Friday, November 16, 2007

Unclogging a toilet


Tools Needed:

Closet Auger
Plumber's Helper
Coat Hanger

Nothing can ruin your day like a clogged toilet. It may be a simple clog of toilet paper and waste, of it can be anything else that could be put down the toilet like a diaper or a child's toy.

Unless your main sewer line is plugged up by roots or other obstructions, the clog is normally located at the passages in the bowl leading to the pipe where the toilet attaches to the sewer line at the floor.

Don't waste your time and money on chemical cleaners to dislodge a clog. Don't put Draino or any other product containing lye into the toilet. These are made for sinks only, and can be explosive when used in a toilet.

The first thing to try is a plunger. There are several kinds that you can choose from. One is the old fashioned one with a black or burnt orange cup on the bottom of a straight wood handle. The plunger goes into the bowl, and you push it up and down.

The better plunger is one that which looks like a black colored round accordion fold cylinder that is attached to a straight handle. This type of accordion action creates a lot more compressed pressure to force the obstruction free than the old fashioned cup type plunger. Be careful when you use either type of plunger when the bowl is full to the brim. You will create waves that will overflow onto the floor. Let the toilet drain to the normal water level first, if it will drain that far, and then plunge away.

If you can't get the clog free by the plunger, then its time to bring out a heavier weapon. Try a toilet auger (closet auger). This has a pipe with a sharp turn at its bottom. The bend at the end hepls to get the business end of the auger into the toilet trap. A flexible metal snake with a crank handle that you turn runs through the pipe.

Put the curved end of the auger into the bottom of the bowl, and turn the crank while you push the auger into the drain hole in the bottom of the toilet. Try not to push the obstruction further into the toilet. The goal is to try to hook the blockage or break it up.

You might want to try an improvised, but sometimes effective tool from a wire coat hanger. A thicker, stiff coat hanger works better than a flimsy one. Cut the hanger off on either side of the hanger hook. Straighten it out and make a small hook at the business end of it. Stick the hook end down the toilet and try to snag whatever obstruction may be there.

You will never know what the obstruction is until you ave tried all possibilities in trying to loosen it. If you can't get the clog free, then the next step is to disconnect the water supply, drain the toilet as much as possible, and take the toilet off of the floor so you can work on the obstruction from the bottom.

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