A definitive guide to unclogging your clogged toilet

Oh, no—you finish your business and watch the water as it rises higher and higher in the bowl—again! But what should you do about the embarrassment of a clogged toilet?

A definitive guide to unclogging your clogged toilet

It is never a fun task to tackle, especially if the water in the bowl isn’t clean. But at some point you are going to have to figure out what is causing your clogged toilet. The problem might be due to an accumulation of limestone, which can cause a reduction in pressure. Or an object may have inadvertently fallen into the toilet and be blocking the entry to the outflow pipe. It might also be that the mechanism in the tank is defective.

A plumber is the expert who can figure out the best angle for fixing a clogged toilet, although you could try looking in the tank to see if the rubber flapper fully closes. The flapper allows the tank to refill and, with time, the small chain linking the flapper to the mechanism can break. It is possible to repair the chain manually by removing a link or by purchasing the necessary parts from a hardware store.

Your options

  • If the problem doesn’t lie in the tank, there may be an object or mass stuck in the unseen bottom part of the bowl or in the toilet pipes. The plunger—the plumber’s helper—is also the householder’s best friend for dealing with clogged toilets. By creating a pressure seal with the plunger around the outflow opening and pumping the handle up and down, most people can efficiently remove a temporary obstruction. Water will likely splash around, so it is advisable to place towels or old rags on the floor during this operation.
  • If the water level in the toilet is unusually high, chances are good that it is because of an accumulation of limestone in the system. A plumber will use a toilet snake to remove these deposits. You can rest assured: he or she will know to handle the wire tool with care so as to avoid marking the porcelain bowl. When the job is finished, flush the toilet to release any residue and check that the pressure is back to normal.
  • The plumber may also need to inspect the pipe that connects the tank to the toilet bowl. Limestone deposits can also be found in that area.

Call your plumber

Although a bit of elbow grease and a plunger are good short term solutions for temporary blockages, only a certified plumber is qualified to do major repairs to your bathroom plumbing. Your plumber will be able to find the cause of your clogged toilet and fix the problem once and for all. And that means no more embarrassing bathroom floods.

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