A clogged toilet is the stuff of nightmares. What’s surprising though is the number of households where the toilet keeps blocking even after remedial action has been taken. And while it’s understandable that a majority of people are scared of messing around with their home’s plumbing system lest something goes wrong, there is a lot that one can do to prevent the toilet from getting clogged. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Which is why the best way to ensure human waste or sewage is sent packing as usual from your home is to maintain your toilet.
Regularly maintaining your toilet is important as it’s arguably the most used (or abused?) fixture in your house and can cost a bomb in repairs if something goes wrong. Not to mention how messy and icky the whole thing can get. The tips outlined below help you avert such an eventuality and keep your toilet flushing merrily for years to come.
Use a mild cleaning agent to regularly clean your toilet
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Baking soda, soap, or even vinegar are some good easily available mild toilet drain cleaner options you can consider. Regular cleaning using such toilet flush cleaners keeps your toilet hygienic and better-smelling. A clean toilet also puts you in a better position to spot any problems (like a leak) with its plumbing.
Avoid harsh chemical cleaning agents to unblock your toilet
Using a chemical-based cleaner can get you mixed reactions from plumbers; while some advocate it, others are vociferously against it. That said, it’s best to avoid them as they can cause you harm in case of contact with skin or inhalation. Moreover, some of these products can damage fixtures or pipes that are a decade or older.
Check your toilet’s internal mechanisms
Doing this at an interval of about six months is an excellent way to ensure all components are working well and in top shape. It’s so simple that anyone in your family can do it. All you need to do is lift the tank’s lid up before flushing the toilet. Now watch if every component is functioning as it should; like if the fill valve pauses at the right water level or if the flapper seals as it should. A toilet that flushes the way it’s supposed to has a low chance of suffering a blockage.
Avoid placing a brick in the tank to save water
Modern toilets are exceptionally frugal when it comes to using water during a flush. Unless yours is really old (of mid-90s or earlier vintage), a toilet uses no more than 1.6 gallons, or just over 6 litres, of water per flush. Anything lesser and sewage systems won’t be able to move all the waste as effectively. Loading a brick in the cistern to save usage of water can cause the brick to disintegrate and lead to a blocked toilet.
Teach your children how to use the toilet the right way
Educating kids on how to use a toilet the right way is easiest when they are potty trained. That said, you can educate even older children on what to flush and what not to flush. Helping them understand their toilet paper usage and how to clean the toilet in the right way can go a long way in preventing blockages. By doing so, you are also instilling life skills in your children that will hold them in good stead once they move out on their own.
Revaluate your toilet paper usage
There are as many types of toilet paper as people. Okay, that might be an exaggeration but you get the point, right? And even though you may prefer the feel of your cushy super-soft toilet paper, chances are that your septic or sewage system doesn’t (especially the septic system which has enough stuff to degrade already without having to deal with imperishable toilet paper as well). This is a bigger problem with homes that connect to the municipal line through a lateral line as the toilet paper blocks sewage pipes, thus leading to backups.
Buy and learn the uses of a flange plunger
Probably the cheapest toilet unblocker of all, most people are surprised what this seemingly ancient tool can do along with a bucket of steaming hot water. While keeping an auger or drain snake at hand can be useful, the plunger would prove itself more than adequate for the vast majority of toilet blockages.
Get professional help when it’s needed
Your natural inclination towards DIY notwithstanding, remember that some tasks are just too complicated to manage on your own. If the toilet gets blocked repeatedly or if you see brown or brackish water backing up into the sink or the shower every time you flush, it’s a sign of something serious and needs proper attention from a professional plumber.
The answer to how to unclog a toilet lies in maintaining it regularly. These are run of the mill things that you can teach everyone in your family. Remember, toilets are sturdy and durable devices and can last a lifetime (yes the porcelain too) if cared for well.