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Toilet Repairs Part 3: How To Unclog A Trouble Toilet

In this installment discussing relatively easy toilet repairs that you could do yourself, we will show you how to unclog a trouble toilet. Our first entry in this series introduces you to all of the parts of the toilet and how it works. You can read part 1 here. The second installment will take you through 11 simple steps for fixing a leaking toilet tank. You can read part 2 here.

 

In this installment, we will show you that unclogging your toilet is something that you can do yourself by either using a plunger or a plumbing snake. We will give you some helpful tips and instructions for both. If both of these methods fail or you simply don't have the time to attempt them, contact us at WaterSmart. One of our fully licensed master plumbers will be happy to do it for you.

 

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Solution #1: Break Out The Plunger

 

According to familyhandyman.com, 90 percent of clogged toilets can be fixed by simply plunging the clog away. Here is how you do it.

 

Step 1: Purchase The Right Plunger

It's important to get the right plunger. The black plunger pictured on the left is designed specifically for toilets. It has an extension flange below the rubber bell-shaped end.  This is designed to help you get a better seal, thereby exerting more water pressure while you are plunging. By pushing the flange back inside the bell, you can use this type of plunger for a sink or tub clog. The rust-coloured plunger pictured on the right is designed for a sink.

 

Step 2: Prepare Yourself

 

It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves and old clothes. You may get wet. You may also want to have some old towels close by or placed around the toilet to soak up any water that splashes out of the bowl.

 

Step 3: Prepare Your Plunger

 

Make sure that the rubber flange on your toilet plunger is pulled out. Place the flange snuggly into the toilet bowl drain. Make sure you have enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger. Forcing air through the toilet trap doesn't produce as much pressure as forcing water. According to the artofmanliness.com, it is also helpful to warm up your plunger before you begin by running it under hot water. This will loosen up the stiff rubber and make plunging more successful.

 

Step 4: Easy Does It

 

You want your first plunge to be a gentle one. Why? The bell of your plunger is full of air, so if you give an initial hard push, you will be forcing that air quickly back past the seal and into the toilet bowl. The air will blow water all over you and the bathroom floor.

 

Step 5: Plunge Away

 

After your initial gentle plunge, you can be more forceful. Continue to plunge vigorously in and out pushing water in both directions. It is a good idea to switch between steady plunging and occasional forceful ones.This should loosen most clogs, but you may need to repeat your plunging 15 to 20 times.

 

Solution #2: Break Out The Snake

 

If plunging doesn't work, then it's time to try a drain auger, also known as a plumbing snake. A snake is a bendable metal coil with a crank handle at one end and a corkscrew attachment at the other end. This corkscrew device is designed to dislodge an obstruction in the toilet drain. You can purchase a plumbing snake from most hardware stores that sell plumbing supplies.

 

Step 1: Insert The Snake Into The Drain Hole

 

Carefully insert the corkscrew end into the toilet bowl drain hole. The metal screw can scratch the porcelain of the bowl so you need to be gentle. Some more expensive snakes have a rubber sleeve to protect the bowl.

 

Step 2: Feed The Snake Further Into The Drain

 

Keep feeding the snake further into the drain until you feel it come into contact with the blockage.

 

Step 3: Turn The Crank Handle

 

Once the corkscrew has come into contact with the obstruction, turn the crank handle clockwise to break up the blockage. The screw may also wind into the object blocking the drain so that you can pull it out.  Repeat the process if it doesn't work on the first try. Snaking the toilet may take a few minutes or longer depending on the type of clog causing the problem.

 

The following video shows you how to unclog a toilet using a plunger and a snake.

 

 

 

 

Solution # 3: Call A Plumber

 

If plunging and using a plumbing snake doesn't remove the clog, or if you really don't want to to take the time and effort to unclog your own toilet, then it's time to call a professional. The master plumbers at WaterSmart are your plumbing service experts in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding areas. Not only can we fix your clogged toilet quickly and efficiently, but we also specialize in the following:

  • Kitchens and Bathrooms
  • Leaks
  • Toilets and Taps
  • Clogged or Slow Drains
  • Countertop Pre and Post Installation
  • Dishwasher Installations
  • Sump Pumps
  • Tankless Hot Water Heaters
  • New Plumbing and Renovations
  • Master Plumber and Gas Fitter
  • Backflow Testing or Device Installation

Contact us today for a free in-home estimate and let one of our fully insured licensed master plumbers solve your plumbing needs.

 

Upcoming Installments

 

In our next installment, we will teach you how to fix a running toilet. Our final part will show you how to replace a toilet.

 

Previous Installments

 

Toilet Repairs Part 1 Introduction: How Your Toilet Works

Toilet Repairs Part 2: How To Fix A Leaking Toilet Tank

 

Sources

 

How To Fix A Clogged Toilet

How To Unclog A Toilet And Keep The Problem From Recurring

How To Unclog A Toilet Like A Plumber

Image of 2 Plungers - See page for author [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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