Unclogging a Toilet

The need for unclogging a toilet is always urgent. It might happen when your guests are arriving for a swanky soiree, or in the middle of the night after finally getting your cranky baby, or spouse, to sleep. What then? Do you let it go until morning? Walk away and blame it on the next guy? Or roll up your sleeves, dive in, (so to speak) and confront the problem head on?

Unclogging your toilet immediately is the only solution. Taking on the task then and there will also prevent further problems, such as a predawn flood when an unsuspecting family member relieves him or herself, only to cause an overflow. Not only would you bear the brunt of the blame for not tending to the matter when you had the opportunity, but you would then have the mess to contend with. Just get it over with, and go back to Christmas decorations later.

When it's apparent that your toilet is clogged, don't attempt to force out the clog by repeatedly flushing your tank. The water has nowhere to go and you're only taking a risk of flood or further damage. Instead, get your handy plunger (sometime's called a "plumber's helper") and a pair of rubber gloves. Take care to wear something you don't mind getting dirty or wet. Remember, toilets are unsanitary, so take care to prevent soiling the area.

Depending on the size and nature of your clog, you may end up with copious quantities of dirty water on the floor or surrounding area. In order to keep from having to call in a bio-hazard team for clean-up, you should put down newspaper, paper towels, or even old bath towels you've saved for just this re-purpose. Surround the base of your commode with your safeguards.

Open a window and turn on a fan to avoid potentially harmful sewer gases and foul odors. Shut off the water supply to the toilet by turning the handle directly adjacent (in most cases) to the tank. The shut off handle will resemble that of a typical water faucet. There is no need to shut off the water to the entire house.

Depending on the water level in your toilet bowl, it may be necessary to add enough water to fill the bowl halfway. By using a bucket of water, with perhaps a little all purpose cleaner to help clean any waste matter from the walls of the toilet bowl, you can bring up the water level enough. You are now ready to plunge.

Make sure the plunger end of your plumbers helper is completely submerged in the water and covering the drain. Plunge the drain using several gentle yet firm pumps in order to maintain suction. Pull up sharply and continue plunging. Pull back on the plunger and check to see if the clog has passed through the system.

Should you continue plunging without results, you may need professional attention. Before trying anything beyond a plunger, you should consult a plumber. Some homeowners have access to an auger or "snake" which is fished through the pipes in an attempt to push the clog out. These tools are extremely successful in moving the clog but proceed with caution. Unless you're skilled in the use of a plumbers snake, you could end up damaging the toilet bowl, or worse, damaging your system.

If you have a septic tank, be cautious unclogging a toilet with chemicals You should only resort to chemical drain cleaners before you call a plumber. Remember, drain cleaners don't always work immediately, so allow some time. Thoroughly read the directions as failure to do so may result in damage to your system.

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