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Blocked Loo Blues

A blocked toilet is one of the most common problems for which plumbers are summoned to homes and offices today. It usually incites feelings of dread and embarrassment, especially for employees in a company (in the case of its being an office toilet), visitors and newlyweds! Such blockages are usually caused as a result of too much solid matter (whether toilet paper, faecal matter or a foreign object being thrown into the toilet) in the actual bowl itself. All too often, the solution has been to pour strong chemicals down the loo to break the matter down. However, these can be rather harmful.

Green-minded victims of the blocked toilet dilemma have several options available to them, all of which are safe on the water, air and soil of the local environment. They are also, generally, cheaper than the services of a plumber or maintenance man.

The first option is simply to leave the toilet with the lid down for a few hours. Often, the paper and other matter will break down as it is left to stand in the water, eventually allowing it to be flushed more easily. The water that has accumulated in the bowl will push it through the pipes as its level drops. However, due to potential frequent use of the toilet (as is the case in an office complex or shopping centre), this may not always be possible.

The second option is to use a plunger. Ensure that you get the suction cup of the plunger to grip the hole of the toilet with no room for air. Push it firmly and then pull it as hard as possible, creating a strong suction which should, in turn, force the blockage to at least move, if not come out completely.

Thirdly, you may mix 4.5 litres (about 1 gallon) of hot water from the tap (not boiling) with about four tablespoons of cooking oil and pour this into the bowl. The hot water will break the mass down effectively, while the lubrication will penetrate the clog and help to ease it through the pipe.

Lastly, you can use an auger to handle a stubborn clog. This implement is shaped in a corkscrew and works in much the same way as using such an implement to release a cork from a wine bottle. Be careful not to damage the porcelain in your toilet. You may need to put something into the bowl on which the auger can swivel to avoid scratching it.

Not only will these methods save you money, but they also negate the potential need to use strong and, possibly, toxic chemicals.

Photo Credit: All Willy Nilly

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