8 Common Causes of Toilet Clogs

Toilets are likely the most frequently used plumbing fixture in the average household. Over time, any toilet can become susceptible to clogs, breakage, and deterioration. Most of us will have to deal with a clogged toilet at some point in our lives. A clogged toilet can be messy and frustrating, but a plunger can usually resolve a minor clog.

Sometimes the reason for a clog is apparent such as a toy or other object finding its way into the toilet bowl. However, there are less obvious reasons that could be causing your toilet to clog. If you’re dealing with frequent toilet clogs, keep reading to find out why toilets clog and how to prevent clogs from recurring.
Common Reasons Toilets Clog

1. Older Low-Flow Toilets
In the early 1990s, federal law mandated water-saving toilets. In a rush to create low-flush toilets, many early models required multiple flushes, and clogs were frequent. If you have a low-flow toilet from the 1990s, limiting the amount of toilet paper flushed will help reduce clogs. If reducing the amount of toilet paper flushed doesn’t resolve the problem, the best solution is to install a newer model. New toilets flush effectively with reduced water usage and minimal clogging.

2. Too Much Toilet Paper
Toilet paper should start to dissolve when it comes in contact with water. Some 2-ply toilet paper, ultra-strong, and ultra-soft varieties don’t dissolve quickly, leading to blockages. Some people, especially young children, use excessive amounts of toilet paper. Parents can use a piece of tape to mark a spot on the wall indicating how much toilet paper to use as a visual reminder for young children.

3. Flushing Trash
Toilets are designed to flush human waste and toilet paper. Even so-called “flushable wipes” are not flushable and should be placed in a trash can. Common things people flush that clog toilets include:

Feminine hygiene products
Facial tissues
Paper towels
Cotton swabs
Dental floss
Diapers
Condoms
Cat litter

Keep a trash can next to the toilet, and make sure everyone in the household understands not to flush trash.

4. Toilet Flapper Problems
The flapper is the part that lets water flow from the tank into the toilet bowl, creating the flush. If the flapper doesn’t release enough water, you’ll get a weak flush. Clogs are more common in toilets with a weak flush. You can adjust the chain that connects the flapper to the flush handle. If the flapper is old or deteriorated, replacing it is inexpensive and easy.

5. Clogged Toilet Trap
Your toilet’s s-trap sits between the toilet bowl and drain line, trapping objects and causing clogs or blockages. Even too much toilet paper can start to build up inside the s-trap and eventually create a tough clog. Plunging will often clear the blockage. If plunging doesn’t remove it, you should call a plumber to clean the drain.

6. Blocked Air Vents
Fresh air enters your home’s plumbing system through a vent on the roof, which helps the system move water through the drainage pipes each time a toilet is flushed, or a sink is drained. These air vents also prevent sewer gasses from entering your home. Toilets lose their flushing pressure if the vent is blocked by leaves or other debris. Cleaning air vents requires special tools, and hiring a professional is highly recommended.

7. Hard Water Build Up
Hard water is a common problem. While it’s not dangerous to drink or bathe with, hard water contains minerals that can accumulate in your plumbing system, narrowing the gap that water and waste can pass through, leading to clogged drains and toilets. Installing a home water treatment system improves the quality of your drinking water and reduces plumbing issues associated with hard water.

8. Sewer Line Problems
Your drain pipes all converge into your home’s main sewer line, connecting to your septic system or the municipal sewer system. As sewer lines age, problems can occur. Tree root infiltration, debris, and corrosion can cause serious clogs in sewer lines. These problems can cause household drains and toilets to backup, impacting your drainage system and ability to move waste safely out of your home. Call a professional plumber if you suspect you have a problem with your sewer line.

Call the Trusted Plumbing Professionals in Los Gatos
Clogged toilets require immediate attention to prevent a small clog from escalating into a major problem. Small clogs can usually be handled with a plunger or snake, but clogged toilet vents, sewer line problems, or clogs you can’t quickly clear on your own should be repaired by a professional plumber.

Call Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter & Rooter at (408) 716-1686, or contact us online to schedule an appointment for leak detection services in the Los Gatos area. Our Los Gatos technicians have over 30 years of plumbing experience, and they are ready to help you with all of your plumbing problems, no matter how big or small.

We understand that plumbing problems can happen anytime and need to be handled quickly. That’s why Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter offers emergency plumbing services at no extra cost.

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