Your toilet may start to drain slowly or suddenly remain completely filled with fetid water. However, you must keep a calm head and avoid making any sudden moves such as trying to flush the toilet. This will likely lead to an overflow and a nasty mess all over your bathroom floor.
There are several options for dealing with a slow or stopped toilet. You can also perform actions to keep the toilet drain clear as well. Clearing a clogged toilet is not for the timid or those with weak stomachs, so if you're not up to the job, call in a professional plumber.
If you want to give it a try, here are a few actions that you can take on your own.
Take the Matter Into Your Own Hands
You should first determine if a clogging agent in lodged within the trap beneath your toilet drain opening. The trap under the toilet is constructed in a modified curved shape for two important but distinct purposes.
The curved shape allows the trap to remain filled with water at all times. The shape of the trap and the water within acts to slow the descent of clogging agents from traveling farther into the drain and sewer lines. This allows them to be removed at a more accessible point in the drain system. The water in the trap also acts to block sewer gases from entering the home through the toilet drain.
Your first order of action will be to don a pair of long rubber gloves and to reach into the drain opening to determine if the clogging agent is just out of sight but within reach of your grasp. This will require a little bit of contortion of your body because you will need to place your gloved hand inside the drain and reach upward to follow the shape of the trap.
You should attempt to pull out, not push through, any solid object that may be lodged in the accessible area of the trap. Pushing it along will lodge it deeper into the curve of the trap. If your hand search proves fruitless, it's time for the plunger.
Take a Plunger
You'll need a toilet plunger rather than a concave-shaped sink and tub plunger. A toilet plunger has a modified business end that extends and reduces in size to accommodate the shape of a toilet bowl drain.
You have a choice of a standard plunger, which is the old cup on a short broomstick model, or a pump-style plunger, which resembles a bicycle air pump in both use and appearance.
Both models are equally effective. The standard plunger requires more shoulder and arm endurance as you push it up and down in rapid succession. Pump style plungers are easier on the arms and shoulders but may tend to spray foul water upward through the top of the air piston as the pump handle is vigorously withdrawn in the heat of battle.
The most important factor in plunging the toilet is maintaining a tight seal against the drain during the entire process. The second most important factor is to refrain from flushing the toilet when the water level begins to recede. Wait until the bowl is nearly empty of water before attempting a flush.
If plunging fails, will need to augment your efforts with a toilet auger.
Take a Toilet Auger to It
A toilet auger consists of a flexible metal cable partially encased in a hard tube. The cable has a barbed plastic tip that is used to snag clogs on one end and a perpendicular handle at the other end.
The handle is pulled outward until only the tip of the cable is exposed beyond the end of the tube, then the end of the tube is placed at the toilet drain opening. The tip of the cable is fed into the drain trap as the handle is twisted to snag anything within reach.
If the toilet auger meets with no success, it's time to call a plumber. If you're in the Midland, Texas, area, contact Randy's Rooter & Plumbing LLC. We'll take over from there.