Even if you’re trying your best to be environmentally-conscious at home and save on water, there’s still a good chance you might be wasting it.
Cumulatively, average annually household leaks account for more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water (the equivalent of more than 250 loads of laundry). Your toilets are a big culprit too as up to 35% of household commodes tend to leak.
A clogged toilet can be one of the main reasons for those leaks and not addressing them can lead to future problems which might include costly plumbing repairs.
But how do you know if you have a clogged toilet? These three signs are usually dead giveaways:
- Slow Drainage: High pressure in your home’s drain pipes prevent water from draining like it should normally. A sink full of water is often a sure sign of a clogged drain and a slow draining toilet could be an indicator of a clogged toilet. It’s important to watch all your home’s drains to see if they are draining properly.
- Bad Smells: Odors, especially unwanted ones, are usually a dead giveaway to a plumbing problem like a clogged toilet. Waste builds up in pipes and the accumulation of bacteria and mildew can do quite a bit of damage to pipes, not to mention giving off a pungent, unpleasant odor.
- Gurgling: if you’re hearing gurgling and sputtering noises coming from your toilet after you flush, you might have a clogged toilet. When a toilet is clogged and it’s flush, the water that’s trying to drain is fighting against high pressure, which causes the noises you hear.
Just like your kitchen sink, the only things a toilet should be flushing are toilet paper and waste. One of the biggest culprits these days of clogged toilets are products like wipes that are marketed as “flushable.” These items may be called “flushable,” but most of them are not. To avoid clogged toilets, don’t flush these items down the toilet and don’t flush food or large amounts of toilet paper either. If you do these things, you might be dialing a plumbing service to fix the problem.
So now that you’ve discovered that you’ve got a clogged toilet, what do you do to fix it? Fortunately, if you’re tackling a clogged toilet yourself, there are many tools and methods you can use:
- Plungers: Plungers can be a quick, easy fix for a clogged toilet. It’s a relatively easy method, but it’s definitely got to be done properly. Place the plunger head against the toilet drain to create a seal so that no air gets through. Then push on the plunger (firmly) 5-10 times until the head inverts and the water begins to drain. If you’ve got other clogged drains, a plunger can be used to unclog these too.
- Snake Augers: if a toilet plunger isn’t doing the job on a clogged toilet, a snake auger might do the trick. This allows you to clean deep into piping to prevent clogging. Insert the auger and rotate the handle clockwise. Once you find the area with the problem, try to break it up. When the process is finished, run hot water through the toilet.
- Pulling it up If plungers and augers don’t help, you may just have to pull your toilet up. Keep in mind that this will take some time because you’ll need to unhook the water supply to the toilet and unscrew the toilet. By that point, once it’s pulled up, you should be able to finally fix your problem. When you put it back, get a new wax ring and new mounting bolts. You’ll want a nice, new, tight seal to prevent leaks.
To prevent future clogs from happening, keep your toilet seat down, don’t flush un-flushable things and avoid chemical solutions; they usually work slower or sometimes not at all.
Identifying and fixing a clogged toilet along with other home drainage problems will help cut down (and hopefully eliminate) leaks in your house. Studies have shown that 10% of homes leak as many as 90 gallons of water a day, so it’s important to address clogging issues immediately. If the problem is too severe, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your local professional plumbing services and plumbing companies.