Eight Tips for the Homeowner to Clear a Stopped Up Toilet

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Mr. Rooter Tip Of The Day: Several methods are available to the homeowner to deal with a stopped up toilet. It may require removing the toilet completely to get to the clog, especially in older model 1.6 gpm toilet units with rough porcelain waterways.

clogged toilet
If your toilet is old, consider replacing it. Most of today’s toilets have a fine, smooth porcelain in their waterways, but they still stop up, especially when toys, toothbrushes, and other objects are dropped into them.

Early model 1.6 gpm(gallons per minute) toilets may need to be replaced, according to Bob Beall, master plumber and Mr. Rooter Plumbing franchise owner in Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Plumbing), Ohio (Youngstown Plumber – Plumbing Dayton). “Old toilets sometimes stop up because the waterway was made with a very rough unfinished porcelain,” says Beall. Several methods are available to the homeowner to clear a stopped up toilet.

This roughness, according to research, grabs at the toilet paper, slowing the flush. “Compounding the problem are mineral deposits,” says the most referred plumber in the world, Mr. Rooter, with over 300 franchise locations. Beall serves over 3.5 million consumers in the northeast and southwest Ohio regions and in southwest Pennsylvania, which includes the greater Pittsburgh plumbing service area.

Most of today’s toilets have a fine, smooth porcelain in their waterways, but they still stop up, especially when toys, toothbrushes, and other objects are dropped into them.

Mr. Rooter Tip Of The Day

Tip #1 First, try a plunger. Sometimes referred to as the old standby, the “plumbers helper”.

Tip #2 If the plunger doesn’t work, try using a hand-cranked auger. The auger slides along the waterway, and as it turns (because you crank it), it can catch and dislodge an obstruction. However, if the toy, toothbrush, or other obstacle is turning sideways with the auger head, the auger won’t help.

TRADE SECRET: "You will know if this is happening when the toilet flushes once well, and then it stops up again," says Beall.

Tip #3 An expandable bladder can seal off the opening and send a high-pressure stream of water into the waterway. "Assuming you can get a hose into the house, try using a 1 1/2-inch model," says Beall. The high-pressure stream of water (depending on your water pressure), will allow some of the water to come back. Watch carefully into the bowl so it doesn’t overflow. Make sure to keep the head of the bladder into the bowl about halfway, then turn the water on.

Tip #4 The last line of defense will be a bolt grabber or a bent coat hanger. Each can slide along the curves of the waterway and sometimes grab the obstruction. " A bolt grabber (available at automotive stores) has a claw that opens and closes as you push and let go of a spring-loaded plunger on the other end. And sometimes you just get lucky with the old method of using a coat hanger," says Beall.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG: "If nothing works, you have to get serious. You will have to pull the toilet and look in from the bottom (the horn) to try to locate and remove the stoppage. This means draining the toilet, unhooking the water line, pulling the toilet, and flipping it without breaking it," says Mr. Rooter.

Tip #5 Once flipped, look into the horn to see if the obstruction (typically a toy) can be seen. "If you are lucky, it will be right at the top of the horn," says Beall. A fish hook grabber (sold at discount, hardware, and fishing stores) has an open-able toothed jaw that can reach in and grab the obstruction. "With the toilet pulled, you could attempt a last ditch effort with the bolt grabber or coat hanger – or, finally carry the toilet outside," says Mr. Rooter.

Tip #6 Once outside, insert the hand-crank auger into the horn, and try to dislodge the obstruction.

Tip #7 If possible, pull back on the auger, insert a hose into the hole at the front end (the toilet bowl) so water pressure will also be shoving on the obstruction and pulling the auger back.

Tip #8 If none of this works, then there is no other choice but to buy a new toilet.

PRO TIP WARNING: An existing crack (some are hairline cracks) on a toilet can mean it will break apart as it is being pulled. Be careful: Broken porcelain is razor sharp. Be sure to wear heavy gloves and if applying extreme pressure and force to free an unseen obstruction – wear goggles to protect the eyes from flying shards of porcelain.

Bob says that if your toilet is one of the first 1.6-gallon flushes that came onto the market, and it constantly has trouble flushing, it should be replaced. "Any money spent on it is wasted," says Mr. Rooter.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing offers 24/7 emergency drain cleaning services. Call 877-ROOTER2 and a licensed Mr. Rooter plumber will be dispatched to your home or business immediately, according to Beall. Or use our convenient Schedule An Appointment slide out tab – located in the left margin of our pages. It is also convenient to follow our blog from the Follow Us tab located at the bottom of every tip page.

There’s A Reason They Call Us Mr.™

Debra Santavicca PR, SMM, WebIT
Mr. Rooter Media Center

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Rooter (Pittsburgh)

Robert A. Beall
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