Friday, October 29, 2010

Toilets! Unplugged! Not exactly like Eric Clapton Unplugged ...

Toilets Unplugged
We all do it!

Are you the Secret Toilet Plugger?


So you say!

In keeping with Christine's Bathroom Blogfest post earlier this week on Best Bathrooms in New Jersey, I am helping to make sure that we locally do not have the Worst Bathrooms in New Jersey ... and one particular issue is ... plugs.

Anyway, with the move to low flow and lower flow toilets comes a corresponding problem -- more plugged toilets.

We happen  to be blessed with low flow 1.6 gal. toilets in our house which go on strike if they don't like the way you look at them. Oh, it's true, it takes some toilet paper and, well, other stuff, but even after having learned over the years how to accommodate the commode, there are still plugs and jams, many of them mysteriously unclaimed by their author, not that we're blaming here, and which are only discovered after the fact.

A pleasure, to be sure.

We also happen to be blessed with among the least successful designs in low flow toilet history, according to our plumber, Jim at Barrett Plumbing in Bloomingdale, NJ, whom we highly recommend by the way, which is the Kohler Memoirs model, which we don't.  Be that as it may, we are in the unplugging toilets business with a frequency unmatched at our previous homes.

Just had to add this image! Is he happy or aggressive?

An unplugged toilet is a happy toilet.

Happily for us, if there is any happiness to be had, these plugs are fairly easy to clear with a plumber's helper or plunger, so although we are often busy unplugging, we are also quickly triumphant. We win.

But what if you don't, and you aren't.

In honor of Bathroom Blogfest, we have gathered together some advice from the heavy hitters or maybe, pro plungers out there.

What is that you say? You know how to unplug a toilet? Well, maybe you do ...  but this has been entertaining so far, hasn't it? And maybe you'll learn something ... no promises ...

Before you start you may want to don rubber gloves (I usually don't, but I might if it seemed like serious challenge); you might want to turn off the water before it leaps out of the bowl after you, and don't flush again -- you know why.

2 styles of plungers

According to a number of sources the number 1 method of unplugging a stopped up toilet is with a Plumber's Helper, 2 of which you can see in the photo above. The one on the right is preferred, since its design provides a better seal to the bowl and thus pushes more water against the clog to dislodge it.

Number 2 (no pun intended) is warm, soapy water in the bowl which provides lubrication, and then you plunge as per the paragraph above. Never use boiling water -- you might crack the bowl -- boy talk about going from bad to worse.

You can try a coat hanger, twisted to narrow it, with the sharp edge bent inward so as to avoid scratching the bowl and then pushed and/or pulled through the clog, and that's our #3.

Some recommend a mixture of bleach and powdered soap, the chemical reaction of which is said to break down the clog. #4.

For #5 we have, believe it or not, a liter or 2 of Coca Cola in the bowl and a 30 minute wait. No diet soda. Hey! It's better than drinking the stuff! Doesn't work on paper, just the other ...

Number 6 is the Snake -- hardware stores have them -- maybe you do, too! -- and you need to be careful and use it gently.

Then #7 is the Plumber himself, who will probably use #6, #1 and perhaps another above.

I have left out some possibilities which I didn't care for from online recommendations, but ...

You can check out WikiHow on the subject of unclogging toilets -- they are very thorough and even have a video!

Plus, if you know something we don't, let us know! I particularly like the Coke in the toilet solution -- I mean if I had Coke and a clog, I know what I'd do ... too cool.

OK, that's it.

Remember to be careful what you put in that thing!

What are you lookin' at???

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!


Photo Credit:
1st cartoon c/o
toilet face photo c/o and photoshop, I think
plungers photo c/o many websites
young person at ease in the commode c/o -- I don't know where I got it


Jim Child said...

Some things never change. Last I heard Kinnelon did not have many public sewers ...if any.

As uncomfortable as it might be, when a guest in your septic tank-equipped home is going to use your toilet you owe it to yourself to take them aside for counseling. "If it didn't go in your mouth it cannot go in my toilet."

People who grow up with public sewers become accustomed to flushing all manner of things. They do not think twice about disposing of condoms, tampons or even fullsize, "heavy day" sanitary napkins in the crapper. They will cost you HUNDREDS of dollars if left to their own designs.

....just a word to the wise

CB Whittemore said...

Jim, you make a very good point and bring new meaning to being a good host.

Thank you!


Bethany Richmond said...

A friend many years ago back in Albemarle County, Virginia, posted a poem in her guest bath for her guests who were not familiar with septic tanks. I can't remember it all, but here is what I can recall...

"Living rural suits us fine, but we have no sewer line.
We rely on septic tanks, and you will surely earn our thanks -
If you watch what's in the loo - (anything biodegradeable will do)"

There was one more line, but I have lost it over the years.

bethany Richmond said...

By the way, I am a proponent of solution #3. I raised two sons, and I know whereof I speak.

Ted Whittemore said...

"Living rural suits us fine, but we have no sewer line.
We rely on septic tanks, and you will surely earn our thanks -
If you watch what's in the loo - (anything biodegradeable will do)"

and then

If you don't and cause a clog, we'll teach you how on our fine blog!


PS That must have been the last line!

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