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Your Toilet and You

How familiar are you with your toilet? If you’re anything like most homeowners, you’re happy enough to ignore it until a problem occurs. It’s important to know the basics of residential plumbing maintenance so you can keep your bowl in good working order. Keep an eye out for common toilet problems, and get on top of any issues that may occur with these simple spring plumbing tips:

Gurgling, Groaning Pipes? Call the Professionals

If your plumbing begins to gurgle when you flush the toilet, you’ve got big problems that require a professional touch. Unfortunately, because gurgling pipes don’t seem to be that big of an issue, a lot of homeowners ignore this until they’re dealing with a backup. At that point, you’ll need emergency plumbing assistance, and you’ll likely be looking at a major cleanup job.

If you have a septic tank, this gurgling is often the sign of a tank that needs to be pumped or cleaned. Remember, you should have your septic system pumped every three or four years, with an annual inspection to check for tank and component failure. Ignoring the signs of a septic backup could result in serious fines and tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Re-digging a contaminated drain field isn’t cheap!

If you’re on a municipal system, gurgling toilets and pipes can be a sign of a clogged toilet vent pipe. This sometimes happens after a spring thaw washes sticks or other debris into your vent pipe. Unless you trust yourself on the roof with a garden hose and have a spotter inside looking for leaks, do yourself a favor and call a plumber.

Slow Flush? Grab a Bucket

Many plungers are useless when it comes to clearing clogs from your toilet, and who wants one hanging around the house? Except in the worse cases, you can clear clogs from your toilet — or speed up a slow-draining toilet — simply by filling a bucket with water, holding it several feet above the toilet and pouring the water into the bowl. With the help of gravity, you’ll create enough pressure to remove many blockages all on your own.

If that doesn’t work, you may be looking at a clog further in the line or an object that’s wedged into your toilet’s inner workings. In either case, you’ll likely need to remove the toilet from the base and use special tools to remove whatever is in the way. Chances are you don’t have the tools or the experience to make this job worth performing on your own. When the bucket method fails for clearing clogs, get a professional plumber on the phone.

Mr. Rooter of Oneida employs licensed plumbers who are certified in Onondaga County for all types of plumbing jobs. Call us day or night with questions regarding your toilet. We’ll get your indoor plumbing up and running in no time.

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