Perhaps, when it comes to daily household activities, there is no greater sense of dread than watching the water go the opposite direction when you flush your toilet. You have a clog, now what should you do? First of all, don’t panic. Even even a home repair rookie can get most toilet clogs back up and running in minutes, without flooding the bathroom and making the situation worse.
It’s helpful to understand how toilets are constructed. The 2-inch plumbing pipe through which waste travels from the toilet bowl to your home’s drainpipe is called a colon. Shaped somewhat like a human colon, it twists and turns on its journey to the drain. Those sharp corners keep sewer gas and rodents from entering your home, but they also provide places where flushed waste can get stuck and clog your toilet.
When toilets clog, your best weapons are a plunger and 5-gallon bucket.
If your toilet bowl fills when flushed and the water stops before overflowing, wait a few minutes to see if the water drains. If it does, water is flowing past the clog but at a slow rate. While the water in the toilet bowl is at its lowest point, quickly empty a 5-gallon bucket of water into the bowl, taking care not to overflow the toilet. The force from a high volume of water is often enough to flush out the toilet clogs.
If your toilet bowl fills but fails to drain, it’s time to get out the plunger. For plunging to work, the water level in the toilet bowl must be higher than normal. Plunge the toilet with the rubber flange pulled out to get a better seal. Push in and out vigorously, keeping enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger. Keep towels handy to wipe up water that splashes out.
For about 90 percent of toilet clogs, you only need one special tool—a plunger. Buy one with an extension flange on the rubber bell-shaped end. It’s designed to fit toilets better so you can deliver more “oomph” to the plunge. You could pull a woodchuck from a hole with one of these things. It’ll unplug sink and tub drains too, if you simply fold the flange back into the bell.