Toilet stoppages have been around since we quit using out houses. The technology of the toilet has changed drastically, starting with a primitive design of a water tank mounted high up on the wall and a toilet bowl mounted on the floor. Now we have luxury toilets, heated toilet seats, automatic flushing, handicap, water savers, and on and on it goes. With all these advancements we haven't been able to get away from toilet stoppages and even be going backwards in some ways as the designs try to flush with less and less water. So how can you figure out weather your toilet is plugged, or just not working properly or if it is a sewer blockage?
The easiest way to know if the problem is a sewer pipe block or the toilet itself is the symptoms. If you have toilet water coming up in your bath tub or shower or any other drain, or if it's coming out of a pipe in the ground it is not a toilet blockage but a sewer main clog. For more info on sewer main clogs click here. If everything else seems to be working fine and the toilet is the only thing not working right it is probably a toilet block.
What can I do to try to fix it myself? A plunger can be very effective in clearing some blockages. There are two common styles of plungers pictured below. The one you will need is the one labeled toilet plunger.

Toilet Plunging Instructions-
1. Put the plunger with the rubber bulb end into the toilet bowl.
2. Try to get the water in the bowl up to about 1" before overflowing the bowl.
3. With the plunger under the water level slowly push down a couple times until all the air is out of the bulb and make sure not to pull the plunger up above the water level.
4. Protect your face, clothes, carpet, and whatever you can think of from what may happen next (water splashing out of the toilet bowl).
5. Guide the bulb end of the plunger over the large opening at the bottom of the toilet that all the water goes out. Cover this as much as you can with the plunger.
6. Push down and up vigorously keeping the plunger under water and on the toilet opening for 30 to 60 seconds pushing up and down the whole time.
7. Often during that time you will see the water start to drain out. High 5 to you! You just saved some money! If not you can try another couple times but if it doesn't work by the third try you may need professional help.
8. Put the plunger in a plastic bag or bucket and take it outside for cleaning or disposal (your call) just try not to drip on the carpet or floor (that's nasty).

Testing the toilet after plunging- Of course you don't want someone to use it and have it fail, especially if that person is a guest. Assuming you flushed it with just water and it works fine wait until the toilet is completely done refilling then test as follows. A really good test is to take an 8 oz. coffee cup and wad up toilet paper into it until it is full, then take that amount of paper and throw it into the toilet bowl and flush it. making sure the toilet completely refills each time repeat this 3 more times. If the toilet flushes with the water then plugs with the paper test there is probably a foreign object in the toilet. If it flushed fine with the paper then you're done (except the dreaded clean up).

How do I get a foreign object (toy, tooth brush, pen, ect.) out of my toilet? There are basically three ways that professional plumbers do this.
1. Toilet snake or auger- that is a small auger usually only long enough to just get through the toilet (about4'). The plumber will put the hand turned auger into the toilet and attempt to get the auger to get stuck on the foreign object then tug the auger out thus pulling the auger and the object out.
2. Remove the toilet and attempt to grab the object with pliers or some tool if it can be seen and accessed.
3. Lastly the toilet can be taken outside, and then water can be run backwards through the toilet attempting to flush the object back out the way it went in. Toilet are heavy and awkward, they break very easily and shatter like glass (cut like glass also) so be very careful if you attempt this yourself.

If you tried this and were unable to resolve the problem or you read this and thought " forget it I'm not doing that" we will be happy to come out and help you out. Call now to get help!
Toilet Stoppages
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Thrifty Plumbing and Heating
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Lake Arrowhead, Ca. 92352
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