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Is your toilet clogged, overflowing or slow flushing?

We can help! Call us 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, including problems with your clogged toilet! 

Our technicians can quickly diagnose the problem, and provide you with the best options.

Read on and understand what might be causing your toilet problems and what to do.

Toilet Clog

What should I do if my toilet is overflowing?

We want to stop the toilet from overflowing before we can fix the problem.

  1. Take the lid off the toilet tank and locate the flush valve.
  2. Push the flush valve closed so no more water enters the bowl.
  3. Find the water line that goes to the toilet, and look for the open and close valve. 
  4. If there is a valve on the toilet waterline, turn it off. 
  5. Find the float, attached to the flush valve by a chain, and hold it steady, so that it won’t reopen the flush valve. (You may have to rig it or take the chain off of the float temporarily.) 

After this, the toilet should not be able to refill. 

The next step is plunging the toilet to try and disturb the clog. If putting a plunger into the toilet will displace the water and can cause the toilet to overflow, remove water from the toilet bowl with a bucket or container. 

How do I know if I Have a Clogged Toilet?

Edmonton-Toilet

A few signs that indicate you have a clogged toilet include:

  • The water rises higher than usual into the toilet bowl after you flush.
  • The water doesn’t go down in the toilet bowl at all after you flush.
  • The water overflow after you flush your toilet.
  • Gurgling sound from the toilet.
  • A bad smell coming from the toilet can indicate a clog in the toilet. 

How is a clogged toilet formed?

Most often a clog becomes formed in the “S- trap” or “S bend” in the toilet. Toilets keep smelly sewer gas out of your bathroom. The drain of the toilet is shaped as an S because it allows water to settle into the lowest part of the S, and traps bad odors on the other side of the drain. 

Edmonton-Clogged-Toilet

Unfortunately, waste can become lodged in the “S bend” of the pipe, from time to time. 

Human waste and toilet paper are the only things that should ever be plush down the toilet. 

Non-flushable items can clog your toilet, or cause plumbing problems further down the pipe. 

What you can’t flush down the toilet?

The only things you should flush down the toilet are the 3 P’s, pee, poo and paper (as in toilet paper.) 

Non-flushable items can catch on and contribute to existing clogs, or can form a sewer line clog in your plumbing pipe. 

Only-Flush-3P's-Edmonton

Do not flush feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and pads. They will swell up much larger than their original size, easily getting caught in the plumbing lines of your home.

Also, you should never flush dental floss, condoms, Q-tips, bandages and cotton balls  down the toilet. Each contains some plastic, which will never break down in the water like toilet paper is designed to do. They can become caught in an existing clog, or perhaps create a clog of their own. 

“Flushable wipes” should never be flushed down the toilet. The plastic component in flushable wipes inhibits the wipe from breaking down in the sewer line.  Wipes are notorious for causing major clogs in residential homes and in city sewer lines. Also, never flush cat litter. Use a trash can.

Remember, do not empty your hair brush or razor into the toilet. Hair is known for causing clogs, in bathroom drain pipes. 

Also, do not flush food leftovers, oil or grease down the toilet. Oil and grease are deceiving in liquid form when heated but quickly cool and solidify inside your pipe wall. Oil and grease often catch on other items that form clogs, such as hair, wipes or tampons, giving the grease form and a structure.

Paper towels should never be flushed down the toilet. Paper towel is designed to be more durable than toilet paper, a helpful feature when wiping up spills becomes a lethal trait when flushing down your toilet. 

How do I fix a clogged toilet? 

If you have a clogged toilet try the following to remove the clog. Use a plunger to move the clog in the toilet, but be sure to use the right kind of plunger.

A bell-shaped plunger is designed for a kitchen sink. It will not give the powerful suction you need to clear a nasty clog in your toilet but is ideal for a drain clog. 

Try using a plunger specific to a toilet. It will have a smaller flange that fits perfectly into the toilet drain. This allows the plunger to form a stronger seal, and therefore can more powerfully move the clog. An accordion plunger, works in a similar way to a toilet plunger, having a smaller flange, and if used properly can create even more suction power to move the clog. 

If the plunger doesn’t work try using a toilet snake.

A snake has the ability to move through the “s-bend” in the toilet and move the clog. If using a snake be aware that it can scratch the porcelain toilet bowl. Use a protective covering to prevent scratching the surface of your toilet bowl. Or, if you are not able to dislodge the clog, please give us a call! We are here to help, 24/7 with any plumbing emergency.

Also, if the toilet is not completely clogged and water is still draining try pouring 2.5 gallons of water into the toilet bowl to dislodge the clog. 

Low-flush toilets have become standard in most homes in Edmonton over the last couple of decades. Although they save water, by having a smaller tank of water, their flush action isn’t as strong. Pouring an extra gallon of water into the toilet may help move clogs and compensate for a weak flush. 

Choosing a toilet that’s engineered well is important. Ask one of our technicians to recommend a toilet that has strong jets and doesn’t clog easily. 

Will a toilet unclog by itself?  

Most likely a clog could creak down on its own if the clog was comprised of organic waste and toilet paper. 

Because there are a number of factors that can contribute to a toilet clog, it can be hard to  know. If you have more than one bathroom, then waiting it out could be advisable. 

Please don’t assume that the clog will go away on its own. 

Why is my toilet flush weak?

Your toilet flush, might not be powerful for a variety of reasons, including hard water buildup, a clog, low water pressure, a broken flapper valve or the toilet design (including a low-flow toilet).

hard-water

Hard water can leave mineral deposits in your plumbing fixtures and block water spouts.

Though not as hard as Calgary, Edmonton has hard water. Without a water softener, you may notice mineral deposits on your shower head. Less noticeable is hard water build-up on your toilet bowl jets, which isn’t seen. Removing mineral build-up in the rim of your toilet bowl can aid in having a strong toilet flush.

A clogged toilet can cause a weak flush.

If there is a clog in the “S trap”, water isn’t able to move through the toilet drain, or water is not able to move fully.  After flushing water that can’t move past the clog, will return back to the bowl. Removing the clog will restore the toilet’s flushing power.

A faulty flapper can result in a weak flush. The flapper is designed to have a water-tight seal, but if it doesn’t water from the toilet tank can slowly leak out. When it comes time to flush the toilet, there may not be enough water for an adequate flush. It is important that the flapper is working, otherwise, a toilet could run continuously, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your water bill.  Most often a flapper will start to break down, and so your water bill will continue to creep over time without knowing.

Low water pressure can cause a weak toilet flush. Low water pressure could be the result of a partially closed valve, a leaky pipe, or a broken pump.

We offer a full complimentary plumbing inspection with each visit, in the hope to catch small problems before they become big problems, saving you money, and time and preventing emergencies.

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