Blocked toilets are a common problem in homes and businesses across Melbourne and if left unchecked can cause major damage. Flushing the toilet and watching the bowl fill up and overflow onto the floor can be daunting and something you don’t want to experience. Fortunately unblocking a toilet when you know how can be quite an easy task.
How do toilets block
Toilets block when there is an obstruction in the drain or the toilet itself. Obstructions can be foreign objects that have been flushed down a toilet like a toilet deodorizer or kids toys. Drains are designed to flush away water, toilet paper and general sewage. When foreign objects get flushed down a drain they often get caught on bends and junctions in your drainage pipe system. Drainage systems are not designed to flush items like cotton buds, baby wipes, paper towel, sanitary items or excessive amounts of toilet paper. What happens is these items will catch onto any obstructions in the drain and over time build up until it completely blocks the drain.
Another cause of toilets blocking is broken or cracked sewer pipes.
When below ground drains are damaged tree roots can enter the drainage system. Tree roots thrive in this environment and will eventually fill the drain causing paper once again to build up behind the tree roots and cause a sewer blockage. If below ground drainage pipes are broken or collapsed the surrounding soil will enter the drain and block the flow of sewage completely.
Below are some tips and methods we use to unblock toilets. If you think you have a blocked toilet in Melbourne then best to call your Local Plumbing Professional as they will have the experience, expertise and equipment needed to clear your blocked toilet and eliminate the risk of doing further damage.
Plunging a toilet
When the cause of a blockage is localised to the toilet then plunging the toilet is the first step we take. Plungers can be purchased from any hardware store or plumbing supplies and are cheap and quite simple to use. There are specific plungers designed for plunging toilets so make sure you use the correct type to prevent damaging your toilet. Bellows Plungers are specifically designed to unblock toilets where a cup type plunger is for sinks, showers and basins.
The first step in plunging a toilet is to place the plunger over the toilet drain (outlet) and make sure the plunger is submersed in water to create a good seal between plunger and the outlet of the toilet, this prevents air entering the system. Start plunging the toilet in a constant forceful action without breaking the seal between plunger and toilet. This action will cause water to be forced down and up the drain dislodging any obstruction or breaking up any build ups within the drain. Using this action repetitively will empty the toilet of water. If the blockage has not cleared you may need to fill the bowl again and repeat the action above. You may also hear a vacuum gurgling sound when the drain has cleared. To check if the blocked toilet has been cleared place some toilet paper in the bowl and flush the toilet a couple of times making sure the paper flushes away. If the bowl empties as it should then you know you have cleared the blockage and job done.
Hand auger to clear a blocked toilet
When a plunger just won’t clear your blocked toilet then it may be time to try a mechanical drain auger. These devices are used to dislodge blockages that a plunger just can’t move. They have a flexible cable that you enter into the toilet drain via the bowl. Once you have located the blockage you rotate the handle to dislodge the obstruction. Sometimes the obstruction will catch onto the auger cable and come out with the auger and sometimes the auger will dislodge the blockage into the drainage pipe sending it downstream. To remove the auger you simply rotate the handle again and gently pull the cable out of the drain.
Once again check if the blocked toilet has been cleared. Place some toilet paper in the bowl and flush the toilet a couple of times making sure the paper flushes away. If the bowl empties as it should then you know you have cleared the blockage and job done.
If the above two methods don’t work then it’s time to call your Local plumbing drainage professional. Often if the blockage is located in your above or below ground main drainage system and not localised to the toilet then the above methods will have minimal effect on clearing the blockage.
Generally the longer you leave a blockage the more severe it will become and the greater the repair needed to get your drains operational again.
Unblocking toilets when it is caused by a fault in the main drainage system takes knowledge & experience. Don’t risk trying to clear it yourself as you could cause further damage to your drainage system or more importantly you could cause serious injury to yourself or your family.
The equipment used to diagnose and repair blocked drains is dangerous when used by the untrained. Plumbing Professionals are trained in the operation of high pressure water jets, mechanical sewer machines (sewer snakes), CCTV cameras and pipe location and diagnostic equipment. These machines may seem easy to use but it takes years of experience to be able to use them in a safe manner and not cause further damage to drains and property. A water pressure jet operates at 5000PKA, you don’t want that coming up out of your toilet bowl.