Blocked toilets are an inconvenience and also a smelly one. And, when you have children in the house, they don’t always understand that you can’t flush or go at all when the toilet is blocked. Your neighbours will be your best friends while you fix the problem.
Of course for serious blockages you will need to call your emergency plumber. But before you reach for the phone here are some steps you can take before you need an expensive call-out.
1. Turn it off
Turn off the valve under the toilet before you get to work to prevent overflowing.
2. Don’t ignore it
Don’t just keep flushing hoping that it will ‘go away’. To keep the bowl overflowing you don’t need to get in a flap, but you should close the flapper to prevent. Reach inside the toilet tank and the flapper looks something like a circular drain plug, usually attached to a chain. Close it.
3. Protect the bathroom
With newspapers, paper towels or old cloths and rags, put them around the toilet. Splashing is an inevitable consequence of some attempts to clear a blockage and best to prevent damage to the floor.
4. Reach inside
Wearing a pair of rubber gloves – preferably that cover up to the elbow – reach inside the bowl. This is something that is best where you know the block is something like a toy or similar has been dropped into it, rather than ‘other things’ are causing the problem.
5. Try homemade drain cleaner
Pour one cup of baking soda, two cups of vinegar into the bowl. Then pour about three pints of hot, not boiling, water into the bowl. There may be a bit of fizzing. Remember to pour the water in from waist height to let the hot water get right down. Let it sit overnight, or for several hours at least to let the mixture work through.
We hope that you already have a plunger – and a good one. The cheap suction type plunger doesn’t have the best of seals. Instead a ball shaped one, or one with a fold-out flange at the bottom. Run it under a hot tap before you use it to loosen the rubber to help make a better seal. Cover the hole at the bottom of the bowl and push down and pull back quickly around 15-20 times. It won’t work if there are hard objects stuck but give it a good effort and it usually works.
7. Call your plumber
If after your efforts the toilet is still blocked it is best to call emergency registered plumber. Coat hangers, and even the cheaper plumbing snakes can crack porcelain bowls, or even push the blockage deeper into the system in inexperienced hands. And, trying chemicals without knowledge of the dangers or types of products can be hazardous.
Of course we hope you’ll never have to worry about a blocked toilet and you can help prevent it happening by regularly cleaning using general household products.
However, if you do end up with a blocked toilet, just follow our steps and we’ll be here if you need us. Just give us a call on the numbers below: