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Why Does My Toilet Keep Clogging?

Why Does My Toilet Keep Clogging?

Your toilet is probably one of the most used fixtures in your home and a necessity for everyday life. While a clog here and there that’s fixed with a quick plunging of the toilet bowl is not cause for alarm when your toilet is clogging regularly even with just a small amount of toilet paper or waste that may be a sign of a bigger issue.

Here are some of the most common reasons you may be experiencing a regularly clogging toilet.

1. Excessive Toilet Paper Use. While toilet paper is made to go down the drain when you use too much it can stick in the toilet or drain lines as it does not dissolve fast enough and can lead to reoccurring toilet clogs. Americans often use more than double the toilet paper we actually need. Also using multi-ply toilet paper, while it may be more comfortable it can contribute to clogs especially when you are using too much of it. You should also fold over your toilet paper and not wad it as that can also contribute to clogs.

What steps can you take?

Switching to 1-ply toilet paper and reminding others in your home how much toilet paper they need to use can help to reduce clogs from toilet paper. If you have young children in your home, try marking a spot on the wall below the dispenser to show them the right length of toilet paper they should be using.

2. Flushing Non-Flushable Items. The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are toilet paper and human waste. Even wipes that are marketed as flushable can cause a lot of problems to your homes’ plumbing system and can cause clogs. Other items that tend to get flushed and contribute to clogs are paper towels, cotton balls, tissues, ear swabs and even hair. Paper towels are made to resist tearing which makes them difficult to break down and pass through the drainpipe. Children often try flushing toys or other objects down that can lead to clogs as well.

What steps can you take?

Ensuring you have a garbage can easily accessible and convenient so people in your household are more likely to throw trash away there versus flushing items down the toilet. Additionally speaking to members of your household and reminding them what can and can’t be flushed. If you do have curious kids trying to flush items, try closing the door even when the bathroom isn’t being used or putting a baby proofing toilet lid lock on your toilet, so it is not easily accessible.

3. Older Low Flow Toilets. Low flow toilets help to reduce water usage and lower your water bill, however older models of these toilets can have issues with repeatedly clogging. Since these models use less water there isn’t enough water and pressure to push the toilet paper and waste through the drain. Without the proper flushing pressure these materials get stuck and cause clogs.

What steps can you take?

You can try to use less toilet paper as we discussed earlier to prevent the clogs however a better option would be to install a new toilet. Newer models of low flow toilets will still help you to conserve water while having enough pressure to clear material through the toilet.

4. Clogged Toilet Trap. Just like your sink has a P-trap your toilet has a S-trap which may not be as obvious as it is hidden by the bowl however it has the same purpose which is stopping items from flowing further down the drain line and causing main sewer line clogs. If your toilet is clogging regularly, it may be because items are continually becoming stuck in the trap. Sometimes the trap is partially blocked, and your toilet may still flush, but a partial clog usually leads to a complete clog and can cause your toilet to overflow completely.

What steps can you take?

Overusing toilet paper and foreign items being flushed are common sources of these clogs so as we have mentioned before using less toilet paper and flushing nothing, but toilet paper and waste are the easiest ways to prevent these clogs. However, to clear a clog first try to use a plunger to push clogged material and waste through the trap. If that doesn’t work, try using a toilet auger to pull out or break up the clog so it can continue moving through the drain. If both DIY methods don’t work, then it’s time to call a plumber to perform drain cleaning services.

5. Blocked Toilet Vent. We typically associate our plumbing system with the water pipes throughout our home however your home’s toilets are also connected to a ventilation pipe that exits your home. The vent pipes allow fresh air to enter your home’s plumbing system which increases flushing pressure and keeps sewer smells out of your living area. If the vent is blocked, then you have less flushing power and without the adequate pressure the toilet will keep clogging more frequently. This leads to additional problems like poor drainage, toilet gurgling and sewer smells inside your home.

What steps can you take?

To confirm that a blocked toilet vent is causing your clogs you will need to safely access your home’s roof and locate the toilet vent. Remove the cap that covers the opening and look for debris and remove any you can. There are additional steps to take if that does not work such as using your garden hose on the jet setting to spray water down the vent, the pressure from the water can help to force the clog through the vent. You can also use a toilet auger that’s at least 20 feet long and insert it into the vent to try to break up the clog and then run more water into it to see if that helped. Any work on the roof is dangerous so be sure to do this safely or call a plumbing technician to do these steps for you.

6. Punctured, Damaged or Clogged Sewer Lines. Your home has several drain lines that carry waste away from your toilets, sinks, tubs, and other drains to the main sewer line. If your toilet keeps clogging and you are having problems with drainage throughout your home then the cause could be a sewer line clog due to the drain’s exit being obstructed and material is trapped, unable to move through. Sewer lines can become clogged due to tree root penetrations, sewer line breaks and sewer line infiltrations of dirt or other materials through a cracked or broken pipe.

What steps can you take?

Sewer line clogs are serious and need to be fixed by a licensed plumbing technician. If this issue is not fixed in a timely manner by a professional your toilet will continue to clog and can eventually cause more damage to your home’s plumbing system. The plumber will use a camera to inspect and identify the cause of the sewer line issue and then perform repairs as needed.

As we’ve discussed in this blog post some of the reasons your toilet may be clogging can simply be fixed with educating those in your home about what can be flushed vs what can’t be flushed and by using less toilet paper. However, some issues do need the expertise of an experienced and licensed plumbing technician.

Call HR Silicon Valley Plumbers today for toilet repairs, replacements, and assistance with clogs in San Jose and surrounding areas.

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