A clogged toilet is a frustrating and messy problem. It’s also a very common one. There are many reasons why your toilet keeps clogging, and understanding the cause can help you prevent it from happening in the future.
How Toilets Work
To understand toilet clogs, it’s helpful to be aware of the parts of a toilet and how they work.
- Toilet tank – The toilet tank is the upper part of the toilet. It contains the water that is used to flush the toilet. The tank is made of porcelain or plastic.
- Flush valve – The flush valve is located at the bottom of the toilet tank. It is responsible for releasing the water from the tank into the toilet bowl. The flush valve is usually made of rubber or plastic.
- Flapper – The flapper is a rubber disk that sits on top of the flush valve. It opens when the toilet is flushed, allowing the water to flow from the tank to the bowl.
- Overflow tube – The overflow tube is a small pipe that runs from the top of the toilet tank to the bottom of the bowl. It prevents the water in the tank from overflowing into the bowl.
- Fill valve – The fill valve is located at the top of the toilet tank. It is responsible for refilling the tank with water after the toilet is flushed. The fill valve is usually made of plastic or brass.
- Ballcock – The ballcock is a type of fill valve that uses a float to control the water level in the tank. The float is attached to a lever that opens and closes the fill valve.
- Toilet bowl – The toilet bowl is the lower part of the toilet. It is where the waste is disposed of. The toilet bowl is made of porcelain or plastic.
- Trapway – The trapway is the opening in the bottom of the toilet bowl that allows the waste to flow into the sewer line. The trapway is shaped like a U to trap water, which prevents sewer gases from backing up into the bathroom.
- Sewer line – The sewer line is the pipe that carries the waste from the toilet to the sewer system. The sewer line is usually made of PVC or cast iron.
When you flush the toilet, the handle on the tank is pushed down. This activates the flush valve, which opens and allows the water from the tank to flow into the bowl. The flapper closes behind the water, creating a seal that prevents the water from flowing back into the tank. The water in the bowl then flows down the trapway and into the sewer line.
Once the water in the bowl has drained, the fill valve opens and refills the tank with water. The float rises as the water level increases, and when the water level reaches a certain point, the fill valve closes.
What Causes Toilet Clogs?
Here are 10 of the most common reasons your toilet may be clogging:
- Too Much Toilet Paper
Many people use too much toilet paper at once, which can cause it to get stuck in the plumbing and cause a clog. To avoid this, only use as much as you need and never flush down anything larger than a small wad of toilet paper.
- Flushing Certain Materials
Items such as feminine hygiene products, disposable wipes, cotton swabs, paper towels, or any other items that don’t dissolve quickly can cause serious clogs. Make sure to only flush toilet paper down the toilet and dispose of other items properly.
Excess hair in the bathroom can easily make its way into the toilet and cause a clog. By regularly cleaning your bathroom drains, you can help keep hair from getting into your plumbing system and causing clogs.
- Sewer Line Clogs
Clogs can also occur in the sewer line, which is much farther down the pipe. In this case, call a professional plumber to diagnose and repair the issue.
- Tree Roots
If you have trees near your house, their roots may be growing into your plumbing system and causing clogs or blockages. To prevent this, make sure to keep an eye on any trees near your home and examine their root systems.
- Flushing Too Much
When you flush too much material down the toilet, it can cause a clog. To avoid this, only flush what is necessary and never flush more than one item at a time.
- Improper Plumbing Installation
Bad or outdated plumbing installation can result in clogs. If your home has older plumbing, it may need to be replaced.
- Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure can cause clogs because there is not enough pressure to push the material through the pipes and out of the system. To fix this, you’ll need to contact a plumber for help.
- Grease Buildup
Grease and fats can buildup in the pipes and create clogs. To avoid this, don’t pour any grease down your drains or flush it down the toilet.
- Foreign Objects
Accidentally flushing items such as toys, jewelry, or other foreign objects can result in a blocked toilet pipe. Make sure to keep these items away from the toilet to avoid problems.
How to Prevent Toilet Clogs
The best way to prevent toilet clogs is to be careful about what you flush down the toilet. Here are some tips:
- Only flush toilet paper.
- Do not flush diapers, sanitary napkins, feminine hygiene products, condoms, Q-tips, paper towels, or cotton balls.
- If you have long or curly hair, try to keep it out of the toilet.
- Pour grease and oil down the garbage disposal or in a designated grease trap.
- Feminine hygiene products should be disposed of in the trash.
- Toys and other objects should not be flushed down the toilet.
- If you have an old, low-flow toilet, consider upgrading to a newer, high-efficiency toilet.
- Keep the toilet vent clean and free of debris.
Unblocking Toilet Hacks
If your toilet clogs, there are a few things you can try to fix it yourself. Here are a few suggestions to clean toilet blockage:
- Use a plunger. A plunger can be very effective at clearing clogs caused by toilet paper, hair, or other soft materials.
- Use a toilet auger. A toilet auger is a long, flexible tool that can be inserted into the toilet to clear clogs.
- Pour a bucket of hot water down the toilet. The hot water can help to dissolve the clog.
- Add a commercial drain cleaner. Drain cleaners can be effective at clearing clogs, but they should be used with caution. Follow the directions on the label carefully.
If you have tried these methods and your toilet is still clogged, you should call a plumber.
Plumbers In & Near Lakeland
If you need clogged toilet repair service, don’t just search for “plumbers near me.” Contact the professional team of plumbers at Stronghold Plumbing in and near Lakeland.
When you need a plumbing company, you need Stronghold.
Most commonly, toilet clogs are caused by flushing too much material down the toilet. This includes items such as feminine hygiene products, wipes, paper towels, cotton swabs, hair and other items that don’t dissolve quickly. Clogs can also be caused by tree roots, bad plumbing installation, low water pressure, and grease buildup in the pipes.
If your toilet clogs, the first thing to try is plunging it. If that doesn’t work, you can try using a commercial drain cleaner or a toilet auger. If these methods don’t work, contact a professional plumber for help. They will be able to diagnose and resolve the issue quickly and safely.
You can usually tell if your toilet is clogged if the water in the bowl doesn’t drain or if it starts to overflow when you flush. Additionally, if you hear gurgling sounds from the drain or notice slow flushing, these can also be signs of a clog. In such cases, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further problems.
Using a plunger correctly should not damage your toilet. However, it’s crucial to use a toilet plunger specifically designed for this purpose, as using a regular sink plunger can be less effective and potentially cause damage. When using a toilet plunger, apply gentle and consistent pressure to create a seal and then push and pull to dislodge the clog without excessive force.
While most toilet clogs are localized, a sewer line clog can affect multiple plumbing fixtures in your home. Signs of a sewer line issue include multiple drains clogging simultaneously, gurgling or bubbling in drains and toilets, and sewage odors in your home or yard. If you suspect a sewer line problem, it’s crucial to contact a professional plumber to assess and address the issue promptly.