Do you have a toilet that seems to be partially clogged no matter how much you plunge it? Are you getting ready to give up and call for professional help? Calling in a professional is probably the best way to deal with the situation. But to help make sure that it gets resolved as quickly as possible, you may want to have some idea of what the problem could be. Here are some of the most common causes of slow flushing toilets and their various symptoms.
Blocked vent stack: The vent stack is a pipe that runs from near your toilet, up through your walls, and out of your roof. Its purpose is to vent excess sewer gasses and to allow air into the sewer pipe as necessary. Normally, it is blocked off by a ventilated cap. This cap can sometimes get dislodged by small animals such as squirrels or birds, allowing various things to enter your sewer pipe. This may include leaves and other organic debris or even the same animals that opened the pipe in the first place. When the pipe is blocked, your toilet will flush slowly and your whole bathroom may start to reek like rotten sewage as the gasses look for a new escape route. Your plumber should be able to unblock the vent stack very quickly, allowing your toilet to resume normal functions.
Tree roots: Trees absolutely love sewer pipes. The pipes obviously contain moisture that the trees need, in the form of sewage water, and that same water carries with it a variety of nutrients that the trees need to grow. If any nearby trees find even the slightest crack in your sewer pipes, their roots will take advantage of this and start to grow into your pipe. Eventually, they will wind up taking up so much room that the pipe gets blocked. Your plumber can employ a variety of methods to extract the roots and discourage them from growing again. Unfortunately, the only way to completely prevent a recurrence may be to cut down the tree in question.
Damaged sewer line: Even in the absence of trees and other roots, no sewer pipes last forever. Modern PVC piping has a long life, but older types of pipes may not have fared as well. If you have an older home, your original sewer line may have been made out of a less durable material such as clay or iron. If you've never had a plumber inspect your sewer line before, now is the best time to do so. While some of your sewer line may be made from modern piping, a previous homeowner may have attempted to save money by not replacing some sections of the pipe.
If your toilet is flushing slowly or not at all, and you suspect one of the above issues, talk to a plumber like Trenchless Pipe Technologies for assistance.