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You are in Phoenix. We also have a Tucson site.

You are in Phoenix. We also have a Tucson site.

Banish the Blockage: Your Guide to Fixing a Chronic Clogging Toilet

Did you know that the average toilet flushes roughly five times a day? With so much traffic going through your pipes, it's easy to see how issues can arise. If you're struggling to deal with clogged toilets, we're happy to help. 

Read on for the reasons for such a problem, as well as the best applications for your clogged toilet remedy.

  • Why Does My Toilet Keep Clogging?

  • How to Fix a Clog

  • Beating the Clog


Why Does My Toilet Keep Clogging?

To begin, it's best to understand what's causing the clog. Toilets clog frequently, especially if you mistreat them. There are many steps you can take to avoid clogs provided you can predict the cause.

It's important to note that self-diagnosing your toilet isn't always the best case. What you may assume is a small clog could be a breaking pipe. Instead, hiring a plumber to come and investigate the issue is your best choice.

If you'd like to diagnose the problem before looking into local Phoenix plumbing services, here are some of the most common causes of a clog.

Foreign Matter

Toilets have a select few substances that are safely flushed down the pipes. When things that don't traditionally go into toilets are flushed, clogs can quickly occur. These objects are usually referred to as "foreign matter" or material.

Possibly the most common piece of foreign matter is "flushable" toilet wipes. These hydrated wipes are pleasant to use but are rarely as flushable as advertised.

Instead, they'll typically remain in one piece as they're flushed. Traditional toilet paper will quickly break up in water especially if the water is flowing or under pressure. Toilet wipes don't have such a feature, meaning the entire wipe will flow down your pipe.

These wipes easily snag or get stuck, swiftly causing a clog behind them. Flushing multiple wipes can cause the clog to grow exponentially in size.

Flushable wipes are far from the only foreign substance found in the average plumbing system. Other common items include:

  • Jewelry

  • Clothing scraps

  • Hygiene wipes, tampons, and pads

  • Coffee grounds and leaves from discarded drinks

  • Cotton makeup wipes 

  • Cotton swabs

Homes with young children sometimes have a wider variety of items tossed down the toilet. Do your best to minimize what foreign items enter your toilet's pipes.

Breaking Pipes

If you find yourself asking, "why does my toilet keep clogging?" several times a month, you can safely assume it's more than a one-off incident. In such a situation, there's likely a consistent issue with your pipes. Deteriorating pipes often lead to clogged toilets.

Older homes and toilets suffer from this issue more commonly. Rusting or otherwise corroded metal pipes have rougher surfaces which make it easier for passing matter to catch on. Hard water can also cause the pipes to deteriorate faster.

However, that isn't to say that newer pipes can't have such an issue. If the pipes are breaking, you're better off hiring a plumber. They can swiftly diagnose the problem and work to fix it with the tools and expertise the average DIY enthusiast lacks.

Low-Flow Toilets

One common installment in newer homes is low-flow toilets. As the name suggests, these are toilets that flush with a lower volume of water.

The purpose of these toilets is to conserve water. Toilets make up roughly 30% of an average home's indoor water consumption.

Older and more inefficient toilets can use as much as 6 gallons or more per flush. Newer low-flow toilets use as little as 2 gallons, with some models using even less.

In most toilets, a low flow doesn't pose a problem. But in some, the lower volume may not have enough force to push materials down the pipes.

If the problem persists, you may need to replace the toilet. Still, you shouldn't let this issue turn you away from low-flow toilets. Modern toilets on average use less water than their older counterparts.

Mineral Buildup

Finally, another frequent issue is mineral buildup in the pipes. No, this isn't the "minerals" you may expect to have built up in a sewage pipe.

Instead, these are the minerals that are found in nearly all sources of water. Your water carries dissolved minerals, including, but not limited to:

  • Sodium 

  • Magnesium

  • Iron

  • Calcium

  • Manganese

  • Potassium

  • Copper

  • Fluoride

Some of these minerals are additives to make the water healthier or safer to drink. Others are trace minerals that are harmless and difficult to remove. The USDA has a helpful graph to show other common minerals if you'd like to read more.

As your water flows, these minerals build up in the pipes over time. While this happens, the pipe essentially narrows from the minerals thickening. Once enough build-up has occurred, clogs are more frequent.

Some places deal with these issues more. If you live somewhere with hard water, minerals will gather quicker.

"Hard water" is a term for tap water that's richer in minerals than average. The common minerals to measure are calcium and magnesium, as they're the most plentiful.


How to Fix a Clog

Now that we can better understand what causes clogged toilets, what's the ideal clogged toilet remedy?

Unfortunately, clogs don’t have a one size fits all remedy. If your pipes are breaking, no amount of draining fluid is going to repair them. Similarly, if the issue is a few stubborn wet wipes, replacing your plumbing system is overkill.

We strongly suggest looking into local Phoenix plumbing services for a reliable and simple fix. Toilet repair can quickly become complex and working without knowledge can cause more damage than you'll repair. While strict budgets may make this sound less appealing, it's ultimately cheaper than needing to replace the entirety of the plumbing system from a lack of maintenance.

Here are some of the steps you can take to minimize a clog, as well as some ways to remove simple clogs.

Use Less Toilet Paper

Toilet paper typically breaks down after flushing, especially thinner brands. A 1-ply sheet of toilet paper doesn't stand much of a chance in your drain.

But if you're flushing a sizeable wad of 2-ply after every trip to the restroom, the paper will break down much slower. In some cases, it may not break down at all.

As such, you can reduce the likelihood of clogs by using less toilet paper. Switching to a thinner brand can often help as well.

Still, this issue is less frequent, assuming you aren't using a ludicrous amount of toilet paper. Don't sacrifice your comfort by opting for thin, rough, uncomfortable toilet paper. Instead, find ways to limit how much you use.

Perform Toilet Repair

For simple breaks, you can often fix the problem. A good example of this is a common clog near the front of the pipe.

If you've tried to flush too much toilet paper, it most likely won't make it far down the pipes. You can use a plunger to quickly suction the clog back up. From there, you can try to flush again or fish the paper out and dispose of it safely. 

If the clog is too deep down to plunge, use a toilet snake. Often also called a pipe snake or simply a snake, these are long tools that can fit and flex down the length of a pipe. Most of them are metal, but there are affordable plastic options as well.

Use the snake to fit down the pipe and poke at the clog. If the clog is toilet paper, you can break it up with the clog. In some cases, you can easily push the clog out of place, letting water flow again.

There are also snakes with spikes or points on the end to retrieve items. If you dropped a ring down the pipe, this is often preferable to when trying to retrieve your accessory.

Investigate the Toilet Trap

In most toilets, you can easily access the back of the toilet. Behind the toilet is a curving pipe or channel referred to as the toilet trap, or p-trap. These traps are meant to catch any items that can cause a serious clog.

For some toilets, it may be under. In this situation, you'd need to turn the water off to your toilet and move it aside to reach the pipe. We suggest having a plumber perform this task for you if you aren't comfortable doing so.

Access the trap and remove any blockages that may have occurred. If there are no clogs in the drain pipe or the p-trap, your issue is further down the pipelines. You can try to snake the pipe from here, but you'll likely need to hire a plumber.


Beating the Clog

If you find yourself asking, "why does my toilet keep clogging?" regularly, you have a persistent problem with your plumbing. Your best bet is to limit actions that can cause clogs, such as flushing foreign matter or too much toilet paper. Looking into local Phoenix plumbing services and hiring a plumber is the quickest fix to your clogged toilets.

For more information, be sure to contact us. We're happy to help you schedule your next session to clean your plumbing system.

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