One of the really great things about home ownership is sometimes plumbing problems happen and you don’t know what to do about them. Sometimes you can resolve an issue yourself, without needing to call the plumber. But sometimes you really are going to need professional help with the situation. This week, we’re going to look at a real common scenario – a toilet that keeps backing up.
What Makes the Toilet Back Up?
In a perfect world, you flush the toilet, the water and waste material disappears down the drain. You never have to think about it again. Real life, sometimes you flush the toilet and only some water and waste material is removed. Sometimes nothing happens at all. Sometimes, terrifyingly, the toilet fills up with additional water and floods over onto the floor – gross, unsanitary, and very not fun.
Why is this happening? Toilets back up because there’s something in the drain pipe that’s not letting the water and waste material get by. In other words, a clog. Clogs occur because waste material clings to the inside of pipes and eventually builds up to problematic levels. Sometimes too the issue is inappropriate things being flushed down the toilet, such as baby diapers or hand towels.
Do You Need a Plumber to Fix a Clogged Toilet?
Maybe. It is possible that you’ll be able to fix a clogged toilet on your own. This isn’t the most pleasant of jobs, and you’re going to want to wear some gloves and clean up thoroughly afterward. You’re going to need a plunger, which is available at big box stores in the housewares department as well as in hardware stores and online. Using the plunger, you may be able to dislodge the clog to the point that the toilet will flush again.
If the plunger doesn’t work, the next realistic step is to have your local plumber come by to fix the problem. Sewer drain cleaning eliminates clogs large and small from your pipes without causing any damage. Most homes need their drains cleaned every two to three years, just to keep things running smoothly.
If you can get the plunger to work, but your toilet keeps clogging up on a fairly regular basis, you’re going to want to talk to your local plumber. It may be a larger issue, such as tree roots growing into your septic drain pipes. While this isn’t great news to hear, it is a situation where you want to discover it sooner rather than later, so the cost of fixing the problem can be contained.