Ask Pete: How Do You Unclog A Toilet?

A clogged toilet can be a total nightmare. If you have ever seen it, you know there aren’t many things as terrifying as the moment you realize your toilet is clogging. You flush the toilet but then, nothing! You lift the cover to find It swirls strangely and then, perhaps you notice the water level is rising and rising. Nobody wants to deal with a clogged toilet, so we want to arm you with useful information to deal with it. In today’s “Ask Pete” we will find out how you unclog a toilet.

Let’s ask Pete!

The Question: Will a toilet eventually unclog itself?

While this is possible, it is probably still a problem you will need to deal with at some point. If you try to leave it, you could have a gross mess on your hands. At the very least you should stop the toilet from refilling and use a plunger to move the material down the drain. Then you should check that it is flushing normally. If the problem keeps happening, then reach out to us for a toilet service.

What should you do when the toilet is full and the water is rising?

This is the nightmare moment but relax. People think the toilet is just going to keep running and flood the whole room, but that isn’t how a toilet works. If it is clogged, the material is not going down the drain, but the toilet doesn’t know that so it fills the bowl as usual. The worst-case scenario is pretty bad though, and that’s because it can reach the top and then spill over so you’ll want to take steps to prevent that. Here are some options:

  • See that silver handle coming out of the wall under the toilet tank? That’s the water shut-off valve. Turn it to the right (righty tighty) to shut off the water that goes to the toilet. Unfortunately, sometimes these are hard to turn if they are corroded so your next option is to…
  • Take off the tank lid and push down on the flapper to cover the hole you’ll see in the bottom of the tank. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it, but you might want to open your tank and check all this out now so you know what to do. If that doesn’t work…
  • Gently lift the horizontal stick that has the rubber balloon attached. These are the lift rod and float ball parts of the flushing mechanism and they stop the water from flowing in as the balloon floats to the top. Lift up the balloon until you don’t hear the water and can see it has stopped flowing in. You’ll need to use a hook or a stick, or a helper, to keep it in the upright position until the toilet is working again.

It’s safe from overflowing now! But, you are still stuck with a clogged toilet which brings us to our next question:

What do you do when your toilet is clogged and full?

Step one (after stopping the water) is to grab your plunger. Pull up the whole toilet seat and then put the plunger directly over the hole. Yeah, it’s gross and you may need to move stuff around, but just get it over the hole, with the flange inside the hole. Now give a few quick forceful plunges and then pull it up and out of the hole. You’re just pushing down on the plunger stick which is forcing air into the drain and then pulling it up creates a vacuum so anything in the pipe is forced out, and there you go! The drain is unclogged and the material will flush. Just remember to turn the water back on and make sure it is working normally. If you need to use a snake to clear the clog, you can read about that on our blog, too. Just let a qualified and competent plumber help you as soon as you can because that is how you can get the problem solved for good. That’s what we are here for!

So, that’s it for today’s “Ask Pete”, but stay tuned for all kinds of plumbing help from your friendly neighborhood plumber in Mesa and Gilbert. If we can help alleviate your worries by doing a plumbing check, or if a troublesome toilet is clogging too often, we can help. Just reach out to us at 480-388-6093.

Have a Plumbing Question?