Why Do My Toilets Keep Clogging?
A clogged toilet is bad enough, but if your toilet keeps getting clogged - well that can be just downright annoying and maybe expensive.
So, why do your toilets keep getting clogged? There are 9 reasons we can list:
- Fill Valve Issues
- You have older low flow toilets
- You (or someone) is flushing items that shouldn't be flushed
- You (or someone) is using the wrong kind of toilet paper or too much of it
- Your toilet trap is clogged
- Your pipes may be clogged
- There may be a problem with your sewage lines
- There's a problem with your plumbing vent
- There's some hard water build up
Of course - your problem could be just one of these 9 or several. Let's go over each on in a little more detail.
Fill Valve Issues
When you flush your toilet, water goes into the Fill Valve from the bottom and travels through the Fill Tube. The toilet tank then then gradually begins to fill up with water and raises a float attached to the Fill Valve.
Once the float reaches the top, it pushes down on a diaphragm inside the Fill Valve which stops the water. The tank is now refilled with water.
If your fill valve is not working properly, your tank won't have enough water and that means that you won't get the right amount of pressure in your flush to properly flush the contents of your toilet bowl.
Note: You could also have a worn out diaphragm inside the Fill Valve and simply replacing that may fix the problem.
The solution to fill valve issues is to replace the fill valve part or the diaphragm part.
Old Low Flow Toilets
The average lifespan of a toilet is 10 - 15 years. After that - it's considered old and that may mean that it may soon be time to think about replacing it.
But if your toilet is an older model of a low flow toilet - then it will most likely be the main reason that it keeps getting clogged. These older models were manufactured around 1995.
The reason is that these older models do not have sufficient amount of pressure that is consistently needed to push the contents of your toilet through the trap and down the drain.
As a result - waste material remains stuck somewhere along the line and begins to form a clog.
Replace the toilet.
Flushing Non-Flushable Items
There are many items that can cause a toilet to clog if they are flushed.
- Small Toys
- Facial Tissues
- Paper Towels
- Dental Floss
- Baby Wipes
- Coffee Grounds
- Adhesive Bandages
- Kitty Litter
- Cotton Balls
- Cotton Swabs
- Cigarette Butts
- Fat Oil and Grease (never pours this down a toilet or drain)
If you (or someone in your household) is in the habit of flushing any one of these items down your toilet then it makes perfect sense that your toilet is continuously getting clogged.
Of course the solution is to stop doing that!
Make it a point to speak to everyone in the household, perhaps post this list of items by your toilets as a reminder of what NOT to flush.
Excessive or Improper Use Of Toilet Paper
Another very common reason that toilets get clogged so often has to do with toilet paper.
Either the wrong kind of toilet paper is being used or just too much toilet paper is being used.
What is the wrong kind of toilet paper?
Some 2-ply toilet paper don't dissolve very well so they can easily get stuck somewhere along the drain line and after some time grow from a small blob to a big clog.
Toilet paper that doesn’t dissolve just sits in a clump in your plumbing. And if it gets caught on something like a jagged edge or corner in your pipes it will stay there for a longggg time, allowing more and more paper to get stuck and caught on it, creating, eventually a big mass of undissolved toilet paper blocking your sewer line. - theartofdoingstuff.com
The best type of toilet paper to use (the ones that dissolve almost to nothing) are ones that are made with 100% recycled paper.
How much toilet paper is too much?
The clogging issue related to toilet paper can also occur if the user is trying to flush away large wads of toilet paper.
But what does that mean? How much is too much and how much should be used?
The average person uses about 8 or 9 sheets per wipe so if you are using more than that - then you are using too much.
Simply cut down the number of sheets that you use and of course, instruct other household members to do the same.
Just knowing how much the average person uses and being aware of how much you are tearing off the roll can help to stop the habit of using too much.
Clogged Toilet Trap
The S-Shaped toilet trap that is located between your toilet bowl and your drain line is an easy spot for any of the items we've mentioned above like non-flushable items and large wads of toilet paper are flushed down the toilet.
The purpose of the toilet trap is to stop items from going down to the drain line and causing a clog there. Of course, that means that the clog will occur in the toilet trap.
Use a plunger to relieve the blockage from the toilet trap. If the plunger does not work - you can try using a snake (i.e. toilet auger) to dislodge the item that is causing the clog.
The best types of plungers are the ones with a flange (they honestly work the best). Some people use the plunger and the clog is released, some people flush the toilet and immediately (I mean immediately!) begin plunging and this removes the obstruction.
A toilet auger is a flexible rod that has a curved end. Clogs found in the traps of toilets are removed with an auger. It's also known as Drain Snakes and they are very common tools that plumbers and experienced (and handy) homeowners have in their toolboxes. It's most often used if a toilet plunger doesn't work. The auger is the second tool of choice to unclog toilet blockages.
The toilet trap is not the only place that a clog could occur - the pipes beyond that could also be where a clog develops.
Again - the culprit is usually a non-flushable item or large wads of toilet paper.
To resolve this you could try using a plunger or drain snake as we mention above but if those solutions do not work, we recommend that you contact a professional plumber.
Problems In Your Sewage Line
It may just be that your clogging issues may not be your fault. Things like broken sewer pipes, corroded sewer pipes, roots infiltrating sewer pipes, etc. could be the actual cause.
Talk to your neighbors to find out if they are having consistent toilet clogging issues and if they are - then the problem may be your city's sewer line.
Contact your local water or sewer department and report your issues.
Below are the numbers of the local water and sewer departments in the counties that Atlantis Plumbing services.
Bartow County - 770-387-5170
Cherokee County - 770-479-1813
Cobb County - 770-419-6201
Douglas County - 770-949-7617
Fulton County North - 404-612-3061
Fulton County South - 404-612-3163
Gwinnett County - 678-376-6800
Paulding County - 770-222-6868
Plumbing vent issues
Your plumbing vent (aka vent stack) is located on the roof of your house. It looks like a pipe sticking out of your roof usually right above a bathroom in the house. It's purpose is to help regulate the air pressure in your home's plumbing system. In other words, it removes sewer gases and odors and at the same time allows fresh air into the system which in turn helps the water in your pipes to run smoothly.
List most any other pipe, it can get clogged which ends up creating a problem in your home.
We recommend that you contact a professional plumber for this problem as it may involve getting up on the roof.
Hard Water Buildup
Hard water is a very common problem in many households throughout the USA. Water is labeled as "hard" when the most common minerals found in the water are calcium and magnesium. This generally is due to the types of minerals, rocks and metals that are found in the ground.
The calcium build up can block the jets in your toilet bowl. And hard water buildup can decrease the inner diameter of your pipes making it smaller and easier for things to get stuck and create a clog.
Check the water inlet holes around the rim of your toilet bowl. These are the tiny holes on the inside rim of your toilet bowl. If they are clogged from excess calcium, you can clean them out using a small object like a paper clip that has been straightened out.
When to replace your toilet
If the problems that are causing your toilet to consistently clog are related to an older toilet or for some reason replacing any parts of the toilet becomes excessive, then it may be time to just get a brand new toilet.
If you are having problems with toilets that keep clogging, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.