Have you ever found yourself in a sticky situation with a clogged toilet? It can be quite embarrassing, and sometimes even the trusty plunger just won’t do the job.
If you’ve been keeping up with your plumbing studies, you’ll know that having a toilet auger on hand is highly recommended. This nifty tool can tackle almost any clog with ease and minimal stress.
We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling in our stomachs when we flush the toilet, and the water level rises rapidly. It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions. Will the force of the water be enough to dislodge the blockage and prevent an overflow?
Please, let the water stop rising, especially if you’re using someone else’s bathroom! When it comes to stubborn toilet clogs that just won’t seem to budge, even after you’ve given your plunger a valiant effort (and by the way, cup plungers are not ideal for toilet clogs), a toilet auger is undoubtedly your best bet.
What is a toilet auger?
Have you ever heard of a toilet auger? It’s a useful tool to remove obstructions and clogs in your toilet’s trap way. What’s great about it is that it can also clear blockages that have moved past the toilet and into the waste line.
With a 3ft toilet auger, you can reach blockages about 2ft into the waste line, but investing in a 6ft toilet auger (recommended) will allow you to reach blockages up to 5ft into the waste line.
So why is a toilet auger better than using a plunger? Sometimes, when using a plunger, you just push the blockage further down your waste line. On the other hand, a toilet auger breaks up the obstruction so that it can flow down the waste line more easily.
Toilet augers are similar to plumbing snakes but differ in their design for removing clogs, specifically in toilets. Snakes usually have a coil or corkscrew-type tip for removing buildup from other devices besides toilets.
If you’re curious about using a toilet auger, check if its design suits your specific clog and type of toilet plumbing structure.
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Many augers may either have the following:
- A closed coil head to push through clogs
- An open coil head that hooks onto items
- A fixed head goes through narrower drains
If you ever find yourself dealing with a clogged toilet that won’t respond to plungers or other tools, it’s important to know how to use a toilet auger.
This tool is usually metal and has a flexible shaft extending 3-6 feet long. At the end of the shaft is a handle that you can turn like a crank.
When using a toilet auger, remember the tool’s length and how far it can reach into the drain. If your auger is extendable, you can release more cable into the toilet once it’s in position.
To ensure your auger lasts longer, look for one with a steel cable core. This type of auger is less likely to wear down or kink when used in the drain.
Sometimes, you might need to switch out tips on your toilet auger to eliminate different types of clogs. It’s uncommon for an auger to have interchangeable tips, but it could be helpful if you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn clog that needs to be pulled out instead of pushed through.
Utilize An Auger To Remove A Clog
Dealing with a clogged toilet is never a pleasant experience. Whether it’s caused by flushing something that shouldn’t be or simply due to regular use over time, a clogged toilet can be frustrating, messy, and inconvenient.
While there are several tools and methods that you can use to clear a clog, one of the most effective solutions is utilizing an auger. While there are several tools and methods that you can use to clear a clog, one of the most effective solutions is utilizing an auger.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a toilet auger to tackle a clogged toilet:
- Assess the state of your toilet and determine if using an auger is necessary.
- Break out your auger and keep a bucket close in case of any messes.
- Pull back the cable into the tool, leaving only the head protruding through the tube.
- Insert the auger into the toilet at an angle with the head facing up into the drain to avoid any marks or damage to the toilet.
- Ensure that the curved end of the auger faces the direction of the drain and gives about 6 inches of slack between the drain and handle pipe’s end.
- Keep turning clockwise while pushing forward until you feel resistance or contact with a clog.
- If you feel resistance, turn counterclockwise until you can begin pushing forward again.
- Once you hit paydirt and make contact with a clog, remove it from the toilet drain.
- Use a plunger to ensure no residual materials can cause another obstruction.
- Finally, flush your toilet for good measure to remove any dislodged clogs.
Following these steps, you can effectively use a toilet auger to clear stubborn clogs from your bathroom drains.
Keep Your Auger Clean
When you use an auger to unclog your toilet, keeping it clean to work well the next time you need it is important. After successfully removing the clog, remove the auger from the toilet and clean it with bleach before putting it back in its tube.
This helps prevent dirt and bacteria from building up on the tool, which can cause damage over time. Also, wipe off the tube with a towel before putting the auger back in to protect against corrosion.
If you don’t keep your auger clean, it won’t last as long and might not work if you need to use it again.
Remember Some Key Points About Using An Auger
Toilet augers are a useful tool for unclogging your toilet, but they must be handled carefully. These tools can easily scratch the delicate vitreous china of your toilet, and if the cable of the auger breaks inside the drain or toilet, you may have to remove the entire toilet to retrieve it.
It’s important not to use too much force when using an auger – let the tool do the work. Applying too much pressure on the handle could cause the flexible metal snake to bind up in the waste line or even break.
If you’re considering removing a toilet to retrieve an auger, ensure you have all necessary items, such as a new wax ring and other materials, ready before starting.
However, removing a toilet can be tricky, so if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, it’s best to contact professional plumbing services for assistance.
Some common issues can arise when using an auger. Here are some practical solutions to help you get the job done safely and effectively:
Issue: Encountering a toilet trap that opens into a void can make it feel like the auger is not doing its job. This is particularly common in older toilet models with a 5-gallon bowl, and the auger may not be getting far enough into the toilet trap to meet the clog.
Solution: Use a longer 6ft version of the auger.
Issue: Using an auger can feel like you’re fishing around and making no progress.
Solution: A drophead is a better fit for this scenario. Be prepared to pull the auger back in reverse as needed, change your approach angle or direction, and stay flexible. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the bowl, trap, pipes, or auger.
Issue: After using an auger, some buildup may still be left in the toilet.
Solution: Partially flush the toilet after use to clear out any remaining debris or buildup. Flushing some toilet paper afterward can also help ensure no remaining obstructions.
Issue: If flushing a few sheets of toilet paper takes longer than expected, it could indicate that there is still an obstruction in the toilet.
Solution: In such cases, prepare yourself to remove the toilet if necessary.
Issue: The Auger Won’t Go Through the Trap
If you’re having trouble getting the auger through the trap, it could be because something hard is blocking its path.
Solution: Try twisting and turning the auger while pushing it through the trap. This will help it to maneuver around any obstructions in its way. Keep at it until you feel the auger breakthrough, and then continue unclogging your toilet.
Dealing With A Stuck Toilet Auger
It’s not uncommon for a toilet auger to get stuck in the narrow pathways of some toilets while trying to unclog them. If this happens, there are steps you can take to safely remove the auger without damaging the toilet or breaking the tool.
To avoid getting the auger stuck in the first place, unwind it slowly into the toilet and be ready to unwind it in the opposite direction if it gets snagged. Moving the auger gradually into the drain and guiding it carefully into the toilet drain is important.
If your auger does get stuck, try alternating between unwinding and winding the tubing. You may have to extend and re-extend the device several times before it frees up. The tubing might also fold in on itself or develop a kink.
In rare cases, you may have to remove the entire toilet from its base to get out a stuck auger. Always be careful when using an auger, and follow these tips for success!
Rent An Auger Rather Than Buy
If you need to clear a clogged toilet and don’t own an auger, you may be able to rent one. However, it’s important to remember that augers are relatively inexpensive, so the cost of renting one may be similar.
Before renting an auger:
- Read any terms and conditions associated with its use.
- Be aware of any risks or damages to the auger or your property while using it.
- Check the rental price and how long you can keep the auger.
A toilet auger can save the day when it comes to stubborn unclogging toilets. If you’re feeling up for the challenge, this guide will give you all the steps you need to know to use a toilet auger like a pro.
But don’t forget to be cautious and wear gloves and eye protection! With the right tools and techniques, even the toughest clogs won’t stand a chance against you.
And if you’re still uncomfortable with using a toilet auger, don’t hesitate to ask for help from an expert plumber.