When you flush toilets, you expect waste to exit your home promptly. However, you might start noticing that your toilet has started draining slowly. This could be an indication that there’s an underlying issue with your plumbing system.
While it may appear to be a mere minor inconvenience, it’s crucial to address the issue as soon as you notice it. Ignoring it can result in damage to your plumbing system and potentially lead to larger issues down the line, which can be costly to deal with.
Here’s our expert guide on dealing with a slow draining toilet.
Signs and symptoms of a slow draining toilet
Here are some key signs that you may be experiencing this problem.
Slow draining water
The most obvious sign of a slow draining toilet is if the water in the bowl takes longer than usual to fully drain. This manifests in water slowly trickling down and with not enough pressure to fully flush out waste.
Water pooling or rising higher than usual after flushing can be a result of a slow draining toilet. When the water in your toilet bowl takes longer than usual to drain, it will rise and potentially overflow onto the floor.
Gurgling noises when flushing
If you’re hearing gurgling sounds coming from your pipes or the drain when you flush the toilet, it could be a sign that is trapped in your plumbing system. The gurgling noises occur as the air escapes through the pipes while the water goes down slowly.
Another common sign is the presence of foul odors coming from the bowl. This can be a result of waste and debris accumulating in the pipes due to slow drainage. The trapped waste can emit unpleasant smells that can linger in your bathroom.
Water backing up in other fixtures
Often, it’s not just the toilet itself that will be affected. You may also notice water backing up in other fixtures, such as kitchen sinks or showers when you flush. This is because all plumbing fixtures in your home are connected to the same main sewer line. When there is an issue with the flow of waste in this line, it can cause backups in other fixtures.
Causes of slow draining toilets
So what exactly is causing your toilet to drain so slowly? Here are a few common causes.
Clogged drains and blockages
One of the main causes is clogged drains and blockages due to excess solid waste or foreign objects (such as paper towels and feminine hygiene products) being flushed down the toilet. These items can easily get caught in the drain and cause a clog, resulting in slow drainage.
Plumbing issues can also contribute to slow draining toilets. These include inadequate pipe slope, where the pipes are not angled enough for gravity to effectively move waste through, or improper venting, which can cause air pressure imbalances and lead to slow drainage.
Mineral build-up in pipes is another common cause. Over time, minerals from hard water can accumulate and form blockages in the pipes. This reduces the space for waste to flow through.
Sewer line issues
Tree root intrusion further down the line is another potential cause. Sewerage lines can be infiltrated by tree roots, which can grow into small cracks or joints in the pipes and create blockages. This can significantly impede the flow of waste and lead to slow drainage.
Improper toilet installation
When a toilet is not installed correctly, it can affect the proper flushing and drainage of waste. This can be caused by issues such as incorrect placement or sizing of pipes, faulty connections between the toilet and sewer line, or an incorrectly sized wax ring that seals the base of the toilet to the floor.
How to fix a slow draining toilet
Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with a slow draining toilet. For example, avoid flushing non-flushable items or excessive amounts of toilet paper down the toilet. Maintenance is also an important part of preventing the problem.
If you’re already experiencing a slow draining toilet though, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue. Of course, this issue is always best handled by a professional to avoid further damage. Nevertheless, here are some ways to potentially fix the problem.
Use a plunger
A trusty old plunger can be used to unclog drains and can be effective in fixing a slow draining toilet. Here’s how to use a plunger to clear a clog:
- Make sure enough water is sitting in the toilet bowl (enough to cover the rubber end of the plunger).
- Put the plunger over the drain hole, making sure it’s completely covering the opening.
- Apply downward pressure before pulling up quickly to create suction. This should loosen and remove any blockage.
- Repeat the steps until the water starts draining normally again.
Flush with hot water
Another method to try is using hot water to dissolve mild clogs.
Simply fill a bucket with hot tap water and add soap or dishwashing liquid, carefully pouring the mixture into the toilet bowl (making sure not to add too much to reduce the risk of flooding). Let it sit for a while before attempting to flush.
The hot water will help break down any build-up in the pipes, allowing waste to flow more easily.
This method may not work for larger or more stubborn clogs. Additionally, you run the risk of damaging your toilet if the water is too hot, so it’s important to be cautious.
Apply natural remedies
Alternatively, you can use natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar. Acetic acid in vinegar and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can create a chemical reaction that agitates the material creating the clog, which makes it easier to flush away.
Call a professional
While there are some do it yourself methods that can potentially fix a slow draining toilet, it’s important to remember that these methods may not work for all types of clogs and could potentially cause further damage if done incorrectly. This is why calling a professional plumber is often the best solution for dealing with a slow draining toilet.
Not only do professional plumbers have the necessary problem solving skills and experience to identify and fix the root cause of the issue, but they also have the proper tools and equipment to safely and effectively unclog drains.
After all, attempting to fix a slow draining toilet on your own can end up being costly if you make a mistake or damage your plumbing system.
Struggling with a slow draining toilet? Get in touch with J. Blanton
If you’re a homeowner struggling with a slow draining toilet, look no further than J. Blanton for expert assistance. With just a simple telephone call or form fill, our team of experienced plumbers can quickly and efficiently address the issue at hand.
At J. Blanton, we also offer thorough cleaning services for your pipes. We use specialized equipment and techniques to effectively remove any build-up or blockages in your plumbing system, allowing for smooth and efficient drainage.
Contact J. Blanton today!