How to Unplug a Toilet
Almost everyone has stood beside their toilet, watching the water fill up to the rim of the bowl and hoped that it wouldn't overflow. A clogged toilet can be a bit of a pain to deal with, but a home owner can definitely clear about 90% of the clogs cheaper than hiring a plumber.
*Chemical drain cleaners have little affect on toilet clogs. Our recommendation is not to waste your money.. Do not use!
Tools you may require
- Toilet auger
- Wax ring
- Putty knife
- Adjustable wrench
- 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 place the plunger cup firmly into the toilet, completely covering the hole. Forcefully plunge up, and gently down with the bowl half full of water; when the plunger has a good suction with the toilet bowl, by quickly pulling up you are trying to suck the clog back out of the toilet. Keep doing this action until your certain you can't clear the clog, and the toilet drains water.
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 you are 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. Note: be extremely careful while using muriatic acid; wear gloves, safety goggles and have very good ventilation around the area used.
Lifting the Toilet
This may seem drastic, but if you can't free the clog, taking your toilet completely off the floor is the only remaining alternative.
If all the other methods above have failed to clear the clog, you obviously have something stuck within your toilet trap that the auger cannot grab or cannot reach. The following are the steps involved to remove the toilet from the floor/toilet flange:
- 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.
- After the toilet is lifted off of the floor, you will need to have a place to set the toilet down (usually a piece of cardboard or plastic). This is done because the underside of the toilet will be covered in wax, dirty water and feces.
- Use a putty knife to scrape off the wax seal from the toilet flange and under the bowl. Note: be careful not to touch your face or mouth while working around any plumbing.
- 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, and pour water though it until you get out whatever is causing the blockage...and we've seen some odd things stuck in a toilet.
- When satisfied, replace your toilet. Use a new wax seal and if the tank to bowl gasket looks worn, now is a good time to 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 will have a couple of extra $$ in your pocket that you didn't have to spend on a plumber. Enjoy!