A blocked toilet isn’t just inconvenient. It’s also unhygienic. Especially if water starts to overflow. Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence in homes across the UK.
We’ve written this blog to show you what you need to do when you’re faced with a blocked toilet.
Blocked toilet? Pipe burst? Call Sani Solutions for a 24/7 emergency plumber in Bournemouth and Southampton. Contact us on 03300 882 552 now.
Causes of Blocked Toilets
Toilets can become blocked all too easily. Often, it’s a case of foreign objects being flushed (either accidentally or on purpose). Common blockages include baby wipes, toys and sanitary products. In fact, wipes, tampons and sanitary towels are some of the main causes found to be blocking up the nation’s loos.
Another common cause is too much toilet paper. Yes, in fact many blockages are down to an overuse of toilet tissue, that hasn’t properly broken down in the system. This is especially the case with 3 or 4 ply toilet paper, as people tend to use the same amount as 2 ply, despite not needing to.
Additionally, if you live in a hard water area, build up of minerals can cause blockages in your toilet pipes.
Signs of a Blocked Toilet
The first sign of a blocked toilet is slow draining water. If, after you’ve flushed the toilet, you notice the water is slow to drain, you might have a blockage on your hands.
Another sign is when the toilet starts to overflow. This means the water isn’t draining at all and you’ve got a serious clog. Hopefully, you will have identified that there is a blockage before it gets to this stage.
What to Do With a Blocked Toilet
If you suspect your toilet is blocked, don’t keep flushing in the hopes that it will dislodge the blockage.
It is a good idea to take action to prevent the risk of flooding by closing the toilet flapper. Lift the toilet tank lid and locate the circular drain stopper, which is attached to a chain. Close it to stop water entering the toilet bowl, while you address the blockage.
If you’re prepared to get stuck in and tackle the problem yourself, here are a few steps you can take. However, many people don’t want to risk getting dirty and would rather call in a professional plumber.
We’d recommend donning some elbow length rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms. It’s a good idea to grab a bucket in case you need something to put the dislodged blockage in. Also, lay down some old newspapers to protect your floor from waste water spilling out and open some windows to air out the bathroom.
The first step is to check where the blockage is. Lift up your drain cover. If the chamber below is full of water, that’s a sign that the blockage is further down and will probably need professional intervention. If it’s empty, the blockage is probably in the soil pipe between the chamber and the toilet.
If your toilet is overflowing, you should call an emergency plumber, as this could cause damage to your bathroom and property, as well as posing a health risk.
It’s important to remember that not all blocked toilets are straightforward. If you’re unsure, call a professional.
Drain Cleaning Solution
Try a dedicated drain clearing solution to remove the blockage. Natural solutions are better, rather than using harsh chemicals. Mix vinegar, water and baking soda and pour into the bowl (provided the water level isn’t too high). Leave it for around 15-20 minutes before flushing.
If that doesn’t work…
Time to bring out the plunger. Run it under hot water for a few seconds to soften it. Then stick it into the pipe opening and firmly push down until it forms a seal. Don’t push too hard or it might cause the water to spray up. Pull up with even force and repeat the motion until the water level starts to drop. Then you can try flushing.
If that doesn’t work…
A toilet auger or drain snake might do the trick. If you don’t have one, you can buy them from most hardware shops. An auger is pushed down the toilet bowl until it reaches the blockage, then rotated to break it up or pull it free.
If the blockage is located further down the pipe, call a plumber.
How to Prevent a Toilet Blockage
The first step towards preventing future blockages is to educate your household on what can and can’t go down the toilet. Make sure no one is flushing tampons, sanitary towels or wipes. These should be disposed of into the waste bin. Keep an eye on small children and make sure they know not to put toys into the toilet.
Regularly cleaning your toilet can also protect against buildups that lead to blockages. You can find toilet cleaning or descaling products in most supermarkets or online. Or make your own!
HomeServe has created a handy recipe for ‘toilet bombs’, which can help keep your toilet free from blockages. All you need is baking soda, citric acid, water and an old ice cube tray. Find it here.
If you’ve got a blocked toilet, always call a plumber. Don’t try to handle it yourself without the right skills, tools and knowledge. Call Sani Solutions for an emergency plumber in Bournemouth today.