This article was written by Jaclyn Crawford and published by ImproveNet
Often, we use our toilets daily without giving them much thought. However, once something goes wrong, you will most certainly take notice. Having a clogged or overflowing toilet is a fear many homeowners don’t realize they have, until it happens.
Not only can a clog cause damage to your toilet, but it can also cause expensive problems to your plumbing and home overall. Of course, not all clogs are the same. Here’s how to fix a clogged toilet.
What Causes A Toilet Clog?
Toilet clogs are one of the more unfortunate events that can happen in the bathroom. They are messy and inconvenient. While most homeowners assume that a clog forms because of waste, there are many reasons you could find your toilet overflowing. Here are a few:
- Low water flow
- Too much waste at one time
- Toys or other objects
- Backup in the drain line
- Blocked plumbing vent
- Sewer line problems
A few of these issues you might know the answer to already but otherwise, it will take a few methods to solve the issue of the clog. For example, if you have an older toilet with low water flow, you’ll need to use less toilet paper until you can afford a replacement toilet. Other issues, like toys or other items in the toilet, need to be taken care of immediately. Here are a few steps to try:
- Stop the overflow
- Use A Plunger
- Try an enzyme cleaner
- Invest in a toilet auger
- Call a plumber
1. Stop The Overflow
An overflowing toilet can cause any homeowner to panic. However, this is the time you must know what to do. An overflowing toilet can cause damage to your bathroom, flooring and walls if the water seeps into them. When the toilet begins to overflow, take the lid off of your toilet and make sure the flapper is closing off more water from entering the bowl. From there, turn your water off. Make sure water stops flowing into the tank before proceeding.
Toilet overflow should be taken care of immediately because of the bacteria that can spread and damage it can cause. Mop it up as soon as possible and if you need extra help, be sure to contact a cleaning pro who can make sure your bathroom is spotless again.
If your toilet is not overflowing, this is not a necessary step to take.
2. Grab The Plunger
The next, and most common step, that most homeowners are familiar with is plunging the toilet. However, what matters most here is the type of plunger you use. When people think of a plunger, they generally think of a sink plunger, with a cup shape at the end. However, these will not work well on toilets as they do not create suction. You’ll need to have a flange plunger on hand at all times in the home. This looks similar to the sink plunger, except the end has a lip so you can insert it right into the drain to create a better suction, hopefully removing the clog easily.
3. Try An Enzyme Cleaner
If plunging the toilet did not work, it’s time to try a different strategy. Liquid chemical drain cleaning products are often frowned upon by pros, as they can do more harm to your plumbing than good. However, a natural solution is an enzyme cleaner. These work well if you have natural waste material clogging your toilet, rather than non-flushable items that may have gotten stuck. You can get a toilet enzyme cleaner at your local home improvement store. However, you should know that this is not a quick method. Most enzymes cleaners must sit overnight to remove the clog.
4. Get A Toilet Auger
Finally, if nothing has worked yet, it might be time to invest in a toilet auger. These lines can reach down into the base of the toilet and because of its shape and flexibility, can maneuver into your drain removing what might be in its path.
5. Call A Plumber
When you’ve tried all of the above and yet, nothing seems to be clearing this clog, it’s time to call a plumber. It could indicate that you have a bigger plumbing problem on hand. The clog may be deeper in your pipes or there’s an issue with your sewage line. A plumber will be able to identify this and help you find a solution. The average cost to repair a toilet is $195, with most homeowners spending between $152 and $203.
Replace A Toilet
As I mentioned earlier, some toilet clogs are caused because the toilet is old and has low water flow. While you can certainly live with this issue by using less toilet paper, repeated clogs may get tiring to deal with. Replacing your toilet with a newer model is always an option to improve your efficiency. You’ll need to start by removing your old toilet, which can cost anywhere between $68 to $148.
Much of the replacement toilet costs depend on what kind you choose. Round toilet bowls are often cheaper than elongated toilet bowls. The average cost to install a toilet is $355, with most homeowners spending between $255 and $399.
While I hope that a toilet clog never happens in your home, you now have all the information to be prepared if it does. Remember to follow these steps to get rid of a clog in your toilet and get your bathroom back into working order in no time.