Your toilet is perhaps the most-used fixture in your home. Oftentimes, we take for granted that our toilet and plumbing system work.
While the occasional clog is no big deal, it’s a big problem when you’re constantly dealing with a backed up toilet. This is not only a hassle and disruption for you, but it can indicate more serious problems with your toilet, household habits, or sewer system.
It’s important to determine the underlying cause of your toilet’s repeating clogging and have it repaired. Some problems you can fix on your own, while others may require a professional plumber’s help.
Here are some of the most common reasons your toilet keeps getting clogged and what you can do about them.
You Keep Flushing the Wrong Things
One of the main reasons your toilet clogs is because things are flushed that shouldn’t be. Sometimes, this is the result of an overzealous and curious child treating the toilet as a play area. However, you could be just as guilty of creating clogs.
How? By flushing materials that aren’t actually flushable. Baby wipes, menstrual products, tissues, cotton swabs, and other materials are often flushed – they may even say “flushable” – but that doesn’t mean they’re safe for your toilet.
The only things that should go in a toilet are toilet paper and waste. This may be a difficult habit to break, but it’ll save you time, hassle, and repair costs.
You can also keep a small bathroom trash with a lid near your toilet, so your family members can conveniently and discreetly dispose of non-flushable materials. Also, make sure the trash has a lid so curious pets can’t find their way in.
If you do have a clog from non-flushable materials, you may be able to correct it with a toilet plunger. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to contact a professional plumber to bust up the clog and prevent future problems.
You Have a Damaged Main Sewer Line
Your main sewer line is a line that exits your house and runs underground to the septic tank or municipal sewer system. This line is intentionally installed underground to protect it from the elements. Despite this, the sewer line is susceptible to damage from tree roots, which can puncture it.
If your sewer line is damaged by tree roots, an earthquake, or another cause, it can disrupt or fully block the flow to the septic tank or municipal sewer system. The puncture can allow dirt, debris, and other materials to enter the line, causing issues with drainage.
Just be prepared. The plumber may need to dig through your yard to replace or fix the sewer line. It’s also important to keep in mind that
You’re Using Too Much Toilet Paper
We’re all guilty of excessive toilet paper use, but it’s a bad habit for your toilet. While toilet paper is flushable, we often use too much and cause frequent toilet clogs. All that excess material goes down your toilet, leading to clogs that build up over time.
The culprit could also be the type of toilet paper. Thick, extra-soft, and multi-ply toilet paper doesn’t dissolve as well as single-ply toilet paper. Combined with excessive use, this can do major damage to your toilet and sewer system.
— Jessi Davin (@jessithebuckeye) March 16, 2020
If you think this is the cause of your toilet problems, get together with your household to explain the importance of using toilet paper sparingly. You should only need a few squares to get the job done. On top of that, you can tell family members that they can dispose of all that extra toilet paper in the trash can. You may also want to consider replacing your current toilet paper with single-ply toilet paper.
Your S-Trap Is Clogged
Clogs in the S-trap are a common cause of toilet problems. This is the S-shaped pipe that travels from the floor to the toilet bowl, which is responsible for containing the odorous sewer gasses. Many toilet designs have a visible S-trap, but some may use a P-shaped trap or have a hidden trap. They all serve the same function.
When the trap becomes clogged, you’re likely to notice. S-trap clogs prevent the toilet from functioning at all until they’re unblocked. A partial blockage can be more insidious, however. When the drain has a partial blockage, the toilet may function like normal while the clog continues to build inside.
You’re more likely to see a clogged S-trap on older toilets. Modern systems all use P-traps.