When a toilet becomes clogged, the whole household can be disrupted. The problem can last anywhere from hours to days if the solution is not within reach. Having some handy tools at home could help you resolve the issue faster than calling a plumber.
Equipment such as a toilet augur and plunger could unclog the toilet quickly. Sometimes, however, things get a bit more complicated. The toilet augur may get stuck in the bowl, which requires gentle retrieval. If you’re too forceful, the toilet may get damaged.
This article will guide you as you learn to remove a stuck toilet auger.
Auger stuck in toilet? Not to worry! Sometimes you just have to wind in the tubing and re-extend it repeatedly until it’s dislodged. Other times, you may have to remove the toilet from its base and dislodge the stuck auger from underneath using a screwdriver.
When your best efforts are not enough, it’s nice to know that your local plumber is just a phone call away!
What is a Toilet Auger?
The heavy-duty tool known as a toilet auger (https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-use-a-toilet-auger-2719038) is used manually to unclog toilets. It functions with a manual crank that you can wind down the toilet. An auger has a strong tip that breaks up the clog with its closed-spear shape. With enough force, it is able to break down the clogging materials and push them down the drain pipe.
Am I Using the Auger Correctly?
An auger may seem like a basic tool. However, if used incorrectly, you can cause bigger problems than a clogged toilet. This specialized tool is designed to snake down in twisting maneuvers down the toilet.
It is designed to be flexible and be able to twist and turn through the toilet’s drainage system. As it reaches the blockage, its tip can move debris causing the clog. The auger’s mechanism works with a flexible snake made of metal.
The snake unwinds out of the guide tube, which permits it to move down the piping. The auger reaches up to three feet down the toilet drain. Most times, that is enough distance to dislodge materials that are causing your toilet to clog.
The accumulation of clogging materials either catches on the tip and rewinds back up or gets flushed down as the clog is pushed forward.
Possible Problems While Using a Toilet Auger
One of the biggest problems with using a toilet auger is that it may become stuck inside the toilet drain. If you follow recommended guidelines, you are less likely to experience this type of event.
The first step you should take is to locate your toilet’s drain hole. It is either going to be located at the front or back side of the bowl. Once you are sure you have the correct hole, you’ll be able to start unwinding the snake.
Put the auger at the entrance of the toilet’s drain hole. Next, you’ll start to allow the flexible tubing to unwind. Be aware of how the snake moves inside the drain. You can usually feel if the tubbing gets snagged by something.
When you feel the tubing catch something or it is snagged, you can continue to unwind to push the debris through. Hopefully, this pushing action is forceful enough to remove the clog.
If you feel the tubing become snagged, but cannot push through the clogging materials, try rewinding it. Continue to rewind and unwind in a back-and-forth motion to see if this pushes down the clogged materials.
Go back and forth several times until it becomes easier to wind and unwind the tubing. Use a gentle pulling technique on the guide tube to achieve this back-and-forth action.
How Can I Remove an Auger That is Stuck in the Toilet?
Once you determine that you are not able to wind and unwind the tubing, the auger is probably stuck. Start by winding and unwinding several times. Extend and retract the snake back and forward in small increments to see if gets unstuck. You may get lucky and dislodge the auger after attempting this technique repeatedly.
Hopefully, your efforts work and you can simply pull the auger out of the drain without much force. Sometimes the tubing folds in on itself and just needs a little help to get released.
Unfortunately, if this simple technique doesn’t fix the problem, it’s probably because the tubing got caught on something. If the auger’s tip gets caught by something inside the drain but cannot pull it out, it is not going to be able to push forward or retract.
The bad news is that when this happens, the repair is a bit complicated. If this is the case, you have to detach the toilet from the base. This is a big job as you can imagine. Most people are not comfortable doing this themselves. There’s no shame in calling a plumber at this point.
If, however, you are up for a DIY challenge, you can cut the caulk holding the toilet in place and detach it from the base. Once you have removed the toilet and its underside is exposed, you may be able to see where the auger got stuck.
Examine the drain hole from underneath the toilet and attempt to dislodge the stuck auger tip. You may use a long pointy tool such as a screwdriver to remove the materials that are preventing the auger from moving.
After, hopefully, a successful attempt, you should be able to wind up the auger and remove the clogging materials from the drainage system. If you feel you have successfully completed these two steps, then you may reseat the toilet.
To attach the toilet, you will need a new wax ring before securing it with caulk. You must be careful when detaching and attaching the toilet to its base. Otherwise, you can damage the delicate porcelain. Work slowly and gently during this process.
This task is recommended to be done by two people. The toilet is a bulky and heavy item, which makes it difficult for one person to lift it on their own. Even when you remove the tank before detaching the toilet from its base, it’s still pretty heavy.
How Can I Prevent the Auger From Becoming Stuck?
Certainly, the best solution is prevention. These guidelines will help you use the auger effectively:
- You must always clean the auger with bleach before rewinding the tubing.
- After cleaning it, give the tubing a chance to dry before you rewind it all the way. This prevents the material from corroding and malfunctioning.
- Every time you use the toilet auger, be sure to use gentle motions to avoid scratching the delicate porcelain or bowl and drain.
- Call a plumber if your attempts to dislodge a stuck auger fail. You must never be too forceful with this tool. Excessive force can break the inner structures of your toilet and cause major issues.
Never Doubt to Call For Help!
Finally, be sure to read the auger’s user manual thoroughly. If you don’t understand something, reach out to the manufacturer or distributor. If you have any issues using the auger, it is best to call a plumber immediately.
Remember, a clogged toilet could be a much bigger problem than you imagine it to be. If you cannot easily fix the issue, licensed plumbers are ready to come to the rescue!