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Unclogging a Toilet Trap

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There’s a Clog in the Toilet’s Trap

It’s ease to assess if the clog is in the toilet’s trap or further down in the main stack. Toilets and lavatory sinks almost always drain out into the same stack, so if the sink is running fine, then the problem lies in the toilets trap.

Anything from paper towels to feminine hygiene products can cause the trap to clog. These items should never be flushed down the toilet. Conversely, disposable wipes, even those labeled flushable, should never be flushed. They simple do not break down enough to fit down the trap, and will eventually clog it.

People with small children are probably familiar with kids preoccupation with the toilet. Foreign objects, like a happy meal toy, will also cause a clog. Children are not the only culprits however. Most people don’t want to touch toilet water. So when they drop, say nail clippers in the toilet, their first instinct is to flush rather than retrieve the item. They are usually surprised when the clippers are flushed out with the water. So what to do when you determine you have a clog in the trap.

There are two options. Plunging and toilet auguring.

Effective Plunging Methods

  1. Make sure that the plunger you are using has a fold out cup. This is specifically designed to fit into the opening of a toilet trap.
  2. Pump the plunger in even back and forth motion. It’s important to use an equal amount of force in both directions to ensure a solid seal.
  3. Flush the toilet. If it is still flushing slowly try plunging again. If this doesn’t solve the problem try and clean the trap with a toilet auger.

Using a Toilet Auger

A toilet auger consists of a J-shaped tube and a cable. It works the same way as a drain snake, but the cable is larger in diameter to accommodate the larger trap of a toilet. They can be purchased at any hardware store for $15-20.

  1. Pull the handle out all the way so that the tip of the cable is all that is showing at the bottom.
  2. Insert the end of the auger into the outlet opening.
  3. Slowly push the handle forward while cranking in a clockwise motion.
  4. When the handle bottoms out, pull it out and repeat the process three or four times, forcing it left and right to ensure that the obstruction is completely cleared.
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