Toilet Is Plugged Up

Problem: Toilet becomes clogged and does not flush, or flushes only partially.

Background: Excess material may plug up a toilet, but often nondegradable items, including children’s plastic tub toys, combs, and other items that fall h the bowl and clog the trapway, cause stoppages. A toilet that does not flush properly may indicate defective toilet plumbing (
Toilet (Old-Style) Runs and Toilet (New-Style) Runs or problems within the drain system beyond the toilet Drain Pipes Are Clogged.

What to do: The first method of attack is to use a rubber-cupped plunger, often referred to as a plumber’s friend. To make this tool work more effectively, coat the out side lip of its working end with petroleum jelly. Position it in the toilet bowl, making sure the cup part is covered by water. Plunge it vigorously for a few minutes, then pull it away sharply. Try this several times.
If plunging doesn’t clear the toilet, a second approach is to use a wire hanger or what is known as a closet or toilet auger, a special plumber’s snake composed of a flexible length of cable with a sharp, spiralled hook on one end and a handle on the other.
   Use an auger carefully because it can scratch the porcelain. Push the auger into the trap while turning the handle until it bites into the clog. When you think you have dislodged the blockage, try flushing with wet toilet paper in the toilet bowl. If the water goes down, but not the paper, the drain pipe is still obstructed. Try using the auger again. In extreme cases, you may need to have the toilet removed to clear the blockage, or to gain access to the drain pipe below.

Special advice: Do not use commercially available drain cleaners, or bleach solutions in a toilet because noxious gases may be produced if the chemicals mix. Drain cleaners are also ineffective in toilets because the structure of the trap prevents the cleaner from reaching the clog. Also do not use commercially available balloon-type devices which attach to a garden hose; the pressure they exert may break the toilet.

Helpful hint: If you suspect a foreign item is causing the blockage, try holding a small compact-size mirror down in the opening, and shining a flashlight on it to illuminate the passageway. Then try to dislodge the object with a wire or toilet auger.




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