Toilets 101

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Toilets 101

Although they are used daily, homeowners seldom think about their toilets and how they work.

It’s only when they cease to work that toilets get the respect they deserve. When the toilet won’t flush and water is flooding across the bathroom floor, homeowners suddenly realize how essential their toilet is.
A clogged toilet is a common problem. Read on to learn how clogs form in the toilet drain, how they can be repaired, and how to prevent clogs in the first place.
The Toilet Drain
Where does all the stuff go when you flush your toilet? Just beyond the bowl of the toilet is the trap, a sinuous ceramic tunnel shaped like a backward S. The purpose of the trap is to keep sewer gases from entering your home, but it can also become a hot spot for clogs.
After passing through the trap, the waste goes down through a flange underneath the toilet and into a drainpipe, which will send it along to your home’s main sewer line. These drain pipes can occasionally become clogged, as well.
Here are the five main types of toilets that are available on the market today:
Gravity-Feed Toilet: Uses gravity to flush waste down. This is the most commonly used toilet and is easy to maintain and repair.
Pressure-Assisted Toilet: A pressurized system in the tank forces water down into the bowl when flushed. Although louder than other toilets, this type is more efficient and less prone to clogs.
Dual-Flush Toilet: A combination of gravity-feed and pressure-assisted, this type is growing in popularity. The user can choose between two flushing options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste. This toilet is the most efficient.
Double-Cyclone Toilet: Instead of several small holes for the water to pour into the bowl, this type has two large nozzles in the bowl that emit a forceful stream of water. More water-efficient per flush and fun to watch!
Waterless or Composting Toilet: Typically used where water or plumbing is not available, the waste collects in a receptacle beneath the toilet seat. Composting toilets use evaporation and decomposition to turn waste into fertile soil. These are becoming more common thanks to trends in “tiny homes” and the eco-friendly lifestyle.
These are some of the most common styles, but there are many other types of toilets to choose from! Find the right toilet that meets your household’s needs.
Simple Toilet Clog Removal
As mentioned, the trap and the drain pipes of a toilet can sometimes become clogged. Clogs in the toilet are usually formed of excessive paper products, solid waste, hair and debris, and even foreign objects. (Parents know all too well how much toddlers like to flush things!)
The homeowner can often resolve minor clogs themselves by using a plunger to build pressure and move the clog along. There are also chemical drain cleaners available for use in toilets, but they should be used with caution.
Toilet clog removal
For major clogs, it’s best to call a professional plumber. A plumber will typically use a very long, electric drain snake or a sewer auger to break up clogs in your toilet drain, no matter how far in the system they may be. If need be, they can also disassemble the toilet and pipes to remove the blockage.
Preventing Clogged Toilet Drains
Some simple tips to prevent clogged toilet drains include:
Do not flush wipes or sanitary products. Even those labeled as “flushable” can stop up your sewer system.
Keep the lid closed. This will prevent objects from falling into your toilet. If you have small, curious children, get a toilet lid safety lock to keep them out.
Flush some enzymes. Periodically flushing an enzymatic drain cleaner will help eliminate waste buildup in the drain pipes. Follow the instructions on the label carefully.
Get a professional drain cleaning. Professional plumbers have the tools and skills to quickly and safely clean your home’s drains. An annual drain cleaning will stop clogs before they start.
We’ve all been there: you’re in a rush while cleaning the kitchen and need a quick fix for unclogging your dishwasher or getting rid of grease. It’s easy to use popular drain cleaning products to unclog your drain or to quickly pour that pan grease down the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” can actually lead to more time-consuming and expensive problems.
If you are having issues with your toilet, call the professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We can inspect your home’s toilet and give you an honest opinion if you need to consider a replacement, or simply need maintenance. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any and all emergency plumbing needs.
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