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plunger in toiletThe blocked toilet. It is a common household problem that is feared by all. In reality, however, a toilet obstruction does not have to be a dreaded occurrence. Once you determine what is causing the blockage, it can be flushed away in no time!

What Is Causing My Blocked Toilet?

You should first determine the source of the blockage. Often this can be done by visual inspection. If you need to do a manual examination, be sure to use gloves. Blockages are usually caused by excess toilet paper or even small toys! If you see that there is an object that is physically impeding the drain area, try to pull it out, and then watch the flow of the water. If the water still is blocked, there could be a potential clog further in the drain. That is when extra steps must be taken. 

Plunge Away!

The most common tool for unclogging a toilet is the plunger. There are two basic types of plungers. There is the flange plunger and the cup plunger. Most people have the cup plungers in their homes These plungers are made to create a seal against a level surface such as a bathtub or sink.

The toilet bowl requires a specific plunger mold because of its bowl shape. The flange plunger and another similar plunger called the ball plunger have this special shape that can seal the opening in the bottom of the toilet and hold the required suction and vacuum pressure during the plunging.

Before you begin plunging, it is essential that you only flush the toilet ONCE. Flushing the toilet repeatedly will only cause excess water to fill the bowl and possibly cause an overflow. 

To use the flange plunger, place the cup over the drain opening and vigorously pump the plunger’s handle up and down. The pressure of this action will push and suck water into the drain to free the clog. If the toilet drains, you have cleared the obstruction. Still have a blockage? Then it is time to try another method.

The Closet Auger Works to Break Stubborn Blockages

If you do not have any luck with a plunger, then it is time to move on to the closet auger. This plumbing tool is composed of a hand crank that is attached to a flexible metal line. At the end of the metal line rests a screw-like tip that rotates as the crank is turned. The tip penetrates into the blocked material, and then breaks up the blockage to clear the drain, or takes hold of the clog to allow it to be pulled out. Closet augers are created to enter the toilet through the bowl, while the general purpose auger generally enters the drainage system through a pipe. For persistent obstructions, closet augers are the ideal choice. The auger can reach approximately three feet. 

To use the auger, first determine which way your toilet drains. Some toilets drain to the front, and some toilets drain to the rear. You want the curved end of the closet auger handle to face the direction your toilet drains.              

It is necessary to leave about four to six inches of cable between the end of the handle pipe and the drainage hole in the toilet. Tighten the screw on the auger, and push the cable down the drain. Crank the auger in a clockwise motion until it stops. Now, push forward. 

You may feel pressure, as if the auger has grabbed a hold of an object. The auger may have broken up the clog, or taken a hold of it. Slowly pull the auger out to check if there is an object on the end. If you do pull material out, or feel that the blockage has been broken, attempt to flush the toilet.             

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Topics: Home Plumbing Tips