4 Tips For Persistent Clogged Toilets

Everyone has to deal with a clogged toilet from time to time. In most cases, a plunger, a toilet auger, or even the creative use of baking soda and vinegar will unclog the toilet. For more stubborn clogs, a visit from the plumber may be necessary. What about toilets that seem to keep clogging on a persistent basis, over and over? This is not only annoying, but can be an indication of a more serious problem. Here are four tips for getting to the bottom of a toilet that keeps re-clogging:

Rule Out Obvious Causes

Sometimes the reason a toilet keeps clogging is right under your nose, and once you identify it, you can easily avoid future clogs. Here are a few common examples:

  1. Does the same family member (most often a child) keep clogging the toilet, while no one else in the family has the same problem? This family member is most likely using way too much toilet paper and needs a little guidance in using less.

  2. Did the clogs start after you began to purchase extra-quilted toilet paper? Sometimes older pipes or low-flow toilets can't handle very thick toilet paper, so you may want to go back to single-ply.

  3. Do you empty your cat's litter box by flushing the litter down the toilet? Cat litter can actually harden inside your toilet's pipes and cause persistent clogs, so it's best to throw the cat litter directly into the trash instead.

  4. Do you have small toddlers at home? Toddlers are notorious for dropping matchbox cars and similarly small toys into the toilet, causing clogs.

Determine if Your Toilet Is "Low Flow"

Another cause of frequent toilet clogs is moving to a house with an older "low flow" toilet, which may be much less powerful than what your family is used to. Toilets have printed labels with their basic information on them, including how many gallons they use per flush. If your toilet's gallon-per-flush number is less than 1.6 gallons, it is considered "low flow" and probably has a weak flush, which contributes to frequent clogs.

Replacing the toilet with a more powerful modern toilet should resolve the issue, but if that's not a possibility, your family will need to adjust by using less toilet paper, flushing more than once per bathroom visit when needed, and holding down the flush handle until the toilet is truly flushed.

Consider Hard Water as a Possible Culprit

Do you live in an area with hard water? If so, the mineral deposits caused by hard water can build up over time in your pipes, making it more difficult to effectively flush water from the toilet through the pipes. You will need to have the hard water mineral deposits professionally removed by a plumber and then have a water softener installed to avoid future issues.

Have a Plumber Run a Scope

If you still aren't sure what is causing your toilet to continuously clog, your best option is to hire a residential plumber to run a scope and perform an inspection. There could be a permanent clog somewhere in the toilet's pipe system caused by tree roots or a hard object like a toothbrush that was mistakenly flushed. Your plumber will also be able to confirm the presence of hard water deposits using the video from the scope.

Figuring out the cause of a persistently clogged toilet can take some trial and error, but with the help of a qualified residential plumbing contractor, you will soon figure it out. Once the problem is identified and resolved, you can look forward to a much easier flushing situation.