What’s the most annoying plumbing problem you can think of in a home? For many people, it’s a leak in the pipes somewhere or a leak from a faucet. But the good news about a leak is that you can always shut off the water to temporarily get the problem under control. For even more people, the most annoying plumbing problem is one that can lead to mayhem if not fixed properly the first time around: a clogged toilet.

We know, we know: it’s not exactly a problem you want to discuss. But it always helps to have a plan in place for the next time this happens to you, whether it’s at your home or a guest’s. Here are our professional tips on what to do about a clogged toilet (and some advice on when it’s time to give up and call in the pros!).


First, what’s most important is that you act quickly as soon as you notice the toilet won’t flush. Do not flush the toilet a second time! If it didn’t work the first time, there’s no reason to believe it will again, and you risk overfilling the toilet.

Instead, you want to stop the flapper to keep additional water from pouring into the bowl. The flapper is the drain stop that leads from the tank to the bowl. Open up the top of the tank and reach in to move the flapper into place. (Remember, this water is clean!)


You may want to lay down some paper towels around the toilet to prevent a disgusting cleanup job and make things easier on yourself. A plunger may make a splash, and it’s important to keep things as sanitary as possible. You may even want to wear long, rubber gloves.


The right plunger is of a high-quality heavy-duty rubber, and should have a flange attachment at the bottom. You may have to go to a hardware store to get this, but it’s worth it; standard flimsy plungers often do not work. The flange at the bottom should create a tight seal with the unique fit of the toilet drain that helps to create better suction.


Perfecting your plunging technique is key to seeing that the clog disappears. Make sure water is able to fill up in the cup. You may need to add water from the sink to the bowl. Get it sealed over the hole, and then start moving the plunger. Push down with force and pull up sharply. You need to put just as much effort into both actions, and you may have to repeat this a couple dozen times.


After some work, try flushing again and make sure water drains completely. If it does not, repeat your efforts. Usually, this will work eventually. However, you should know when to give up. If it doesn’t seem like the clog will give up, there may be a more serious problem, and you should call in plumbing professionals to have a look.

For your plumbing in Bergenfield, NJ, trust the professionals at BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating Inc.

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