Did you know that toilets account for almost 30% of a typical U.S. home’s indoor water use? That makes these fixtures the primary source of water consumption in U.S. households.
Unfortunately, malfunctioning toilets can make that water usage skyrocket further. Such can happen if you have a recurring toilet clog that forces you to flush repeatedly.
But what exactly causes a clogged toilet to recur? Is there anything you can do about it if it happens in your Salt Lake City home?
We’ve listed four of the top culprits behind recurring toilet clogs (and tips to deal with them) below, so read on.
1. Toilet Paper Misuse
Toilet paper is one of the only 3 Ps (more on that below) that are safe to flush down the toilet. After all, these are products specifically manufactured to disintegrate when they get wet. That’s thanks to their short and soft fibers that break down due to water and water pressure.
However, your toilet flush can still have difficulty breaking down toilet paper if you use too much of it in one go. For instance, it can take longer for the water and water pressure to dissolve thicker layers.
Scrunched-up or wadded toilet paper is also harder to break down because it’s compact. Thus, water can’t penetrate it easily, resulting in undissolved bits of paper.
All those pieces of tissue that don’t break down can then accumulate in your drain lines. Some bits can break off with repeated flushing, so there may be days your toilet seems to work okay. But once someone in your household misuses toilet paper again, the clog issue can return.
2. Flushing Items Other Than the 3 Ps
The 3 Ps refer to pee, poo, and (toilet/tissue) paper. These are the only three things you and your household should flush down the toilet. Never flush anything outside the three; if you do, odds are, you’d deal with a toilet clog (and a recurring one at that).
All that may have made you wonder about wipes and similar products labeled “flushable.”
Unfortunately, many so-called flushable items, particularly wipes, aren’t flushable. Instead, they wreak havoc in drains and sewer lines, so much so that it’s a $3 million crisis in the State of Utah. The Beehive State spends that much money to clean the clogs they cause in public sewer systems.
Even worse, that $3 million doesn’t include the costs of sewer backups and repairs to residents.
So if you use so-called “flushable” wipes, they’re likely the cause of your recurring toilet clog. That doesn’t mean you should stop using them; you can still do, but don’t flush them down the toilet. Instead, throw them in the garbage bin.
What about kitchen paper towels? Are they safe to flush?
No. While some people may use them as a substitute when they run out of toilet paper, they don’t break down like TP. So, it’s no wonder the Salt Lake City Public Utilities urges residents never to flush them.
3. Clogged Toilet or Plumbing Vent
A plumbing vent, also called a vent stack, serves as an air pressure regulator. It allows air into your plumbing system, which, in turn, pushes water throughout the pipes. In addition, it removes gases and unpleasant odors that wastewater emits.
Depending on your home’s plumbing system, your toilet may have a vent that connects to the main vent. On the other hand, it may have its own vent stack that terminates through your roof.
The vent helps toilets flush efficiently by letting air into the drainage system. That air then helps push and channel wastewater out of your home.
So if the vent gets blocked, too little air can enter, resulting in negative pressure. That then interrupts water flow within the toilet drain pipe, causing a clog to form there, too.
You might be able to clear the clog in the toilet drain pipe itself with a plunger or a plumber’s snake. However, the stoppage will recur if you don’t get the blocked vent cleared out.
One way to tell if your recurrent toilet clog is due to a blocked vent is if you also have slow-flowing drains. In that case, it’s best to call a plumber as you need help for more than just your clogged toilet.
4. Clogged Sewer Line
The most severe cause of a recurrent toilet clog is a malfunctioning sewer line (also called a sewer main). It’s the worst culprit because all drain pipes in your home connect to this plumbing pipe. It also links to the public sewer line, which, in turn, brings it to a wastewater treatment facility.
Hence, problems with your sewer main can cause not only one but multiple drain woes and toilet clogs. And unless you have the issue fixed, you can expect never-ending clogs or, worse, backups. The latter is especially dangerous since wastewater contains disease-causing microorganisms.
As for what causes sewer line clogs, some typical culprits are toilet paper misuse and wipes. However, pouring fats, oil, and grease (FOG) down sink drains can also lead to this problem. After all, they solidify after some time, and they can turn all jelly-like before they exit your sewer line.
Another potential cause of sewer line problems is tree root intrusion. Tree roots can penetrate sections of the pipe. That can impede wastewater flow, resulting in clogs.
A break in the sewer line can also allow dirt, debris, and other materials to enter. That can contribute to clogs within the pipe.
A broken sewer line may also result in the wastewater leaking into the soil. That can cause the earth to erode and put excessive pressure on the pipe. If left unresolved, it can ultimately lead to the sewer line collapsing.
If you think you have a sewer line problem, please don’t delay calling a licensed plumber in Salt Lake City. The sooner the pro can inspect your sewer main, the sooner they can remove clogs or repair pipe damages.
Stop a Toilet Clog From Recurring
As you can see, many factors, from tissue paper misuse to sewer line clogs, can all lead to a recurring toilet clog. And now that you know what causes such plumbing woes, you can take steps to prevent them. For example, after a pro cleans your drains, stop flushing flushables.
In any case, a recurrent toilet clog is something you shouldn’t delay getting fixed. And our team here at Stallion Plumbing and Drains Salt Lake City can help. Call us now so we can inspect and address all your toilet and drain woes!