Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging And How To Fix It

Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging And How To Fix It

Charlie Hardcastle

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It’s safe to say that your toilet is a fairly vital component of your home. You, and anyone else who may live with you, are going to be using it at really a minimum of once a day.

It’s probably at the very top of the list of things you don’t want to break in your house.

The very last thing anyone wants is to be absolutely desperate for the toilet, about to burst, to then find that the toilet is clogged up and unusable.

At the very least it’s going to be seriously uncomfortable, and at worst it’s going to be pretty embarrassing.

This happening just once is enough to frustrate any homeowner, but it can be a seriously irritating and stressful problem if it happens frequently.  

Why Does Your Toilet Keep Blocking? 

Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging And How To Fix It

If your lavatory clogs often, you’re going to want to find out what your issue is as soon as possible, especially if you’re having to call out a plumber each time it happens as this can get rather expensive.

So, why exactly is your toilet continuously clogging? There’s a good chance that there is a solid partial clog stuck in your drainpipe or toilet trap.

This restricts the water from being able to flush away the contents of the toilet when you’re done.

Blocks like this can also happen if you’re flushing things down the toilet that you really shouldn’t be. 

In fact, there are quite a few different reasons why your toilet may be clogged.

I’ll list them all below and hopefully, you’ll be able to spot the offending action for your circumstance.

  • The toilet trap/drain line is clogged.
  • The toilet flapper won’t open fully. 
  • There’s a low water level in the tank.
  • You have a low-flow toilet. 
  • The vent stack is clogged up. 
  • You or your family suffers from chronic constipation. 
  • You have a weak flushing toilet. 

For your toilet to flush correctly without it clogging, it needs a large amount of water to be poured into the bowl as quickly as possible.

More water in a shorter time will produce a better flush.

If your toilet flushes slowly anyway, and then you also factor in a partial clog, it’s going to clog repeatedly because there isn’t enough water being produced quickly enough to push the clog through the drainpipe and so the water cannot pass through effectively. 

How Do You Fix A Constantly Clogging Toilet?

Okay, so you’ve identified the problem, but how do you go about fixing it? Well, it will all depend on the reason why the toilet is blocked.

The issue at hand will change which way you deal with the problem.

Since there are so many different options here, I’m going to break this down into sections as there simply isn’t a universal solution for every problem.

Let’s have a look at some different problems that may occur and how to solve them. 

Stop Flushing Items That Aren’t Flushable

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is flushing things down the toilet thinking it’ll be fine.

Just because it disappears once you flush doesn’t mean that it is gone for good.

Flushing things that you’re not meant to flush is going to cause them to get stuck and cause a clog.

Human waste and toilet roll are really the only things that should be going into your toilet – and even then overdo it on the toilet roll and you can still clog the toilet. 

Here’s a list of common toilet cloggers. Keep these away from your toilet at all costs. 

  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Sanitary Items (tampons and pads)
  • Condoms 
  • Paper towels
  • Toys (children drop toys in the toilet more often than you’d think)
  • Toothbrushes 
  • Dental floss 

These are all common household items that for the most part you’ll find in your bathroom.

However just because they’re in the same room as you’re toilet doesn’t mean they should be going anywhere near it. 

Now there are lots of ways to avoid these types of items being flushed down the toilet.

First off, I would always advise that your speak to any members of the household just to make sure that everyone is aware of the damage that they could unknowingly be causing.

Secondly, I would suggest that you make sure that there is a trash can in your bathroom so that items such as sanitary towels don’t end up being flushed. 

Unclog Your Toilet Drain

Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging And How To Fix It

A toilet trap is shaped like the letter ‘S.’ You will find the trap in between the bowl and the drainpipe.

There is a specific purpose to this design, firstly it acts as an anti-clog technique to try and stop items that do enter the bowl from blocking the drain further down at an unreachable spot. 

Secondly, the ‘S’ design means that a tiny bit of water is held in the trap. Why is that helpful?

It stops the fairly unpleasant gases from the sewer rising up through the drain and into your bathroom and house.

If you’ve ever smelt a sewer, you’ll be ever-thankful for this feature. 

Thankfully, because of this ‘S’ design, retrieving items that may have fallen down is relatively easy. 

Now, keep in mind that when the trap is completely clogged up by whatever is stuck down there, it won’t be able to drain any water.

This is what can cause the water to rise in your toilet when it’s clogged and it can even cause it to overflow.

If it’s only partially clogged, the water will rise but then drain back down very slowly, but you’ll notice that the toilet still won’t actually flush. 

Although you may not think it, it is actually easier to unclog a fully blocked toilet over a partially blocked one.

Let’s use a toothbrush as an example of a partial clog.

If you plunge into the toilet, you may have a temporary solution, but until you actually remove the toothbrush, the toilet will start clogging up again. 

Plungers are typically the easiest way to clear a toilet and get it to flush, but if you try this and it doesn’t do the job, you’re going to want to grab the auger.

While the auger may be slightly more effort to use, snaking it down the toilet does give you the option to pull out any partially stuck items. 

But it’s not just foreign items being dropped into your toilet that can cause toilet trap issues.

A calcium build-up caused by hard water can also decrease the internal diameter of the trap and cause blockages. So you may need to check this too. 

Chronic Constipation Treatment 

Chronic constipation can be an incredibly uncomfortable and deliberating illness so if you have this issue you should really be seeking medical advice regardless.

But seeking treatment for chronic constipation is also a way to save your toilet from clogging. 

Those who suffer from chronic constipation have a tendency to often clog up a toilet after use.

Chronic constipation comes from the large intestines overstretching, this is called megacolon.

Because the intestines have stretched out and your colon has become enlarged, essentially you can store more than the average person in it, so when it comes time to excrete it out, it’s larger than most and thus clogs the toilet. 

If you do suffer from this condition, keeping hydrated and consuming food high in fiber will help to soften what is being stored in your colon which will help clock the toilet less.

Listening to your body and going exactly when nature calls will also be beneficial. 

Upgrade From A Low-Flow Toilet

To put it simply, you need to upgrade older low-flow toilets if they keep clogging.

Honestly, just make the switch and notice the difference for yourself. 

The really older designed toilets used to flush around 3 gallons of water with each flush and so clogging was never really an issue.

But as time progressed and the population increased, environmental factors began to become more and more important. 

Low-Flow toilets were brought in to try and help conserve water, so they were well-intentioned.

However, they pretty much halved the amount of water per flush to just 1.6 gallons a flush.   

The first generation of this design needed a fair bit of work, including redesigning the flush valves, trapway, and siphon jets.

This is because the lack of water made toilet clogging a lot more common.

Newer generation designs have certainly improved, but if you were unlucky enough to purchase the very first generation, then you’re going to need to replace it. If not now, then certainly down the line. 

Solve Slow-Flushing Issues

Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging And How To Fix It

As mentioned earlier, it’s not just about the quantity of water that comes into your toilet bowl, but how fast that water comes.

If you want a powerful flush that’s going to ensure no clogging, you need a sufficient amount of water entering the bowl in as little as a few seconds. 

If your toilet doesn’t do this, and the water trickles slowly into the bowl, the siphon component of your toilet will most likely break which in turn will clog the toilet. 

There are several problems that result in your toilet flushing slowly. 

  • The rim hole jets are clogged.
  • The Toilet flapper lift chain is loose. 
  • The water level in the tank is too low. 
  • The toilet vent is clogged

You’ll want to check that all these factors are working correctly to ensure a faster flush. 

Unclog The Plumbing Vent

Usually, a vent stack will run from your toilet drain up to the roof of your home. This is to let the sewer gases pass from the drain to the outdoors.

This ensures the toilet’s siphoning measure is more powerful and so won’t clog (or at least won’t clog as often.)

If this vent gets clogged the air can’t pass through and becomes trapped as negative air pressure.

This means that the air has no choice but to make its way back towards your toilet.

It’s fairly easy to tell if this is happening as you should be able to hear a bubbling gurgling noise coming from the toilet.

And if the sound doesn’t tip you off, the very unpleasant sewer smell definitely will. 

To solve this you’re going to need to grab your ladders and a hose and get climbing up to the roof.

You’ll need another set of hands to turn on the water, and then you’ll need to pour it down the vent stack. 

Unclog The Sewer Line

Occasionally issues can be bigger than just your toilet itself. If the city sewer line is clogged, you’re also going to notice some problems.

Of course, this isn’t a job that you can fix yourself. 

What I’d suggest in this situation would be to check with neighbors on the street to find out if they are also experiencing similar problems.

If they are, you may need to let the relevant local authorities know so they can set to fixing the problem.

Final Thoughts

Toilets that clog are definitely fixable, however, it is so much easier to prevent the clogs rather than fix them.

So always ensure that you use your toilet correctly, not flushing items down the drain other than waste and toilet paper. 

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