A clogged toilet is a common plumbing emergency. In many cases, it's one problem you can handle yourself with a simple plunger. Other times, it's an indication of a more serious problem that you'll need to bring in a plumber to solve. Here's a look at how to unclog a toilet and when you need to call a plumber.
Try A Plunger First
Using an ordinary plunger is the best way to clear a toilet if the clog is due to waste and toilet paper. If the water in the bowl is near the top, wait a few minutes to see if some will slowly drain out so you don't have to worry about splashing the toilet contents onto the floor. However, there needs to be at least enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger head so you get better force through the drain.
Insert the plunger and give it few vigorous pumps. The clog should move through quickly. When the clog has cleared, flush the toilet a couple of times to make sure the flush has power and the bowl empties quickly. If so, you've solved your plumbing emergency. If the toilet still seems sluggish, there is a problem that will probably cause another clog soon.
Check Other Drains
See if the drain in your bathtub is also slow to empty. Turn on the shower and note if water accumulates in the tub or if it drains out fast. If the bathtub drain is slow too, then the problem is probably in the sewer pipe. This is an indication you should call a plumber unless you have experience running a snake through the cleanout.
Even though your shower and toilet may drain out, if the drains are slow, it's just a matter of time before they clog or even worse, sewage could back up in the tub or overflow from the toilet and leave you a mess to clean up.
Clear The Sewer Line
Clearing the sewer line can usually be accomplished by running a snake through the cleanout that's outside. A snake cuts through all kinds of clogs, even one caused by tree roots. You can rent a snake and do the job yourself if you know how, but if you've never done it before, it might be best to call a plumber.
By the time you pay for the rental and go through all the trouble, you may wish you'd just called a plumbing contractor to start with. Calling a plumber to clear a single drain with a snake usually isn't all that expensive.
If the clog won't clear out with a snake, then it's definitely time to call a plumber to figure out the source of the problem. Tree roots may have collapsed the pipe, or more powerful equipment, such as a hydro jet may be needed to clear the line. A plumbing contractor may need to send a sewer camera down the pipe to see what's going on so the drain can be repaired.
Also, if your home is connected to a septic system rather than the city's sewer line, flushing problems could be a sign of a full septic tank. If that's the case, the tank needs to be emptied or your toilet and drains will continue to be slow and back up into the house.Share
18 June 2017
When you get a clogged drain or a toilet that just won't flush, do you reach for the phone and call for a plumber? When you have these seemingly simple plumbing problems around your house, you have to make a decision quickly. Do you pay for someone to come out and make the repairs, or do you attempt the repair on your own? This blog is all about DIY plumbing repairs. You will learn the basics and find tips for when to cut your losses and call in for professional assistance so you don't make a small fix one that needs serious repairs.