How to unclog a toilet
Almost everyone has stood beside their toilet, watching the water fill up to the rim of the bowl and prayed it wouldn't overflow. A clogged toilet can be a bit of a pain to deal with but a homeowner can definitely clear about 90% of the clogs cheaper than hiring a plumber.
*Chemical drain cleaners have little affect on toilet clogs. Do not use!
Tools you may require
|Putty knife||Adjustable wrench|
|Screwdrivers||Tank to bowl kit|
Step one - Using a plunger
Everyone knows how to use a plunger right? Well, using a plunger correctly is not as simple as most people think. The first thing you need, is a good quality plunger with a fold out cup, the red, half round ones will not create adequate suction in your toilet trap.
Start by unfolding the inner cup of the plunger and forcefully plunging up and down with the bowl half full of water. When the plunger has a good suction with the toilet bowl, quickly pull up, trying to pull the clog back toward the toilet. Keep doing this until your certain you can't clear the clog.
Using a toilet auger
A toilet auger (also called a closet auger) is a specially designed snake for clearing clogs from the trap of a toilet. You can purchase a toilet auger at most major hardware stores or plumbing specialty stores for a reasonable price. Before using, make sure your careful not to touch the visible parts of the bowl with the metal part of the snake, as it will leave marks on the finish. To use the toilet auger, unhook the bulb and pull the handle all the way out. Insert the auger into the trap of the toilet and rest the bend of the auger against the toilet. Start by pushing down on the auger handle while turning it clockwise to help the auger wind it's way through the toilet trap, and also to hook onto anything in it's way. Wind the auger all the way through several times, checking occasionally for success in clearing the clog. If you have left auger marks on the toilet bowl you can remove them with muriatic acid, which can be purchased at many hardware stores, but be extremely careful, wearing gloves, safety goggles and have a good ventilation system.
Lifting the toilet
This may seem drastic but taking your toilet completely off and inspecting the trap, flange and drainage pipe is next step. If all the other methods above have failed to clear the clog, you have something stuck in your trap that the auger cannot grab (Ex: plastic) or cannot reach.
- Turn off the water to the tank and remove the water supply line from the toilet tank.
- Empty as much water as possible from the tank and bowl using a sponge, bucket, cup...
- Using a wrench and a screwdriver, separate the tank from the bowl.
- Remove the caps covering the closet bolts at the base of the toilet and remove the nuts securing the bowl.
- Have a place to set the toilet prepared, because under it will be dirty and cover with wax, that is a real pain to get off of anything it touches.
- Use a putty knife to scrape off the wax seal from the toilet flange and under the bowl.
- Now look closely in the trap and drain pipe for any visible blockage or try auguring the drain down through the flange opening.
- You can check for success without having to reassemble the toilet using a bucket of water to pour down the drain opening.
- If the drain pipe will accept water freely then the problem is in the trap of the toilet and you will have to auger it, turn it, pour water though it until you get out whatever is in there...and I've seen some odd stuff.
- When satisfied, replace your toilet. Use a new wax seal and if the tank to bowl gasket looks worn replace that as well. If you need help putting your toilet back together read this.
Well hopefully your toilet will now be flushing smoothly and you have a couple extra bucks in your pocket that you didn't have to spend on a plumber.