Hi there- Hey I am kicking off a series of Guest Posts with Doug Harris a DIY and Home Repair Guy! Here is his blog DIY Home Repair & Maintenance. He has some great suggestions and ideas.
The following post is written by Doug. Details on how to follow him are located at the bottom of the post! This is a great article and I love the cute plungers! If there is such a thing!!
How to Troubleshoot and Fix a Toilet that Won’t Flush
A toilet that will not flush is never a fun situation. But generally, it shouldn’t warrant a call to the plumber. Most clogged toilets can be fixed with just a little bit of investigation. Let’s take a look at some recommended tips for troubleshooting the clog.
- Stop water flow into the bowl.
Especially when you think the toilet may be starting to overflow, the first step is to shut off the flow of water into the toilet bowl by closing the stopper. This is located inside the tank. Simply remove the tank lid and close the stopper. At this point, it would be wise to have a bucket and a pile of old rags nearby to absorb any water leakage.
2. Add hot water to the toilet bowl.
This little trick works to break down the materials causing the clog. Let the hot water stand in the bowl for several minutes before you begin to plunge.
3. Soften your plunger.
A plunger that has not been used in a while or is brand new will not be very pliable. Wet the plunger in warm water to ensure maximum flexibility.
4. Begin plunging.
A good plunger is your best tool in the battle to fix your toilet. Quality plungers form a tight seal inside the toilet bowl. Funnel-cup plungers are ideal in this instance. Take care to remove any air that has built up between the exit hole of the toilet and the plunger cup. A layer of petroleum jelly around the rim of the cup aids in forming an extra tight seal. It also coats the rubber and prevents cracking.
5. Check your plunging technique.
If the level of the water is quite high, use a bucket or cup to remove some of the excess water. A disposable cup is a convenient and easy means for this. Place the plunger directly over the toilet’s exit hole, forming an airtight seal. Focus on the upward pull as well as the downward push. Firm movements help to move things along. A deep, sloshing sound lets you know that your seal is airtight.
6. Administer a test flush.
Gently remove the plunger to see if the toilet flushes on its own. If not, try flushing it manually. If the water level rises beyond normal, the clog still remains. Once again, stop the flow of water, and then repeat all of the steps until the clog has been cleared.
7. Reassess your method.
If plunging has been unsuccessful, you may need a toilet auger. This snake-like tool is threaded through the exit hole to either destroy the blockage or retrieve it. If the toilet clears, plunge it several times to remove any remaining materials.
Cleaning Up Afterwards
Fixing a toilet is a messy task that can spread germs all over the bathroom area. Carefully clean and disinfect anywhere that the dirty water may have touched.
Clean and dry the plunger thoroughly before storing it. It should be kept out of the reach of small children and pets.
You can also help by being on the lookout for water backing up into your tub, sinks or showers. Do not allow children to play with small toys near the toilet and clean the toilet weekly with a toilet brush and cleaner. Take care to scrub the jets around the rim. If buildup exists, gently loosen it with a screwdriver. And, make an effort to use less toilet paper.
With these guidelines you can get your toilet up and running in little to no time. But every now and then, you may still need to call in the professional plumber. You might even consider getting a home warranty to help cover the costs of plumbing and other home repairs.
About the Author: Doug Harris is a home repair man, do-it-yourself’er, and general “thing” fixer. He’s been fixing things since he was 6 years old and is a passionate DIY advocate. Be sure to connect with him over at Google+ and on his blog DIY Home Repair & Maintenance for more tips on improving and renovating your home.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31418704@N02/3772224908/sizes/m/in/photostream/