How to unblock a clogged toilet

Blocked toilets in Sydney are one of the most common plumbing problems experienced by residents and business owners. Pressing the flush button and watching the toilet fill up with wastewater can be stressful and embarrassing. Luckily, unblocking a toilet is relatively simple when you know what to do.

Why do toilets get blocked?

A toilet will get blocked when there is something blocking the sewer pipes. Every property has two types of sewer pipes - internal and external. The internal sewer pipes are located inside the home and they transport water and waste from each plumbing fixture to the external sewer pipes. The external pipes are located underground within the boundaries of your property and these are in turn connected to the public sewer lines.

Both the internal and external sewer systems are only designed to transport water, toilet paper and sewage to the treatment plants. When other household items get flushed down the toilet they can get snagged in the pipes and accumulate over time, eventually leading to a blocked drain.

Blockages in the internal pipes are known as “local clogs” and they are normally situated close to the drain opening, such as the S bend of a toilet. These blockages may be caused by makeup wipes, cotton buds, sanitary items or excessive amounts of toilet paper that has been flushed down the toilet.

Blockages in the outside sewer pipes are much more serious and will require assistance from a Sydney blocked drain plumber. These are often caused by a buildup of grease in the pipes, tree root intrusion or collapsed pipes.

The below steps are applicable to local clogs. If you suspect a blockage in the external sewer line, get in touch with a Sydney plumbing professional as soon as possible.

How to unclog a blocked toilet

1 - Unblocking a toilet with a plunger

When it comes to unblocking a toilet, plunging is the first thing you should try. Plungers are both inexpensive and easy to use and most homeowners will already have a plunger in the house.

It’s important that you a plunger that is specifically designed to fit over the toilet drain, such as an accordion plunger or a flange plunger. A cup plunger that is designed for sinks will not produce a good seal.

Before you start plunging, slowly press the plunger down over the toilet drain opening to reduce the amount of air in the cup. This will create a better seal and improve the suction. Also make sure that the plunger is submerged in water. If there is no water in the bowl, add some using a bucket.

Start plunging vertically (straight up and down) in quick, forceful movements without breaking the cups seal over the drain. The goal is to create enough suction and compression to loosen the clog. Keep plunging until the toilet bowl empties by itself. Flush the toilet to check that it is now flushing normally.

2 - Unblocking a toilet with an auger

If you’re not having any success with the plunger, the next tool to try is a toilet auger. You can purchase an auger for around $30 from a hardware store. A toilet auger has a flexible cable that can be inserted into the toilet drain. Once the cable reaches the clog, rotate the handle until the clog is dislodged. The clog will either be pushed down the line or it will cling onto the auger so you can bring it back up the pipe. Remove the auger by rotating the handle and pulling backwards.

When the auger has been removed, flush the toilet several times to make sure that the blockage is completely cleared.

3 - When to call a Sydney drain plumber

If neither a plunger nor an auger has unblocked the toilet, it could be indicative of a blockage in the main sewer line. It’s important to call a licensed Sydney plumber to have the blockage removed. The longer you leave a clog in the main sewer the worse it will get. In extreme cases where the pipe is completely blocked, sewage can overflow from multiple plumbing fixtures and flood the home.

JAB Plumbing Solutions is a team of licensed Sydney plumbers specialising in blocked drains and sewer cleaning. We offer same-day service throughout Sydney and the Inner West for all blocked drain emergencies. For urgent matters call our Sydney emergency plumber on 1800 225 552.