Sometimes toilets get clogged, whether it be in your own property or someone else’s. Sometimes it is the fault of the toilet itself, sometimes it’s due to plumbing problems, and sometimes it is the fault of the toilet’s user. This is nothing to be embarrassed about; these things happen to everyone. However, it is a situation you should know how to respond to appropriately if and when it arises.
How Do Toilets Get Blocked?
Toilet clogs can occur for a number of reasons, and they can be fixed in a number of ways. It’s pretty common for toilets to get blocked every once in a while, but constant blockage is a sign that a bigger problem is at play.
The most common reasons why a clog would happen in the first place include the following:
- You are flushing sanitary items (like tampons, face wipes, tissues, paper towels cotton swabs, Q-tips, condoms or nappies) down the toilet. All that should be going in is bodily waste and toilet paper.
- You are using the wrong kind of toilet paper. While all paper should be toilet-friendly, unfortunately not all is. If you have a toilet with sensitive plumbing, look for a thin, easily degradable toilet paper that’s unlikely to clog your pipes.
- Your toilet’s flush is weak. This is generally a result of old-school, low-flow toilets with low water pressure. If you have one, it may be time for a new toilet in the near future.
- You have a faulty toilet flapper, which sits in the bottom of your toilet tank. This problem may be able to be fixed on your own with a simple replacement, although more serious issues may require professional repair.
- There is an issue with your building or neighbourhood’s plumbing system. This can be a result of leaves or debris getting stuck in the pipes outside of your home, or even other tenants in your apartment building causing blockages that affect your own toilet’s water flow.
While it may seem overwhelming to consider all of these reasons why your toilet may clog, the solutions necessary are quite simple. In fact, there are just three guaranteed to fix the problem, either on their own or when relied on in combination.
But before we get into that, we need to state a warning: When you do experience a blocked toilet, whatever the reason may be, it is very important that you do not keep trying to flush the toilet, whatever you do. This is a very likely way to cause an overflow and flood your bathroom. No one wants to be ankle-deep in toilet water, so save yourself the headache and rely on one of these three tactics instead:
- Try to remove whatever is causing the block, if you can. This can be done by hand, or with the help of a plunger or a wire hanger. This should always be done wearing rubber gloves for health and safety purposes. If you are plunging, you need to have adequate water in the bowl. If the water level is low, you may need to add extra water from the sink, tub or shower so that the bowl is full enough to plunge.
- Use a chemical drain cleaner. Some chemical solutions can be made on one’s own (including solutions composed of boiling water, vinegar and/or baking soda). That being said, store-bought, commercial cleaners are usually more quick and effective at getting your toilet unblocked. The way you should use the drain cleaner is by pouring into the toilet bowl and letting it sit for a while so that it can erode away whatever is blocking the pipes. Then, try plunging and flushing again.
- Call on the help of an emergency plumber. If you have tried to remove the blockage and have used a drain cleaner, but are still experiencing a blockage in your toilet, it’s time to rely on the help of a certified plumber. They will come to your home to assess your situation and provide a solution, whether it be opening up the pipes to remove the obstruction or employing some sort of other method using additional resources like pipe snakes and excess water drainers.
Between these three options, one is going to offer the solution you need. For those who can’t be bothered trying to fix their plumbing problems themselves, feel free to bypass the first two steps and jump straight to number three for instant results.
If you require emergency plumbing, there are plenty of well-established local specialists who can help, in Melbourne and elsewhere. Call one today to get your toilet unclogged in a flash so you can continue living in comfort.