How To Unblock A Toilet

This is one of a series of articles provided by the Plumber Chelmsford blog.

For many people a blocked toilet can feel like an emergency plumbing situation but in most cases the problem can be resolved fairly easily and without having to go to huge expense.

As with any DIY task at home it is advisable to have the correct tools and in the case of a blocked toilet you will at the very least need some rubber gloves, a plunger and a bucket. 

When a toilet becomes blocked it can be frustrating when it becomes obvious that in spite trying to flush it through you have a problem. Not surprisingly, blockages are usually caused by too much toilet paper being put down the pan. That said, your first task is to find where the blockage lies. If you have a drain cover outside your house it is worth lifting it to look there first. If the chamber is full you need to either use a specialist rod or in some cases, a piece of wire or a strong piece of wood to try to clear the blockage in the pipes or around the drain. If the chamber is unblocked, you are going to know that the blockage exists between the toilet pan and the chamber. Now is the time to investigate the toilet pan itself.

Unfortunately, most people who have a plunger have one that is cup shaped and this is not ideal for the job. A ball shaped plunger is much more effective as it is designed to seal in the opening in the bottom of the toilet bowl. This seal action as you plunge creates the necessary vacuum and pressure to dislodge the blockage. It is worth bearing in mind to have someone keep an eye on the drain chamber outside your home while you do this. If the item that caused the blockage in your toilet appears it is a good idea to remove it. If not, it could cause another blockage further into the system which may prove even more difficult to clear.

If you do not have a plunger, you may be able to improvise. Use an old mop with a plastic bag tied around its head and use in the same way as a plunger. 

If these efforts fail, another alternative is to push a flexible drain cleaning wire down the toilet. You could also use a chemical drain cleaner. If you go down this route remember that these products must be treated with great care. Always read the instructions fully and use rubber gloves.

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