In our previous article on how to unclog a toilet when nothing works, we discussed methods that can unclog a clogged toilet immediately. However, if your toilet just keeps clogging up, it’s time to get to the bottom of the issue and find the root cause.
A one-time clog is already irritating, but repeated clogs may be a sign of a more severe problem. It’s important to address the problem early on since it becomes very difficult and even more expensive to resolve in time. Unfortunately, you may have to call a plumber in these cases.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the question of how to fix a toilet that keeps clogging.
Why Does My Toilet Keep Getting Clogged?
There are many reasons why a toilet might clog once. Perhaps you threw something in that you shouldn’t have, or there is some temporary issue with the plumbing system. If you’ve tried dissolving the clog with plunging, chemical compounds, or a toilet snake, but it keeps happening, it’s time to tackle the problem more deeply.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your toilet keeps clogging up and a few suggestions to stop it.
You’ve Been Flushing Wrong Stuff (For a While)
We can not stress this enough: there are only two things (ok, three if you really want to go into details) that can be flushed down the toilet: toilet paper and human waste.
Even the best sewer system can’t survive if you keep flushing the wrong items down the drain. These include paper towels, diapers, feminine products, wet wipes, food, etc.
If you have repeatedly been flushing these products down the drain, the clog may be too big to completely clean and cause the toilet to malfunction. It’s also possible that the pipes got damaged due to the size of the clog.
Besides putting a stop to flushing the wrong products, an absolute must-do, you can also try dissolving the clog by repeatedly treating it with some baking soda and vinegar, drain cleaner, or enzyme cleaner products. For more information on these techniques, check out the article linked above in the first paragraph.
If none of this helps after repeated trials, you will need to call a plumber for more precise diagnostics and repair.
You’ve Been Flushing the Right Thing… But Too Much
Some of us really like to apply multiple layers of toilet paper, as it’s more comfortable that way. However, if you’re doing this constantly, it’s possible that you are clogging your toilet without even realizing it. This results in repeated clogging despite your efforts to unclog. The solution is the same as in the previous case, although the probability of having damaged the pipes is much lower in this scenario.
Your Flapper Isn’t Working
Whenever you flush the toilet, your flapper lifts up. This helps the water flow into the toilet bowl and carry away what needs to be carried away. If the flapper isn’t working properly, it may not be lifting enough, which may cause issues. For example, there might not be enough water pushing the content from the toilet bowl into the drain.
What you can do in this case is some DIY flapper fixing, which is luckily quite easy. If the flapper is damaged you may need to replace it, but that’s also simple. Just check out the embedded links to helpful videos.
If you’re not sure where to get a new flapper, don’t worry, we got you covered. Check whether you need a 2 or 3-inch flapper, and you can order online.
Minerals Building Up in the Toilet
If your toilet doesn’t seem to have a problem with the issues we mentioned until now, then the problem can be its age. Old toilets build mineral deposits that prevent proper flushing.
Every time you flush, the water flows through the tank and pipes into the bowl. It passes around the rim of the toilet and the bottom of the bowl, where it may leave the mineral deposits from water. Minerals can pile up over time and reduce the power of your flush.
Try dumping 2-4 gallons of water from a bucket down the toilet. If it flushes normally when you do this, it’s time to change the toilet. If the flush is still weak, call the plumber, you have bigger problems.
Your Clog Is Moving
Maybe this sounds weird, but the clog can actually change its location and move somewhere down the pipes. So once you initially address it, it may seem like everything is fine at first until it returns after a few days.
You can either put in more work to get rid of the clog by trying to dissolve it or tackle it with a toilet snake or an auger. If nothing is working, once again, you’ll need a plumber with the right tools to finish the job.
Plumbers usually have tools with cameras to check whether the clog is really gone.
Every home toilet is connected to a vent that carries the air outside of the home, usually through the roof. This way, fresh air enters the home plumbing system, and flush pressure becomes more intense.
If there is a blockage of the toilet vent, the pressure in the toilet decreases. This can lead to more frequent clogs, and eventually, it may become a consistent problem. Furthermore, other issues may occur, such as gurgling sounds coming from the toilet or drainage issues in the entire household. In the worst cases, the sewer odors remain indoors, reaching unbearable levels.
If you can’t stand the smell of your house sometimes, repeated clogging is probably due to vent blockage.
This is a bit difficult to address, as it requires climbing on the roof to check what’s happening in the vent and then sending water down the toilet with a garden hose. If you’re inexperienced with this kind of extreme sport, we once again recommend calling for professional help.
The Toilet Trap Caught a ‘Prey’
On the backside of your toilet, there is a special trap that serves as a barrier between plumbing pipes gasses and your home air. It is not really meant to trap anything, but there are situations when it does. When something is stuck in your toilet trap, the toilet will keep on clogging.
The only way to find out if something is inside the trap is to completely remove the toilet and observe whether there is anything in the trap. However, we wouldn’t recommend it as a DIY project; it’s better to call for professional help.
Sometimes pipes develop a kind of ‘plaque’ since grease, chemicals you use for cleaning the household, calcium from water, etc., build up over time. This can restrict the water flow through the pipes, leading to clogs.
Pipe problems of this kind are common in old houses, and if your toilet keeps on clogging no matter what you do, the pipes may be the problem.
There is no simple or DIY solution to this problem. You will have to call a professional.
W tried to give you a few pointers on how to fix a toilet that keeps clogging up, but if your toilet is constantly clogged, the issue might be more severe than you think.
There are several possible underlying reasons: the way you treat your toilet (tossing undesirable items or using too much toilet paper), having old pipes, high levels of mineral in your water, and vent blockage.
When we treat toilet clogs, we often address the consequences (symptoms) but not the actual causes of the problem.
In some cases, that’s enough, as the clog is just temporary and accidental; however, if you are experiencing repeated clogging, there is probably a more significant problem.
Call a professional if you’re tired of dissolving or mechanically releasing the clog from the drain. They can fix the structural issues behind a constantly clogged toilet.