Here's How to Figure Out Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging
Plumbing problems that make it so a toilet keeps clogging stem from various causes. Some you are able to correct with a change in habits, others require some DIY plumbing troubleshooting – and then there are those that take the help of a professional to resolve. The Cincinnati plumbers of Thomas & Galbraith discuss the causes to blame when a toilet keeps clogging, why these problems arise, and what needs to be done to stop them.
Why a Toilet Keeps Clogging
Recurring toilet clogs arise due to a few different causes. Problems with the way you use your toilet, the toilet itself, and the home’s plumbing system are possibilities. Below are the most common reasons a toilet keeps clogging:
- Toilet is an older low flow model
- Too much toilet tissue is flushed
- Non-flushable items are flushed
- Clog in the toilet trap
- Blocked toilet vent
- Clog in the sewer line
Older Toilet Troubles
Cincinnati homes with early model low flow toilets installed often suffer from hassles when a toilet keeps clogging. The issue that causes clogs to repeatedly form is the toilet itself. While early model low flow toilets were a step in the right direction for home water conservation, they often lack the pressure necessary to fully clear material through the toilet drain. Without necessary pressure levels, materials stick behind in the toilet and sewer line, which leads to repeated clogs.
One easy way to attempt to correct when an old low flow toilet keeps clogging is to use less toilet tissue. When you reduce the amount of material sent down the toilet drain, you reduce the amount of material potentially left behind to cause clogs. Limit toilet paper use and you are likely to see a reduction in toilet clogs.
The foolproof way to end constant toilet clogs is to replace these older toilets with new fixtures. If your low flow toilets were made in the mid-1990s, they are likely the first of their kind. When you install new low flow toilets, you increase water conservation at home thanks to the advancements made in toilet design over the past 20+ years, and gain better pressure to completely clear material through the toilet.
Too Much TP
Excessive toilet tissue use is a big problem when a toilet keeps clogging. A few squares of toilet tissue are enough, but many of us are guilty of using far more than that to clean up after using the bathroom. The more material that goes down your toilet, the more likely it is to clog – even if it is material made for the toilet!
Toilet paper has become increasingly fancy over the last few decades. Many enjoy the comfort of multi-ply toilet tissue, but especially when too much is used, this material has trouble fully dissolving as it should, so the toilet keeps clogging.
If too much toilet paper consumption is the reason why your toilet keeps clogging, it’s time to have a chat with your household members. Ask everyone to reduce the amount of toilet paper they use and flush. Consider disposing of toilet paper in a nearby trashcan rather than flushing it down the drain. Help young children remember how much toilet paper they need with a simple mark or sticker below the toilet paper dispenser at the appropriate length, so they are able to easily measure when needed.
Change your toilet tissue to 1-ply rather than multi-ply products. Fold sheets of toilet paper to build thickness instead of using multi-ply products or extra toilet paper. Don’t ball up your toilet paper to use, as doing so increases clogs.
Flushing Non-Flushable Materials
Only toilet paper and human waste are supposed to be flushed down the toilet, but all too often, other items make their way down the toilet drain. A toilet keeps clogging because these items become trapped in the toilet or plumbing lines.
So many issues contribute to the problem of non-flushable material going down the toilet drain. Products are marketed as flushable even though they really should be kept out of the toilet, leading consumers to believe they are toilet-friendly – in reality, these products may be why your toilet keeps clogging. Old habits die hard, so if you are someone who’s always thrown any type of bathroom products into the toilet to dispose, like ear swabs and facial tissue, these items make it so the toilet keeps clogging. Children are inherently curious about where things go when the toilet flushes, which leads to toys and other objects going down the drain.
At your next family meeting, remind your household members what items belong in the toilet and which ones do not. Keep small trashcans on-hand in the bathroom for easy disposal of non-flushable items. Teach your young children how the toilet works, what it is meant for, and not to play in it to reduce the likelihood of clogs due to foreign items.
When clogs occur due to non-flushable items in the drain, attempt to dislodge the material through the use of a toilet plunger. If plunging does not clear the clog, a toilet auger is a tool that can be used to bust through clogged material and open up your toilet drain.
Toilet Trap Clogs
Plumbing fixtures have a trap to prevent items from moving into the sewer line where they cause serious clogs. You’re familiar with the sink’s P-trap because it is easily seen within the cabinet, but the toilet’s S-trap isn’t so obvious because it is usually blocked from sight by the bowl. The toilet trap serves the same purpose – trapping items before they get too deep in your plumbing lines.
If your toilet keeps clogging, the issue may stem from materials becoming caught within the toilet trap. Excessive toilet paper use and flushing foreign materials lead to this issue.
Use a toilet plunger to clear material stuck in the toilet’s S-trap. If the flanged plunger does not clear material and the toilet keeps clogging, try a toilet auger.
If these DIY solutions don’t clear the toilet trap and your toilet keeps clogging, call your plumber for drain clearing services to eliminate caught material in the toilet trap.
Toilet Vent Blockage
The toilets throughout your Cincinnati home are vented, which allows outdoor air to vent into your plumbing system. This keeps sewer smells out of your living area and improves flushing pressure.
Toilet vents can become blocked due to clogs that come through the toilet drain or clogs caused by outdoor sources. A blocked toilet vent makes it so a toilet keeps clogging. Pressure is lost and other problems arise, including sewer smells inside, gurgling from the toilet, and poor drainage.
Because the opening to a toilet vent is on the roof, blockages are common at their exterior opening. If you notice the signs of a blocked toilet vent and your toilet keeps clogging, try these steps:
- Access your home’s roof safely and find the toilet vent (tip: it’s usually above the home’s main bathroom).
- Take off the cap that covers the vent entrance. Visually inspect for debris that have fallen inside, and reach in to remove them if possible.
- With your garden hose, spray a stream of water down into the vent. Powerful water flow can force the clog through the vent and sewer line. However, if water backs up to the roof, you know the blockage is not clear.
- Use a toilet auger (needs to be at least 20-foot long) and insert into the vent. Rotate it to break up the clog.
- Run more water down the vent to clear clog material. If water still backs up, call your plumber for help.
Sewer Line Clog
If your home’s sewer line becomes clogged, you will notice your toilet keeps clogging. This is because the drain’s exit is obstructed on down the line, and material is unable to move through. Problems with drainage throughout the home point to a sewer line clog.
Sewer line clogs are caused by clogs that move through drains or exterior issues, like broken sewer pipes, tree root penetrations, or the infiltration of dirt and other materials through a cracked or broken pipe. Your toilet keeps clogging until the sewer line issue is repaired.
Sewer line repairs and clog removal require the help of a plumber. Call for service as soon as you notice symptoms to prevent damage to your plumbing system. Your plumber uses camera inspection to identify the cause of sewer line issues then either clears clogs or performs needed repairs to restore drainage flow.
Schedule Plumbing Services from Thomas & Galbraith
If your toilet keeps clogging and you are unable to eliminate the problem behind it with the tips mentioned above, it’s time to call your plumber. Thomas & Galbraith’s licensed Cincinnati plumbers evaluate your home’s toilets and plumbing system to identify the issue that causes recurring clogs and implement solutions for improved toilet drainage in your bathrooms. Whether you need drain clearing, new toilet installation, or sewer line repairs, we are here to help – contact us today to schedule service.