Have you ever felt the sense of panic that comes from flushing a toilet, only to notice that the water isn’t draining from the bowl? This is a little different than the average clog, and you have to know how to react to avoid a flooded bathroom.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you prepare for a clogged toilet that’s overflowing and prevent ta major catastrophe.
How to Get the Water Level Under Control
As soon as you notice the water level rising without draining, you have to act quickly:
Never Flush a Second Time
When you’re panicked, you may try to flush the toilet again to get it to go down, but that won’t work. If the toilet is clogged, flushing it again will only bring more water into the bowl and tip it over the edge.
Close the Flapper
You can stop more water from flowing into the bowl by removing the lid of the tank and closing the flapper. This contraption is a small, often brightly colored, rubber piece that’s attached with a metal lever or chain. It allows the water to flow from the tank to the bowl to refill it after flushing, but if the toilet isn’t draining, then you need to stop that process by closing it.
If you think that the toilet might be clogged before you flush, prepare by opening the tank and getting ready to close the flapper. Use your other hand to flush and close the flapper if you notice it’s not draining.
If Possible, Shut Off the Water Supply
Some toilets have a water shut-off valve, but not all. If yours does, you can find it on the bottom near where the toilet meets the wall. Turn the valve clockwise to cut off the water supply to the toilet.
Plunge the Toilet
Once the water supply is under control, you have time to plunge the toilet and remove the clog that’s causing the issue.
Empty Some of the Water, If Needed
Depending on how much the water level rose, you may need to remove some water to accommodate the plunger without overflowing completely. Grab some rubber gloves and scoop some of the water out in a bucket.
Use the Right Plunger
Most bathrooms have a standard plunger for toilet clogs, but flange plungers are the better choice. They have a special flange at the end that can fit into the drain hole in the toilet bowl, allowing it to get a tight seal and strong suction to dislodge the clog.
Run the Plunger Under Hot Water
Though not necessary, a cold plunger will be stiff and difficult to maneuver in the toilet. Run it under hot water to soften it up and make it more pliable, so you can get a stronger seal in the drain hole.
Use the Plunger Correctly
A lot of people don’t know how to use a plunger correctly to take care of a clog. They tend to focus on the down strokes, which is only part of the equation. You have to create a tight seal in the drain hole and push up and down to loosen the clog.
Remember to use strong, consistent up and down strokes. Don’t plunge quickly, as it’s more likely that you’ll lose the tight seal. If you loosen the clog, you may end up seeing the bowl empty on its own.
If not, you may need to try flushing to see if the clog moves. If it does, your work is done. If it doesn’t, close the flapper and try plunging again. It may take a few times to get the clog moving, but if not, call a plumber.
Use the Plumber’s Secrets
Plumbers sometimes rely on a handy tip to loosen stubborn clogs. Add hot water before you start plunging and let it sit for a few minutes. The heat can help break up the clog to make it easier to move. The same goes for dish detergent, which can help it move more easily in the pipes. Sometimes, this remedy works without needing a plunger at all.
Another option is a tried-and-true method for drains in your home – baking soda and vinegar. One cup of each mixed together creates a chemical reaction that can loosen the clog to get it moving.
When to Call a Plumber
If you’re plunging and not getting anywhere, or you suspect that there’s a foreign object in the toilet, it’s best to call a plumber to snake it. The best you can do is try to pull up the object and remove it, but it definitely shouldn’t be flushed again as it will only clog or cause bigger issues down the line.
Dealing with constant clogs? Contact us at JW to see how we can help you restore your plumbing.