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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 12/1/2005

Bathroom Essentials: How To Unclog a Toilet

Where there's water, there are chances for plumbing problems. That's why toilets are prone to getting clogged from time to time. Typically, this results in improper drainage of the bowl or overflowing of the water. The results can be frustrating and messy.

If the toilet seems to be the only area of blockage (i.e. the bathroom sink or other sinks in the house continue to drain fine), the clog is probably in the toilet, drain line or very close to it. The remedy may be simpler than you'd think.

Option 1: The plunger. A plunger is the first tool you should look to if your toilet clogs.

* If the bowl is full of water, put on rubber gloves and bail out the water with a bucket until the bowl is now half full. If the toilet is relatively empty, add water until it is half full.

* Place the plunger in the bowl so that it completely covers the drain opening. With the plunger completely underwater, press and pull to exert suction for 15 to 20 second.

* If the water drains, add more water and plunge again.

* If the water seems to now be draining properly, flush the toilet to test your handiwork.

Option 2: Closet auger. A more serious clog may require the use of a closet auger -- a drain clearing tool designed specifically for use with a toilet. It features a sharp spiral wire on the tip and a semi-rigid wire that can flex through the bends in the toilet bowl. It also has a guide tube and an offset hand crank to turn the spiral tip and clear the obstruction.

* Insert the guide tube with the curve facing the direction of the drain. Check to see in which direction your bowl drains, front or back. Look for the direction of the drain in your toilet.

* Crank the auger in one direction until it tightens, then in the other direction. Repeat this procedure until the auger is in as far as it will go.

* Crank again to clear the obstruction.

* Pull the guide tube out of the toilet. If it gets stuck, push and pull gently or turn a crank back and forth while gently pulling up. Do not force the auger out of the toilet bowl or you may break the toilet.

* Plunge the bowl for a few seconds and see if it now drains properly.

Option 3: Call a professional. If you still can't clear the obstruction, a professional plumber or drain cleaning service may be necessary.



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