A toilet is among the most frequently used fixtures in a home. Nonetheless, people rarely think about how it works until it’s faulty. When it gets clogged, it can be frustrating and very unpleasant to clean up.Understanding the reason behind your toilet backing up helps prevent future blockages.

Being aware of how your toilet works, and what the potential issues might be, will help you take the appropriate measures towards preventing clogs in the future. The following are eight possible reasons that causes toilets to clog:

Cause #1: Toilet Flapper Isn’t Opening Completely

What causes most toilets to clog? The main reason is usually the flapper. It is a valve that creates a watertight seal inside the toilet tank, which holds water until flushing. Upon pushing the handle down, the flapper rises to allow the water to flush the toilet bowl. It then goes back down to recreate the watertight seal.

If the flapper doesn’t open entirely upon flushing, it won’t release enough water. The result is a weak flush. A toilet with a weak flush is more likely to experience clogs. To fix a faulty flapper, adjust the chain connecting the flapper to the toilet’s flush handle, so it fully opens when you flush.

Cause #2: Blocked Plumbing Vents

All toilet drains in a house vent out to the roof. This helps improve how well a toilet flushes. If a plumbing vent gets blocked, the toilet will flush slowly. This reduces velocity, meaning larger “loads” won’t get flushed completely. The result is a recurring clog problem.

You might want to take out your plunger. In most cases, the reason for a blocked plumbing vent is usually a bird nesting in it. Clearing a plumbing vent can only be done from the roof, so if you’re not conversant with such jobs, you should leave it to the professionals.

Cause #3: Old, Low-Flow Toilet

Old, low-flow toilets lack the flushing power needed to clear the drain and internal trap. This leads to the development of clogs. Modern bathrooms still use low-flow designs to save water, but they have been optimized to combat the issue of clogs.

If your toilet model dates back to the mid-1990s, you probably have a first-generation low-flow toilet. There’s no need to rush for a replacement.

Reduce cases of clogs in a low-flow toilet by limiting toilet paper use and keeping clog-prone items out of the toilet bowl. If these efforts fail, the solution is to contact a plumber to install a modern toilet.

Cause #4: Toilet Trap Is Blocked

The trap is the curved, S-shaped tube built into the lower unit of your toilet bowl. It separates the toilet and drain line and prevents nasty sewer gases from entering your home through the toilet.

If something like a toothbrush is accidentally flushed down the toilet, it might get stuck in the trap. Each time you flush after that, more debris will wrap around the object, and eventually lead to a clog.

A typical plunger can solve this problem by sending the debris down the drain, but the toothbrush will remain in the trap due to its shape. Getting objects out of the toilet trap requires you to take the whole toilet off the floor so you can get to it from the bottom. Doing this can be a pain, so, start by eliminating other possible causes.

In most cases, hiring a professional is recommended since mistakes could lead to more problems and higher costs.

Cause #5: Hard Water

Most homeowners don’t know the difference between hard and soft water. Hard water calcifies, forming a white substance that restricts water and waste flow through the system. It’s hard to remove this mineral buildup.

How hard water is determines how many minerals are in the water. For a short-term fix, have a plumber pour a solution to flush out the system. A long-term fix would be adding a water softener in the system. The water softener treats the water before it reaches the system, thereby preventing the problem from recurring.

Cause #6: Flushing Foreign Objects

The toilet is designed to dispose of toilet paper and waste only. Flushing other objects might cause a blockage since they don’t break down in water the way toilet paper does. Most objects may fit in the bowl, but not through the pipes.

Only flush waste and paper products to avoid clogging the toilet. Also, observe children in the house and don’t let them flush down toys or any other objects they may want to experiment with. Place a bin in the toilet for the disposal of non-flushable objects.

Cause #7: Sewer Line Problems

Regular clogs may indicate a clog in the main sewer line. A buildup of waste or non-flushable material in the sewer line could cause a clog. Also, tree roots could grow into the sewer line system, creating a clog that won’t go away no matter how hard you plunge. Get a plumber to do a video inspection of your system. They will identify what is causing the clog and offer a solution to clear it out.

Cause #8: Old Pipework

Collapsing pipes can be a significant cause of a clog. Initially, you’ll have sediments backwash. However, as the problem progresses, you will have slow drains in multiple toilets or other drains in your house. With time, it might be very costly to rectify the issue. Call a plumber once you identify these signs to keep the problem from escalating.