Do I Need a Plumber to Unclog a Slow-Draining Toilet?

Do I Need a Plumber to Unclog a Slow-Draining Toilet?

A slow-draining toilet is inconvenient but can often be resolved without calling a plumber. There are a few potential causes. Depending on the source of the issue, unclogging a toilet may require just a simple home remedy. Or, you may need a technician who’s experienced in plumbing and sewage line repair. We’ll look at some possible DIY solutions and when your best option is to call a trustworthy local plumber.

How to Unclog a Slow-Draining Toilet

The first step is to check why your toilet has slow drainage. Common reasons include a low water level in the tank, a clog in the drain pipe, and mineral buildup on the toilet rim. If there isn’t any damage or the clog isn’t that deep, you should be able to get the toilet to flush properly. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the most common ways to handle the situation.

Adjust the Water Level

A low water level in the tank reduces your toilet’s flushing power. There won’t be enough force to provide a good flush. The water level should be about a half-inch below the overflow pipe for optimal flushing. You can adjust it by removing the tank lid and accessing the flush mechanism (how you proceed depends on your toilet’s design).

Your options include:

  • Turn the water valve knob clockwise. 
  • To adjust a ball-and-arm float, turn the screw connecting it to the fill valve.
  • Raise or lower the clip on a cylinder float’s adjustment stem.

Be careful not to raise the water level too high. The toilet can overflow or water may constantly run through the fixture, increasing your water bill.

Unclog the Drain

If you believe the drain pipe is clogged, pour water into the bowl. The water level inside shouldn’t rise quickly; if it does, try the following methods to unclog the drain line:

  • Plunger: Place the plunger below the water line and force it up and down. The suction can dislodge whatever is blocking the pipe and causing a slow-draining toilet.
  • Wire Hanger: Straighten the metal wire. Wrap one end around your index finger and push the wire into the drain. When there’s resistance, jiggle and twist the wire to break up the clog, and then pull the wire out.
  • Plumbing Snake: A more technical tool, a plumbing snake can be purchased at a hardware store. Most snakes have a coil at the end and a long handle on the other side. Place the coil into the drain and turn the handle until you feel resistance; then pull the snake out and try to flush.
  • Home Remedies: Pour boiling water into the bowl. Then add liquid soap and wait 15 minutes. Try to flush the toilet again. Other mixtures you can try include baking soda and vinegar; let the mixture sit for 20 minutes to break up the clog. You can also try baking soda and hot water. Enzyme cleaning products, which are more expensive, can break down solids and grease overnight.

Clean the Rim/Jet Holes

Mineral deposits on the jet holes along the toilet rim can reduce water pressure or block flow entirely. To clean them, you can use a toilet bowl cleaner and brush. You can also use bleach and water, while vinegar is less harsh and can kill bacteria. To clean the rim jets manually, use a wire or screwdriver to poke at them and scrape away any debris.

*Avoid using chemical drain cleaners. They’re not designed for toilets and can cause serious damage.

Should I Pour Water Into the Toilet When Flushing?

Pour the water in slowly for a smooth flush. Newer toilets only need 1 to 2 gallons of water. You may need 3 to 5 gallons of water if you have an older toilet. After a clog, use just 1 gallon of water to make sure the drainpipe is clear.

How Much Water Should Be in a Toilet Bowl?

A toilet bowl should normally be about halfway full. This keeps the P-trap sealed so sewer gases don’t back up through your toilet. If the water level is higher or lower, adjust it or call a plumber to perform repairs.

When Should I Call a Plumber?

Call a plumber if none of the above methods fix your slow-draining toilet. The reasons can range from a blockage between the tank and the bowl to a clog in the sewer line. Also, look for damage to the flush mechanism. While it’s possible to repair or replace components, proceed with caution if you’re not good with repairs. A plumber can fix your toilet quickly and avoid any mishaps, saving you time and money.

Call Hoover to Fix Your Slow-Draining Toilet

Hoover provides high-quality plumbing and sewer line repair services in Clinton Township and Southeast Michigan. Whether the problem is in the toilet or involves a drainpipe, trap, branch drain line, or main drain line (or clogged sewer main), we quickly diagnose and repair it. We can often complete sewer line repairs without digging. If you have a slow-draining toilet, let us get to the bottom of it and restore normal flushing power. Call (586) 261-8374 today.

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