in my 17 years of plumbing in edmonton, i have unclogged 100’s of toilets. which since i don’t normally do drain cleaning this is quite a few. and not just your standard clogs either! in those years i have pulled out many things from peoples toilets. toothbrushes, diapers, hand towels, pens/pencils, false teeth, woman’s toiletries, cleaning scrubbers, and of course your normal clogs.
the first thing i do when going to someone’s home with a clogged toilet is ask questions. do you have any young kids? could they have thrown a small toy down the toilet? is this a normal clog? has anyone dropped anything into the toilet and tried to flush it down instead of pulling it out? it is best for you to answer me now, then for me to waste a half a day and then find out what i should do. after all the truth saves them money. of course, you are doing this yourself so you do not have to ask yourself these questions, but ask those in your family if need be.
after getting the answers i will either use a plunger or a toilet auger, sometimes called a snake. standard clogs i plunge, everything else i auger.
plunging to unclog a toilet
i prefer a bell shaped or accordion style plunger. these will give you a lot more power. if there is not much water in the toilet then add a little by pushing down on the lever slightly. careful not to over do it, or the toilet will flush and you will end up with water on your floor. lift the tank lid off to be prepared to push the flapper back down in case this does happen. now put in the plunger and plunge hard 5-10 times. add more water and continue until you hear the water flow easily. now flush the toilet, but be ready with the flapper in case you did not break through the clog. now test the toilet. see ‘testing the toilet’ below.
how to unclog a toilet with a toilet auger
you can buy an toilet auger at most hardware stores. go with the more expensive one, remember it will pay for itself the very first time you use it.
pull out the auger’s handle, this brings the snake part into the shaft to be able to guide the head into the toilet opening. push the head of the snake in as far as you can, if you do not go in far enough you will scratch your toilet bowl. now turn the handle clockwise and push down at the same time. when pulling out the snake i just lift the handle part up as far as i can. if the snake get stuck you may have to give it a turn while pulling out. normally though it is best to try and pull the auger out without turning. sometimes if there is a per or a toothbrush in the toilet the snake will grab onto it.
testing the toilet
after unclogging a toilet i always test to see if there is something in the toilet. sometimes if something is stuck in the toilet and you plunge or snake it, you clear the drain. you flush it and everything works fine, but that is just with water. if a toothbrush is stuck down there the next time you put toilet paper in you will clog the toilet instantly. so, make sure to use this test!
i take about 8 feet of toilet paper, roll it into a ball, throw it in and flush. i then flush again, often this is when the water will begin to back up, not on the first flush. if it did flush i do the test again , this time with two balls of toilet paper about 8 feet long each.
if this works you are done, and you just saved yourself $150-$200.