Photo By New Africa at Shutterstock
If it feels like you’re always having to plunge your toilet to unclog it, it’s time to get to the root of the issue. A clogged or overflowing toilet is no fun, and it could indicate a broader problem with your home’s plumbing if it keeps happening. So, if you’ve tried DIY fixes and your toilet keeps getting blocked, it’s time to call a plumber in Richmond, VA, to get things flowing again. Here are some of the most common causes of clogged toilets and how to solve them.
1. You’re Flushing the Wrong Things
Only human waste and toilet tissue should be flushed. Toilet tissue is specially formulated to break down easily without clogging up your system. Although they may not seem so different, facial tissues and disposable kitchen towels can cause blockages that may require a professional plumber to shift.
Other common causes of clogs include diapers, cotton wool, cat litter, and feminine hygiene products. Even items labeled as ‘flushable’ are bad news for your plumbing, so it’s best to dispose of all these items in your household waste. Place a small trash can next to your toilet so you have somewhere convenient to dispose of non-flushable items.
Sometimes, objects can fall into your toilet unnoticed and cause a blockage. It’s a good idea to keep the area above your toilet clear so that you don’t inadvertently knock something into the bowl. If you have small children, educate them on what can and can’t be flushed down the toilet.
2. You Need to Switch Toilet Paper
Although toilet paper breaks down more easily than other types of tissue, some brands dissolve much better than others. If your toilet keeps clogging and you’re sure that you haven’t flushed anything down there that you shouldn’t, your regular toilet paper may be to blame. Try a few different types of tissue to see if a new brand breaks down more easily or ask your plumber for a recommendation.
3. You Have an Old Toilet
If you have an older toilet model, it may have a low-flush design. This often means that its flush isn’t powerful enough to carry waste away properly, leading to clogs. On the other hand, even a modern toilet can have a poor design that doesn’t provide a forceful flush.
A plumber can tell you whether your toilet’s design is to blame for frequent clogs. If it is, the only solution is to install a replacement. To make sure you get a toilet with a decent flush, check out its MaP score. MaP is an organization that tests all toilet models, and you should look for a score of 500 or higher. If you’re unsure, ask your plumber to recommend a good brand and model.
4. A Hard or Chlorinated Water Supply
Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals that can build-up inside your pipes and increase the likelihood of blockages. The water in Richmond, VA is slightly to moderately hard, so this could be a contributing factor to your toilet woes. If your plumber advises you that mineral deposits are causing clogs, you should consider buying a water softener to combat the problem.
Furthermore, water that’s been chlorinated to kill bacteria can cause damage to components inside your toilet. This can make its flush less powerful and lead to blockages. Ask your plumber to inspect your toilet and replace any damaged parts to get your system up and running again.
5. Clogged Sewer Lines
A stubborn blockage deep inside your sewer line or intruding tree roots can make it seem like your toilet is clogged. This problem needs specialist video equipment to diagnose, so the only way to solve it is to call in a plumber to inspect your sewer line and clear them out if necessary.
6. Venting Problems
Your plumbing needs proper ventilation for your toilet to flush properly. If not, a vacuum can form that stops wastewater from flowing out of your toilet. If there’s a problem with your ventilation pipe, it may not have been installed correctly or could be blocked with debris. You’ll need to hire a professional to clear your existing ventilation pipe or install a new one to achieve the correct pressure inside your system.
7. Insufficient Water Supply
If your toilet’s water tank isn’t filling up properly, there may not be enough water to properly flush away waste, leading to blockages. You may be able to solve this problem yourself by simply checking that the knob on the supply line is fully opened. If it is, the rubber float in the tank may be on too low a setting. Ask your plumber to check the level and adjust it if necessary.
8. An Object in the Trap
A toilet trap is an s-shaped piece of pipe that connects your toilet to the drain. If an object gets trapped inside, waste and other debris can build up around it, leading to a very stubborn clog.
The only way to remove an object from the trap is to take your toilet up to get at the pipe. This is a major undertaking and doing it incorrectly could cause new issues that may be expensive to put right. So, it’s best to leave this job to a professional plumber to avoid any mishaps.
Call in the Professionals
If a plunger isn’t enough to unclog your toilet or the problem keeps recurring, it’s time to call in the professionals. The friendly team at bluefrog Plumbing & Drain of Richmond, VA can diagnose the underlying cause of frequent or stubborn toilet clogs and treat the issue once and for all. We can also replace your old, low-flush toilet with a high-performance model for powerful, clog-free flushing.