You may have a job in your house that you really don’t like, maybe it is laundry, doing the dishes, or cleaning the bathroom. You may even procrastinate and avoid doing it until you are down to the last pair of clean underwear you have, or the last clean plate. However there is one job that you can’t put off…. Ready for it?!!
Unclogging a toilet!!!
Oh, you may run and hide but at some point in your life you will be faced with the dilemma that faces us all at some point in our lives…. Do you drive 10 minutes to the closest bathroom or do you wield the scepter of wood and rubber and bravely face the dark depths of despair lurking in what used to be your toilet? Unfortunately for most of us, it’s a fact of life that we have to bite the bullet and face the terror known as the Stuck Behemoth and its sneaky accomplice icky toilet water. These tips will help you armor up to do battle with the behemoth lurking below!!
So what can we do to vanquish that evil with ease and finesse?
Well for starters we need to use the right plunger.Yup you heard me right! Not all plungers are created equal.. well at least for unclogging a backed up toilet. Having the right plunger can make all the difference in the world and most people are using the wrong one. You know that standard inexpensive flat bottomed plunger you may have lurking around the toilet? yup this one
That is actually designed to be used for sinks and tubs not toilets. They do not seal completely around the drain portion of the toilet and when pushed downward can unleash a tidal wave of icky toilet water right out of the toilet bowl. There are two different types of toilet plungers, a flanged plunger or an accordion plunger. These have a smaller section on the bottom that fit down inside the drain on the toilet to seal up and provide maximum push and pull when plunging a toilet. So once you have the right plunger in hand follow these steps to triumph over the dastardly clog and enjoy your throne in all its blissful glory.
Before We Start!
If the bowl is full, give it time. Let the toilet sit for a bit to see if the water will go down a bit before trying to unclog it. Bear in mind that if it doesn’t go down you may have to remove some of the water to allow room to plunge. If that is the case, make sure you wear long gloves to protect yourself from the water and a designated cup and bucket to remove enough icky toilet water to be able to plunge safely. You can flush the removed water back down the toilet once you have unclogged it. If you have some room, add a bit of hot water. The heat warms the clog up a bit and allows them to slide better and sometimes is even enough to unclog the toilet without using the plunger.
Take the back off the toilet so that if the toilet starts to overflow you can push the flapper down inside the tank to stop it.
HERE WE GO!!
Step 1 -
Warm up your plunger. Ok so we aren’t talking about making it do exercises here but running warm water over the plunger before putting it in the toilet helps loosen up the rubber and makes it easier to get it to seal to the drain portion on the toilet thereby producing better suction and force.
Step 2 -
Tilt the plunger as you put it into the toilet water to allow as much water as possible to enter the bell of the plunger. The water is what we use to force the movement of the clog and the more water we can get into the bell of the plunger the better chance we have of loosening the clog. Once the bottom of the plunger is completely submerged and there is no more water entering it seat it with the smaller bottom portion into the drain area and hold the plunger straight up and down. Push gently straight down on it all the way to allow the bell to push all the remaining air out and then allow it to fill back up with water as it fills back up.
Step 3 -
To plunge you are going to want to use short firm strokes straight up and down on the plunger handle. Don’t just concentrate on pushing. For plunging the pull is just as important because it helps move the clog around and helps to clear it out, but don’t over pull. Try to keep the seal between the plunger and the toilet drain seated, until you can feel the pressure building up and it gets harder to plunge.
Don’t get too drastic with the plunging of the toilet! Really hard plunging can actually rock the toilet and break the wax seal that the toilet sits on causing it to leak. It is better to do focused plunging concentrating the push into the drain and then pulling straight up to move the clog.
Step 4 -
Once you feel a good amount of pressure pull the plunger back to break the seal and flush the toilet at the same time keeping a close eye on the water level inside the toilet. The extra push of the water when flushing will help force the clog further down and hopefully clear it completely. If the toilet starts backing up, reach inside the clean water tank on the back and close the flapper that is on the bottom of the tank to prevent the toilet from over flowing and repeat the steps for plunging as needed.
Extra Steps May Be Needed!
If you have done the plunging repeatedly and the toilet is still backed up, you may need to try an auger. An toilet auger is small cable like device with a turn handle that you can find at most home improvement stores that fits down the drain portion of the toilet. Insert the cable end down the drain and turn the handle until it stops moving. This means you’ve reached your clog. The auger will either break up the clog or hook on to it. If it feels like you’ve hooked the clog, gently try to pull it out. Be careful to not pull too hard, if need be wiggle it back and forth to move the clog around and break it up, making it easier to remove. Discard any waste on the end of the auger. Give the toilet a few good plunges to clear up any left over blockage. Flush and voila your throne is hopefully ready to use again!
How do you know when it’s time to call in the professionals to battle your clog?
There are times when your own efforts just aren’t enough. If the steps above do not clear the clog or if you see water backing up into sinks, bathtubs or other drains it is most definitely time to all a plumber. Water backing up in odd locations when you flush means you have a clogged main line and you need to call in your back up to do battle! If you know that the clog is something that really shouldn’t be flushed down a toilet, such as action figures, toys, or your cell phone then definitely call a plumber, they have the tools to safely remove foreign objects from plumbing pipes.