How to Unclog a Toilet

Learning how to unclog a toilet is not very difficult, in most cases. However, if there is something stuck in the trap way of the toilet then unclogging the toilet can become difficult.

Over the years I have unclogged the toilets of many clients here in Edmonton or Sherwood Park. I have been able to plunge some toilets, snake other toilets, and in some cases remove the toilet to be able to remove the unwanted debris.

There are three types of clogs that I encounter.
1. Toilet has too much waste and is unable to flush properly without overflowing.
2. Toilet has something stuck in the trap way and needs to be removed.
3. When flushing the toilet the water rises and goes down but does not flush the water completely from the bowl.

In this article I will explain how to unclog your toilet for each of these three toilet problems.

1. Toilet has too much waste and is clogged.

For the most part you should be able to simply plunge the toilet and be able to clear the waste. Depending on how much waste is stuck in the bowl you might want to remove some of it from the bowl. If this is a clog from one usage then using the plunger should do the trick.

Simply put your plunger into the bowl and carefully plunge down. I say carefully because if you go hard with the plunging there is a good chance you will get a lot of water overflowing the bowl.

Once you have plunged some of the water through the trap way you should be able to plunge a little harder.

Now try to flush the toilet, but do not use a full flush, just add some water to the bowl by holding the lever down slightly. Does it look like the water is rising or is it going through the trap. If it is rising keep plunging.

You might want to have some towels handy in case water overflows the bowl.

At this point you should be able to plunge quite a bit harder. There will be some splashing, but there is not much that can be done about that.

Once you have unclogged the toilet do a test. Take about 15 sheets of toilet paper and roll into a ball and throw into the toilet, do this with two balls and then flush the toilet. Once the toilet is ready to be flushed again then do the test a second time.

If both flushes easily removed the toilet paper then you have unclogged your toilet.

If not then most likely there is something stuck in the trap way of the toilet. Go to the second procedure for unclogging your toilet.

2. Toilet has something stuck in the trap way and needs to be removed.

At this point you either know something is down there or you have plunged the toilet and clear it for a bit then the toilet clogs again. In fact the toilet most likely clogs every time someone uses toilet paper.

This is pretty certain to say there is something stuck in the toilet.

You will need to auger the toilet. Not with a small snake like I see some people use but with a toilet auger that you can buy from your local hardware store.

Place the auger into the toilet with the plastic part at the bottom of the bowl, otherwise you will scratch the toilet bowl.

Now turn the auger as you push the handle down. This might get difficult but keep turning and pushing at the same time. Sometimes this can be quite the workout.

Pull the handle of the auger all the way out leaving the rest of the unit in the bowl. Did you happen to snag onto something? If yes, then you might be done, if not try it again.

Do this 4 or 5 times, if you have not snagged onto something by then hopefully you pushed through whatever was blocking the trap way.

Make two balls of toilet paper with about 15 sheets in each ball and flush both down together. Do this a second time.

If the toilet does not clog after flushing the second time then you might have it, but try once more with the toilet paper, and if no clog after that then you most likely got the clog.

If you didn’t get it, you can try snaking the toilet again. I have done this upwards of 10 times before getting the clog out. After that you will have to remove the toilet to take a look from the bottom of the toilet hole.

To remove the toilet you will want to have a new wax ring and toilet bolts or t-bolts with you. I prefer the wax ring with the horn.

Shut off the water and disconnect the water supply.

If water continues to leak from the valve then the valve is faulty and you need to shut off the house water.

Take off the toilet lid

Flush the toilet to get as much water out of the tank as you can.

Plunge the water in the bowl to force as much water from the bowl as possible.

Now remove the beauty caps covering the nuts on the toilet bolts.

Take off the nuts

Place a couple of large towels into your bathtub.

Lift the toilet off the floor carefully as these can be heavy.

Place in the tub and turn the toilet upside down

Looking into the hole from the bottom can you see anything?

If so can you grab it with a pair of pliers?

If you can then pull it out…

If not or if you cannot see anything take your toilet auger and push into the hole hopefully pushing through whatever was stuck in the trap way.

You might need to do this 2 or 3 times, but normally you can get it the first time.

Now take the old wax ring off the toilet bowl and remove any of the ring from the toilet flange on the floor.
remove the old t-bolts

Place the new t-bolts in the slots on the toilet flange

Make sure both t-bolts are in the center of the flange

Press the new wax ring onto the toilet bowl with the horn part away from the bowl. The horn should be touching your hand.

Now lift the toilet out of the bathtub and carefully flip over, if the wax seal falls off you will have to press it on again.

Place the toilet over the t-bolts and when you have both t-bolts lines up you can set the toilet down onto the floor.

Press evenly on both sides of the toilet to make sure the wax ring seals properly.

Now put the washer on the t-bolts, then the bottom of the beauty cap, then the nuts.

Tighten the nuts first the left a little then the right a little then back to the left, do this until snug, but do not over tighten or you will crack the bowl and have to buy a new toilet.

Since you used new t-bolts you will most likely have to cut off the excess so you can get the top of the beauty cap on.

Hook up the water supply

Turn on the water.

Your toilet is back in operation!

3. When flushing the toilet the water rises and goes down but does not flush the water completely from the bowl.

Over the years I have encountered this problem many times.

As toilets age the calcium and lime scale will build up on the holes around the rim and the hole at the bottom of most toilets. The holes around the rim are called toilet rim holes, and the one at the bottom is called the siphon hole.

As calcium builds up in these holes the water does not come out in the way the toilet was designed.

This normally causes the water to fill up in the bowl and then start to flush but never getting a nice good flush that empties the bowl completely.

The other way that I have seen this happen is when someone uses those puck like toilet cleaners that sit in your toilet tank. These are supposed to liquefy but often times small pieces will break off and get stuck in the rim and siphon holes.

What I like to do is take a wire coat hanger and disassemble the coat hanger. Then I use one end and gently push that into each of the rim holes. I will push the coat hanger in and out a few times in each hole then do the same thing in the siphon hole.

Be careful, if you break the porcelain around one of the rim holes the toilet will never flush properly again. All the water will leave through the now much larger rim hole and not make it to the other holes. Every time you flush the toilet might work fine but will never clean the bowl the same again or the toilet won’t really work at all.

Then I will flush the toilet, normally I would see small particles coming out of the rim holes.

I then do this again and flush again. I continue to do this until I cannot see any particles coming out of the rim holes.

Usually I will do this 3 times and that seems to work.
by now the flushing performance of your toilet should be much better.

If for whatever reason this does not work and you have done this multiple times then you most likely need a new toilet.

Thanks,

Kelly

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