
- Your toilet is an older or low-flow model
What to Do When Your Toilet Clogs
Many people’s first instinct is to repeatedly flush the toilet and hope the clog will clear up. However, doing so can cause overflowing and result in an even bigger mess. So, when your toilet clogs, don’t panic! Instead, turn off the shutoff valve located on the pipe behind your toilet to prevent an overflow. Then place some towels on the floor in case of splashing, and you’re ready to start unclogging.
How to Plunge a Toilet
A plunger is usually the fastest and easiest way to unclog a toilet. Though these handy tools are common and fairly intuitive, there are a few techniques you can use for faster and cleaner results. Here are a few tips for plumbing your toilet:
- Don’t move too quickly as you move the plunger around. Placing the plunger in too quickly or pushing too forcefully can result in splashing, which can be pretty unsanitary or unpleasant around a toilet.
- Put the plunger in the toilet bowl and push it down to create a seal. Before you begin the actual plunging, you will want to push the plunger all the way down to get rid of any trapped air. This will form a tight seal that makes plunging more effective.
- Pump the plunger up and down with a little bit of force. Now that the seal is formed, pumping the plunger will push water through the pipes that can help loosen the clog. You will want to use enough force to send water downward, but not so much that you break the seal or begin splashing. You can repeat this process as needed.
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Unclogging Toilets Without a Plunger
Sometimes, you’re in a situation where you have a clogged toilet but can’t find a plunger. For these situations, you can try a few alternative toilet unclogging methods that don’t require a plunger. Here are a few ways to unclog your toilet without a plunger:
- Use baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda and vinegar can help break down waste while deodorizing, making it a great way to unclog a toilet. To use this method, begin by adding one cup of baking soda to the toilet and wait two minutes. Then slowly pour two cups of vinegar. This mixture will cause bubbles, so be careful not to let it overflow. Allow this to sit for several minutes, and then flush to see if the backup has cleared.
- Use an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme drain cleaners work by breaking down and liquifying solid waste so it can be flushed more easily. With this technique, you will want to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When pouring the enzyme cleaner into the toilet, do so slowly to avoid splashing.
- Use a plumbing snake. Also known as a toilet auger, a plumbing snake is a flexible wire coil that is meant to “snake” into pipes and clear backups. To use a plumbing snake, begin by feeding the end of the cable into the toilet. Do so carefully to avoid scratching the bowl. Then, crank the handle clockwise and push down until you either snag or break through the obstruction. Be sure to clean the auger thoroughly after use.
When to Call a Plumber
Some toilet clogs are a little more difficult to treat and may require the tools or expertise of an experienced plumber. If you have tried these methods and the backup still won’t budge, it may be useful to call a professional. Additionally, if you are concerned that the clog may damage your system or if you smell sewage gases, it is important to contact a plumber right away. That way, they can ensure your sewer line is in good condition and won’t put you at risk of a bigger problem.
If you are struggling with a clog that just won’t clear, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Forbes Plumbing in Portland OR! Our skilled technicians have been serving homeowners since 1972, and we are prepared to help break up the backup quickly and efficiently. Just give us a call today to schedule an appointment!
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Unclog Toilet in Portland, OR & Salem, OR Area
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