If your toilet drain cannot be cleared by using a drain snake, you may need to remove the toilet and slip further into the slimy mire that is your toilet drain. Removing your toilet is relatively easy, but preparation for removal takes some time and effort. However, you will look back upon the prep work with fondness when you begin to use a drain snake in your toilet drain.
What is a drain snake?
It is essentially a flexible metal cable with an auger on the end. The auger resembles a loose spring that can burrow through sludge that has accumulated inside your drain pipe, as well as snag a larger object that is creating a blockage and pull it out as the cable snake is retracted.
Drain snakes work by spinning their way through the drain pipe. This is accomplished either by hand, which is easier on old pipes, or by mechanical means. Some snakes can be attached to power drills, while plumbing professionals have drain snakes that have the own power source.
For this project, you will use a manual snake, which is basically a metal cable with a handle to turn it.
Removing your toilet
You need old newspaper, rags, or towels, because the floor will likely get wet. You will begin by turning off the supply valve to your toilet, which is located below the left side of the tank.
When the valve is completely turned off, you will flush the toilet a few times until you can empty the toilet tank and bowl of as much water as possible. Use rags to absorb the remaining water in the tank and bowl.
Using an adjustable wrench, you will remove the two bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. Lifting the toilet may require two people, because it is both slightly heavy and awkwardly shaped.
Lift the toilet straight up to avoid damage to the wax ring on the bottom of the toilet. This ring is seated between the toilet and floor drain flange to prevent leaks. If the wax seal is damaged, you will need to clean off the remnants of the seal from the toilet flange and the drain, measure the circumference of the toilet flange, and buy another wax seal before replacing the toilet.
Snaking the toilet drain
Place the cable into the drain pipe and begin to feed it slowly into the drain as you simultaneously turn the handle. These actions will allow the auger to burrow deeper into the drain. When you meet resistance, spin the handle a few more times to try to snag any solid clogging agent.
Be sure to wear gloves as you retract the snake, because it will be covered with a smelly black sludge that is caused by years of contamination of the pipes. This material is not only odorous and stain-producing, but it may also contain dangerous bacteria.
Even if you pull up a large clog, try the snake again to see if you can go farther into the drain. There may be more material inside.
When you're reached the end of your snake, reel it in, clean it, and put it away.
Restoring the toilet
If you need to replace the wax ring, push it onto the toilet flange on the bottom of the toilet with the larger side facing downward. You will then place the toilet flange (and toilet) over the drain pipe and press the toilet downward to secure the wax ring.
Next, replace the two bolts that hold the toilet is place. Don't over-tighten them or you may crack the toilet base.
You will then turn on the supply valve to the toilet and let the tank fill. Flush the toilet. Hopefully, there were no clogs beyond the reach of your snake. If your toilet is still clogged, call a plumbing services professional from a company like Knights Plumbing & Drain. You've done all you could.