slow draining toilet

A problem with the drainage of a toilet can quickly lead to the overflow of the latter. A dysfunction that is never pleasant to be confronted with. Potential causes, possible solutions and intervention of the plumber… our advice for dealing with this type of health problem.

Water drainage problem and blocked toilet

Clogged toilets can explain poor drainage . To check this, pour a bucket of water into the toilet bowl. If slow draining toilet, the problem is probably with the flushing. Otherwise, you must unblock your sanitary facilities .

Warning: if the pipes are blocked, do not make the mistake of flushing the toilet several times. The water (and what it contains) would then rise until it overflows from the basin .

It is possible to unclog a toilet by using:

  • an electric or manual ferret;
  • a mop;
  • a suction cup.

Note: professionals recommend not to use chemicals to try to unclog a toilet . Indeed, these products can be very harmful for pipes. Intervening yourself and cracking a pipe will have much more serious and costly consequences.

Bad toilet drainage and problem with flushing the toilet

When the problem of water drainage does not come from a congested pipe , it remains to check the proper functioning of your flush. The problem can in fact be explained by insufficient or too slow release of the reserve water.

Cause 1: the valve no longer opens completely due to important scaling of the linkage. The flush must therefore be descaled.

Cause 2: Your toilet plug or suction cup falls too quickly, accidentally closing the drain hole. A disturbance of the float or the linkage is therefore probably the cause of the problem and requires a new adjustment.

Cause 3: The flush feed mechanism is blocked. The water reserve contained in the tank is then insufficient.

Note : if none of its causes explains the phenomenon while the disgorging follows one another, the problem may be with installation of the sanitary system itself. Have it checked by a professional here.

Unblocking a toilet: actions and prevention

Flushing the toilet is a trivial, everyday gesture - until one day the usual result and noise falter. The water from tank flows into the bowl and slow draining toilet. You glance worriedly at the water rising towards the edge… What to do?

Unlock 101

Obviously, the toilet is blocked. First check that the obstruction is only for the toilet or its own drain pipe. To find out, run the water in a nearby installation (for example, a sink or a bathtub). If the liquid is draining there as usual, only the toilet is a problem. Then use a toilet suction cup: most of the time you will be able to dislodge the stopper.

Arm yourself with a suitable suction cup

The ideal suction cup differs from the ordinary reddish bell-type suction cup (more suitable for sinks, washbasins, etc.). Its extension facilitates insertion into the drainage opening of the bowl, and its flexible rubber, often black, adheres to the wall. This adhesion increases the thrust or suction necessary for unblocking.

Here's how to do it:

Insert the suction cup into the bowl after removing a little water if necessary.

Carefully center the suction cup and press it onto the toilet drain opening.

Pump several times vigorously before removing the tool with a sharp motion.

Repeat the maneuver if necessary if the bowl refuses to empty.

The cork gives way? Flush the toilet again to confirm the return of good circulation. It will then be necessary to rinse the suction cup well.

Calling on the ferret

Nothing works with the suction cup? We can then turn to a ferret (also called a manual toilet drainer). The tool consists of a metal rod connected to a crank. Its corkscrew tip slides into the hole in the bowl to hook, then dislodge the cause of the blockage. As this maneuver could scratch the porcelain finish of the bowl, using the ferret requires great care.

How to use the ferret:

  • Insert the angled portion of the tool into the toilet drain opening.
  • Extend the wire with the crank to spin the tip.
  • Repeat the operation if it does not unlock on the first try.

Once the bowl has been emptied, flush the toilet again to confirm that the water is circulating well. After services rendered, no surprise ... the ferret will ask for a cleaning.

Call for reinforcements: turn to a plumber


Have your actions been in vain? The other common unblockers (products, pump, etc.) will undoubtedly prove to be ineffective as well. In such a case, the problem requires the arrival of a plumber.

In turn, the plumber will use tools like the ferret to unblock the toilet. If its first attempts are unsuccessful, removal of the toilet will be required. The plumber will then observe if an object (for example, a child's toy or a hairbrush) is blocking the siphon of the toilet bowl. 

It could also be a plug housed in the drain line connecting the toilet to a larger sanitary manifold. This hindrance usually occurs when too little water pressure does not allow complete evacuation once the flush has been fired. Possible cause: a lack of water in the tank. For a regular toilet, the level should be one inch below the overflow (i.e. the overflow pipe). To raise the level if necessary, it is necessary to adjust the control screw of the water inlet valve in the tank.

Another possible cause when the blocked toilet is located in the basement: the presence of a toilet with low water flow connected to a drain with certain risky characteristics. Choosing a low-flow toilet is of course an ecological gesture to be encouraged. However, avoid it if the drain line has too low a slope , or if it is made of old, rough cast iron; this could retain certain evacuated materials.



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