Top 5 Reasons Why Toilets Get Clogged

One of the most common plumbing issues we come across is a clogged toilet. Not only is this problem annoying and inconvenient, it can also lead to an overflowing toilet and costly water damage. Often, all you need is a handy plunger to unclog the toilet yourself. But other times, the backup can be a little more complicated.


Here are the five most common reasons why toilets gets clogged. This is helpful information to know so you can prevent the problem from occurring or know what to do if it happens to you in the future.

Cause #1 – The trap is blocked

Every time you flush, the contents flow through a trap, which is a curved channel in the toilet that prevents sewer gases from coming up through the pipes and into your bathroom. When there’s too much toilet paper or non-flushable materials being flushed, this narrow trap can become blocked, causing the toilet the clog. For this situation, a plunger or toilet auger can usually clear the blockage.

Cause #2 – Non-flushable items get lodged in plumbing

Toilet paper is designed to quickly dissolve in water, making it suitable to flush and move through plumbing. Other items like paper towels, cotton balls, tampons, dental floss, and wet wipes (just to name a few) are not. Since they don’t dissolve, these items are more likely to get stuck and cause a clog at multiple points in your plumbing.

Cause #3 – An low-flow toilet that can’t get the job done

If you have an older toilet (20 years or more), you may have a first-generation low-flow model. These toilets were intended to save water, which is great. However, many of the designs did not provide enough pressure to flush everything through the trap and down the drain. If you’ve tried to limit toilet paper use and still experience constant clogs, then it might be time to upgrade your toilet to a newer model that’s still water-efficient but more effective.

Cause #4 – A plumbing vent get blocked

In this scenario, the cause of the clog isn’t necessarily in your toilet or even bathroom. Modern plumbing systems use roof vents to circulate fresh air and prevent air-pressure problems. If your plumbing vent get filled with leaves, animal nets, or other debris, it could limit the drain flow and result in a clogged toilet. Clearing out the vents isn’t always an easy job, so it’s better to contact a professional who has the appropriate tools and experience.

Cause #5 – The sewer line is backed up

If you notice that other fixtures are clogged or draining slowly, in addition the toilet in question, it may be a sign that you have a bigger problem with your sewer line. This can range from a buildup of materials clogged to a tree root growing into the line causing a blockage. Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for this issue – it requires a professional to inspect and address the sewer line issue.

Hopefully you don’t have to deal with a clogged toilet very often. But if you do, now you know a few potential causes, next steps, and how to prevent it from happening again. Should you need help with a clog or any other plumbing issue in Amarillo, don’t hesitate to call Pratt Plumbing at (806) 373-7866.

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