Certainly, toilet clogs are embarrassing. But come to think of it, why do toilets clog? Toilets come with different makes and designs. Besides, how you handle your toilet significantly influence its performance.
There is a reason behind every clogged toilet. For instance, plumbing type and the pressure of water can lead to drainage malfunction.
Each manufacturer promises that its toilet brands are the best. That might or might not be true. What is true is that you’ll put them to use.
A toilet is one of the most used structures in your home, and if it is clogged, the operation of the whole home might come to a standstill. This experience is unpleasant.
Getting a little understanding of how your toilet function can help you prevent unnecessary toilet clogs in the future.
Is it ok to turn off the water to toilet that is blocked? Certainly yes. This is why you will prevent water spillage due to overflow.
How a Flush Toilet Work
A flush toilet is one of the greatest inventions in a bathroom. The toilets work under the influence of gravity, to drain away from the wastes.
A flush toilet disposes of human wastes using water through a drain pipe to the main sewerage point.
The toilet has a lever, which, when pulled, opens a plug to allow water to flow out into the bowl. Gravity will cause water to flow out of the bowl into the drainage system.
The water in the tank empties pretty quickly flowing through a water pipe towards the bowl. When the water reaches the bowl, it slouches around the rim before flowing down the bowl and out through the drain pipe.
Some clean water is retained at the bottom of the toilet bowl – at the S-shaped bend. The water retained at this point is essential in trapping odor that might make its way back to the house.
Meanwhile, the water will start flowing into the tank again to fill it, thanks to the intelligent design.
Keep in mind that the flush of water cleans the bowl of the toilet and beneath the rim, a place that is difficult to clean, and then carry the waste matter to drain.
The major parts of a flush toilet include:
- Toilet bowl which is made up of a ringed seat at the top and is usually covered by a lid
- The tank also called the cistern store water. This part has the following parts;
- The float ball and rod which rises with the level of water to control to stop the entry of water when the tank is full. The float rod blocks the inlet valve.
- The piston is the part that is pulled to let water out
- Siphon allows water out of the tank. Sometime, this part may rust or block. So you must learn how to clean toilet siphons.
- Gasket serves to prevent leakages at the base of the tank. In case of a leakage, you’ll need to replace the toilet tank gasket.
- Handle, or a button is used to activate the flush.
There are different types of toilets. The modifications are aimed at conserving water or rather make the toilet systems more efficient.
Some toilets have been created to use chemicals. The chemicals neutralize the waste rather than using water to flush it away.
Others cause decomposition of waste, making them eco-friendly toilets. They turn waste into manure. Still, others burn wastes.
Even toilets that use water in their flushing systems vary a lot. They use different amounts of water per flush. Modern toilets have been created with a smaller water tank, but they’re able to give a cleaner wash and flash than the older models that used more water.
Other modifications include heated seats, automatic opening and closing toilet lids and in-built water jets. Still, some toilets can check your temperature and blood sugar.
People on wheelchair need to use these toilets too. So, their toilets have some special modifications. The toilets need placement of grab bars around the toilet.
On average, a modern toilet uses about 6 liters of water while an older version will use between 13 and 19 liters of water.
Causes of Clogs in a Toilet
“My toilet won’t flush.” This is a devastating situation. Your toilet will fill up to the brim with flush water and probably overflow. Before finding the solution, let’s look at possible causes of a malfunctioning drainage system.
- Too much waste
At times, you can subject your toilet to too much waste within a very short time. A huge amount of toilet paper or a substantial amount of non-flushable items are the primary cause of clogging. These substances interfere with how water flows in the system, which leads to clogging.
A toilet has a specific design to only dispose of certain types of wastes. Tissue paper always dissolves in water quickly: no clogging is expected. On the other hand, paper towel and other forms of disposable tissues do not quickly dissolve in water. These tissues are not meant to be flushed. A paper towel clogged toilet is not a desirable thing in your house.
Non-flushable materials such as cotton, wet wipes, Q-tip, etc., interfere with the flow of water too. Ensure that this substance does not land in your toilet bowl.
- Low Flow Toilet
If you have a low flow toilet, expect numerous clogs. The reason for the clogging is that these toilets cannot generate enough pressure to flush wastes down the drain.
This types of toilets are the first generation toilets that were made in the ’90s. The design is aimed at reducing water wastage. This was achieved but at the detriment of efficiency.
That said if you have such a toilet in your house, you will have to practice management tips such as avoiding throwing non-flushable material in your toilet. Also, you’ll have to use very little tissue. If you can’t do that, then consider buying a modern toilet.
- A problem in the main sewer line
At times the problem might not be with your toilet. The problem might lie in the main sewer line. This is more common, especially if numerous toilets join to the same sewer lines. The sewer line might clog hindering the flow of waste.
On the main sewer line, the causes of clogging might still be non-flushable material.
- Deposits of Hard Water
Hard water contains mineral salts and other substances. Minerals accumulate along the walls of the drainage system. With time the buildup will restrict the flow of water and wastes.
Such a situation, coupled with the use of toilet tissues, will lead to clogging. If you use hard water, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your toilet more often to prevent clogging.
- Blocked Plumbing Vent
Plumbing vents are a standard structure in modern toilets. The roof vent brings fresh air into the toilet plumbing system as well as eliminates air-pressure vacuums that are responsible for hindering the flow of wastes in the toilets system.
Foreign material can clog these vents as time goes by. Substance like leaves or sticks might cause clogs. When a toilet vent is clogged, it reduces the flow of the toilet drain.
A good practice is to check your vent for blockage regularly.
- Blocked Toilet Trap
The trap forms the curved portion of the porcelain fixture which is built into the lower bowl unit of your toilet. This part holds standing water as well as trap sewer gases, preventing them from entering your house.
The trap is easily clogged by materials like tissue paper and paper towel. When you are faced with a paper towel clogged toilet, you can quickly unclog using a plunger.
How to Unclog a Blocked Toilet
A clogged toilet is very disgusting. The typical sign that your toilet is clogged is after flushing the bowl fills with water. Do you dream of a toilet overflowing?
In such a case, do not flush again as it will cause an overflow. Blocked toilet run slowly.
A paper towel clogged toilet can be a common thing, especially where people use paper towels more often.
First, you need to understand the tools to use. They include; the plunger, Plumbing snake, rubber gloves, and toilet auger.
Using a Plunger
Majority of blockages in a toilet only require the use of a toilet plunger. A perfect plunger for unclogging a toilet has a flange extension on the bell-shaped rubber end. It fits toilets better, and it has much force: you can pull much material from your toilet.
To use a plunger, plunge the rubber flange into the toilet to get a better seal and pull out. Ensure that there is enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the plunger. Push in and out vigorously. This process might result in the water splashing on your arms, so wearing gloves can be better.
Tips for using a plunger successful
The size of a plunger is designed to fit and seal the toilet drain correctly.
At first plunge slowly; doing it faster and hard will blow the water out, splashing around the area because the drainage is full of air.
Once the air is out, you can then plunge vigorously in and out while maintaining the seal. This technique loosens most of the clogs. Do it for about 15 minutes, and your toilet will be suitable for use.
Have you ever heard of a toilet snake?
At times the plunger might not work at all. In this case, you will need a drain toilet snake. Does that sound familiar? A toilet snake is a long wire coil with a tip shaped like a corkscrew. Push this wire into the toilet pipes until it touches the clogging material.
Once it encounters the clogging material, turn it clockwise for the tip to screw into the clog or break it up if it is a paper towel. Sometimes the paper towel or clogging material will wind on the wire, making it easier to pull out.
Does a closet auger do better?
Alternatively, you can use a closet auger. Same as the snake drain, roll it through the toilet pipes to dislodge the clogging material. It has a wire end that pierces through the obstruction and carries it out when you pull it.
In some circumstances, it might be challenging to get to the obstructing material. Resistant clogging materials are a big menace, and they make the whole process stressful. Such a situation might call for radicle measures.
Some people may opt to use chemicals. Yes, they work, but the process is awfully slow. Besides, the chemicals have corrosive effects. You’ll have to run a lot of water to eliminate the chemicals. Besides, you’ll let the toilet to stand overnight.
The last resolution is to dismantle the whole toilet. This is a long process, but it is worthwhile. To effect this process, you’ll have to turn off the water and remove the water supply before disassembling the toilet. Unscrew it from the point where it was mounted – mounting ring. This step most likely will lead you the obstruction.
However, you need to buy new mounting bolts and wax ring. These are necessary parts for resealing the base of the toilet when you mount it. If the process of replacing the wax seal on the toilet seems tricky for you, it is a great idea to find an installation tutorial or manual. Better still, you can find a plumber to help you.
If you the process of unclogging the toilet seem complicated for you, you can call a plumber. Professional plumbers know how to remove all obstructive material regardless of the location. Besides, they have the right tools.
Although plumbers are very expensive, it worth to have a functional toilet: they work faster.
A prevent un-flushable material from reaching your toilet. Kids have a tendency of throwing their toys, hairbrushes, and other material into the toilet. To avoid this, you should always keep the toilet cover down. Moreover, you can write a list of things that are not flushable and show them to the kids.
Most importantly, avoid pouring compounds that harden down your toilet pipes. Such substances include caulk, wax products, and drywall joint products, among others.