Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm A Pretty Decent Amateur Plumber

The toilet in the front bathroom had been clogged for about a month now. The youngling flushed something down there which clogged up the works to the point where water would pass through decently, but solid waste would get backed up and overflow the seating. I tried several different plungers as well as two different augers to no avail. I was going to have to remove the toilet and go digging.

There's a certain feeling of dread that overcomes anyone faced with a toilet problem that has limited plumbing experience. The toilet is considered the dirtiest place in the house, It's the place where you do things you don't mention in polite company. It's the place where you're most vulnerable. It's a necessity, yet it's one we don't want to have to think about. And here I was, about to dismantle the throne. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few tips:

  • Turn the water off at the supply hose off you do anything else. Also, get what water remains in the bowl and the tank out via flushing or sponges or towels. The less water that's in there, the less mess you'll have to deal with.
  • Remove the bolts at the base of the toilet. 
  • When you lift the bowl off its base, the wax seal will become visible. You'll probably need to replace this before you can re-attach the toilet. 
  • Once you do re-attach the toilet, make sure you seal it with plumber's putty or caulk it in order to prevent leakage between the floor and the base of the toilet. 
It turned out that my toilet was blocked by a plastic toy baby bottle. It was jammed in the toilet really good, and just far enough inside the toilet where I couldn't reach in my hand to get it. I could barely see it with a flashlight. So, instead of trying to hack and slash the toy out, I simply plugged one end of the toilet and poured acetone down the other end. After about an hour, the acetone had dissolved the bottle enough for me to flush it out using my garden hose.  

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