As a leading plumber in Ripley, Belper & Alfreton, Derbyshire, we're often called out to a blocked toilet, so we thought we'd put together a list of the most common causes of toilet blockages.
You never find out a toilet is blocked until it's too late and the issues can be tricky to address because it's not always the obvious that has caused a blockage in your loo.
The good news is that most blockages can be avoided with actions beforehand and those that can't can usually be cleared with just a little plunging. There are, however, some instances when you're just going to need a plumber.
Here's our list of the most common causes of blocked toilets:
1. You've Flushed Something You Shouldn't Have!
This is the most common cause of a toilet blockage. Your toilet is designed for the disposal of human waste and toilet paper. Any time you flush anything else you're taking the risk that it will clog your toilet. So things like baby wipes, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, cotton buds or nappies being flushed always presents the danger of a blockage.
It's also a good idea to talk to children about what is and isn't suitable to flush down the toilet so that they aren't tempted to flush any of the above, or worse!
2. Your Flush Valve Seal Is Ineffective
If you take off the lid of your tank you'll see a round rubber gasket at the bottom. This is the flush valve seal and it's what opens during a flush to let water from the tank into the toilet bowl. If it's not opening properly or fully then your flush may not be strong enough, which can be the cause of blockages simply because the water flow isn't strong enough to push the toilet contents far enough down the drain pipe.
Fortunately, this is a nice, easy fix. The valve will be attached to a flush arm that has attached an adjustable chain. If you shorten the chain and test the flush, you should find that it's now letter the required amount of water through.
3. Jams In The Trap
Each and every drainpipe has a trap. It's a u-shaped bend in the pipe that stays full of water. It may sound simple, but it's really important that water is there as it acts as a barrier against smells from the sewer that would otherwise come into your home. Unfortunately, the shape of the u-bend means that it's also a prime location for a clog to occur, and it doesn't have to be anything you shouldn't have put down the toilet. Even a build up of toilet paper can cause a clog in the trap.
4. Economic Flush Toilets
As people are wanting to become more and more environmentally friendly, so they have invested in low flow or economic flush toilets. The modern versions of these toilets are great, but the flushes on the earlier ones weren't anywhere near as powerful. The problem here is the same as the one mentioned with earlier with the flush valve in that these systems may not have the power to properly push the toilet contents through the pipe.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do about this problem in these types of toilets, so if it's happening on a regular basis, it might be time to get a new loo!
5. Problems Further Down
If the issue with your toilet doesn't turn out to be one of the ones mentioned above, then it's possible the issue may be further down the pipework, in the sewer line. This is pretty much the worst case scenario because if the problem is here then fixing it often involves digging up the garden or around the house, which is messy and takes several hours work.
Issues with sewer pipes aren't always caused by blockages from the inside either! Tree roots can be a major problem. They can put pressure on pipes over time and even crack and grow through them.
The only way to find out what's going on in the pipes outside is to call a plumber and have a camera inspection done.
So there you have it, the major causes of blocked toilets. Lots of times you can fix the issue easily yourself, but if you can't you can always call Leeva Plumbing and Heating on (01773) 749 713.