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It’s one of the most frustrating (and potentially embarrassing) things that can happen in your home: a blocked toilet. In fact, there may be only one thing worse – experiencing a clogged toilet at another person’s home! With the panic that comes with the situation, we often try to solve the problem as quickly as possible by using the absolute worst techniques. The good news is, that aside from major blockages or pipe issues that require a plumber’s help, there are a number of solutions for this problem. The trick is to stay calm, ascertain the nature of the problem, and use the tools at hand. For those of us wondering how to unclog a toilet, here are some of the most effective ways.
Before looking at how to unblock a toilet, we need to look at how to prevent making the unblocking more difficult. We all know the terrible feeling of seeing toilet bowl water rising instead of going down. A common response is to ‘hope for the best’ and flush again, praying for success the second time around. This is the worst possible decision. Instead, if you’re quick enough, you should immediately open the tank and close the ‘flapper’ (the rubber plug which opens to let water from the tank into the toilet bowl). This will minimise the water height in the bowl. To be extra safe, you may want to turn off the water supply to the tank as well. (Remember, in many cases once the clog is cleared the contents of the bowl will be sucked away down the pipes). Then, observe whether the bowl water slowly returns to the normal level or if it stays at the elevated level. If the first happens, then you have a complete clog, while the latter suggests a partial clog.
Your number one weapon against toilet clogs is the toilet plunger. Ensure that you are indeed using a toilet plunger (a sink plunger, the often red, half-ball type, will not be as effective). Then, begin by inserting the plunger and gently pushing it in to avoid an explosive expulsion of the bowl’s contents. After this, pull the toilet plunger bell out – now that a seal has been created, you can begin plunging in earnest. Plunge vigorously and steadily, occasionally performing large and slow plunges. Three or four repetitions won’t do the job – up to 20 may be necessary. If you suspect a full blockage, it’s advisable not to attempt flushing until it’s clear the blocked toilet has been cleared and all its contents have gone down the drain. An important thing to remember is to ensure there is enough water in the bowl that the toilet plunger is covered so that a seal is successfully created.
When speaking about how to unblock a toilet, the toilet snake is the other go-to tool we should consider. Most households do not own one of these, which is unfortunate because they are very efficient at clearing many more troublesome blocks. A sturdy wire coil with a corkscrew-like end, this bathroom tool helps break up waste-related blockages and can snag foreign objects. It works much how you would expect – by turning the snake (usually clockwise), the corkscrew end is worked into the blockage.
However, there is a similar tool that is even more effective than the conventional toilet snake – the closet auger. A staple of any plumber’s arsenal, this is a tool specifically designed to clear blocked toilets. A rubber sleeve prevents damaging the porcelain, while a large handle provides greater control over the recessed snake’s length and turning speed. You may need to reverse direction and then continue a number of times. When you have fully extended the auger, pull it back and flush the toilet. In the majority of cases that do not require a plumber’s intervention, this tool will clear the most stubborn of blocked toilets.
If these tried-and-tested methods of how to unclog a toilet do not work, it is likely that the blockage is of a nature that will require a professional’s help. A severely blocked drainage system can cause not only the embarrassment of a blocked toilet, but also permanent damage to your plumbing that will be expensive to repair. At Pipe Relining Solutions, we are experienced professionals that specialise in clearing blocked drains using techniques such as high-pressure water jetting equipment – also effective as a preventative and maintenance measure. Dedicated to saving you money through the accurate diagnosis of piping issues, we use state-of-art techniques including Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) inspection to locate and ascertain the cause of the blockage. If you are in Sydney and experiencing a blockage problem, or simply wish to ensure your plumbing is in good shape and avoid greater expense down the road, contact us today and let us help you maintain the integrity of your home’s plumbing!