Clogged Toilet

Clogged toilets can be unclogged with a toilet plunger to loosen up the clog. If the plunger does not work, the next tool is the toilet auger.

Grab the plumber’s helper. There must be enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger while you are working. If it is a paper clog, the plunger should work fine.

The best plunger for a toilet is one designed for it. The most common is bell shaped with a rubber “throat” that fits in the drain hole for a better seal. It develops more pressure to help clear a restriction. There are some new plunger designs developed to deliver more pressure to loosen a clog. Some work with compressed air, others with bellows to develop more pressure. However with greater pressure comes a greater chance for splash back.

It is a good idea to take a break after working on an unrelenting clog. Give the clog, paper or whatever time to soften up and you may find the next hit with the plunger loosens the clog.

It is not always the push on the plunger that works the best when plunging. More often than not, it is the pull with the plunger that opens the drain.

A toilet auger is a small sewer snake with a feed tube that has a sharp bend on the end. The bend impels the snake in an upward motion so it is easier to make the “u” bend in the top of a toilet trap.

When the snake is inserted in the bowl with the bent tubing pointing up, the snake will easily push in the first 10 inches. Then it will hit the u bend in the trap and now the operator will have to crank the snake while pushing firmly down. The snake will slowly work its way around the bend and start its path down.

Somewhere in this procedure, the snake may hook on to an obstruction and you can then pull it free. Sometimes you just cannot hook the obstruction. Pencils, pens, and some plastics float in water and they will not come down out of a trap until the bowl is bailed out. These float in the upper bend of the trap. Once they are loosened, they fall easily into the bowl.

I have stories of many items being pulled from a clogged toilet. Toothbrushes, combs, wallets, false teeth and plastic army men are a few examples. Not all obstructions can be removed. Once we got a toilet and could not get the snake through it from either direction. We broke the china and discovered a small plastic cup firmly lodged in the trap.

Moral of this story; do not leave small nick knacks, shampoo caps, pens and pencils in the bathroom when youngsters come to visit. If you have small ones in the household, consider keeping a closet auger in the basement. It may save you a plumber’s house call.