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Plugged or Clogged Toilets

A clogged toilet is a situation where the toilet bowl is unable to properly flush its contents due to an obstruction in the plumbing system. It can be caused by a variety of factors such as overloading the toilet, flushing inappropriate objects or materials, and blockages in the plumbing system. Symptoms of a clogged toilet include slow or incomplete flushing, rising water levels in the bowl, and water backing up into the bathroom or surrounding areas. Unclogging a toilet typically involves using tools like a plunger or toilet auger, and in some cases, the toilet may need to be replaced if the obstruction is too severe.

What to do about a plugged toilet

A plugged toilet can be a very upsetting situation. When flushing the toilet, slow flushing or no flushing can be signs of a blockage. A toilet can get plugged from overloading it or something being put into it that it isn’t designed to deal with.

Overloading is fairly self-explanatory. A toilet is only designed to move a certain volume of waste, and overloading it can plug it. Objects not meant to be flushed, such as wipes, feminine products, and other foreign objects, can also plug a toilet. Even toilet paper that is too thick can cause a toilet to flush improperly.

A slow toilet flush is the first sign that there may be an obstruction in your toilet. You’ll see a change from the normal flush, to the water in the bowl meandering and there won’t be the usual flushing power. From there, as the blockage collects other debris, the flush will worsen. The next stage is where flushing the toilet causes the water level to rise, before it eventually slowly drains. Then, the final stage is where the toilet’s integral trap becomes fully clogged, and the flush toilet fully backs up out of the bowl.

A toilet’s lifespan is around 10 years. With the extreme hardness of the water in Alberta, the jets in the toilet can begin to collect calcium and lime deposits and eventually start to plug over. The decreased volume of water pushing waste through the toilet can cause some debris to be left behind. The more debris left behind, the more likely a clog is about to occur. As the toilet gets older, the chances of the toilet plugging increase. To prevent this cycle from occurring, a toilet should be replaced when it reaches its life expectancy.

To unplug the toilet, multiple steps must be taken. The first step is to use a toilet auger. A toilet auger is a tool designed to clean soft debris out of the integral trap of a toilet. It has 3 ft of cable and can go all the way through the toilet. Generally speaking, if there are no foreign objects in a toilet, a toilet auger should be able to clear the blockage. If there are foreign objects in a toilet that don’t come out with the toilet auger, then the toilet should be lifted to see if the object is accessible from underneath. If the toilet object is stuck where it cannot be retrieved, however, the toilet will have to be replaced.

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