Clogged toilets are a common, avoidable problem that results in many emergency calls to a plumber. Most of the time, these clogs are a result of not being aware of what you should and should not flush down the toilet.
When you hear that toilets don’t flush as well as they used to, there is some truth to it. Since 1992, all toilets in this country are manufactured to function with no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. If you have a toilet older than that, it likely uses between 3-5 gallons per flush. Even though all toilets now have this limitation, not all toilets are created equal. Many modern toilets have pressure assisted flushes, which use compressed air in addition to water to flush. Some higher end toilets also have larger flappers, which allow water from the tank to enter the bowl more quickly, creating a better flush than a standard toilet.
When it comes to what kind of paper products you can flush, just know that toilet paper is formulated to break down quickly when it gets wet. This is designed to help your plumbing system. Other paper products do not break down quickly, like tissues, paper towels, napkins, feminine hygiene products, and others. “Flushable wipes” on the market are generally small enough to flush; however, they are not formulated to break down quickly and can potentially cause problems.
Another good rule of thumb is to never flush anything that floats, like Styrofoam or cotton balls, no matter how small. This is due to a trap that’s built into toilets. Floating matter can accumulate on the back side of that trap without going down the drain. This accumulation can dam up and block other materials from going properly down the drain.
Naturally, there are many items that could accidentally get flushed and cause problems, like toys, toothbrushes, toothpaste tube covers, and toilet paper holder springs. Many of these issues cannot be solved with a plunger and need professional help and larger tools to clear it and prevent further problems. Be sure to contact us or this or any of your plumbing needs!