Ask the Drain Brains: Solving Stubborn Toilet & Urinal Problems
Ask the Drain Brains
By Marty Silverman
General Pipe Cleaners
Q: I’ve got apartments where the toilets clog constantly and the plunger just isn’t doing the job. Is there anything better I can use to do the job right?
A: The best tool for clearing a clogged toilet is the closet auger. No other drain cleaning tool will go through the toilet as quickly and easily. The spring is flexible enough to get through the tight bends in the bowl and either break up the clog or retrieve the obstruction (children’s toys, diapers, etc.). Some closet augers come with a flexible down head that helps guide the cable around tight bends in older bowls. Most low-flow bowls are easier to get through with a regular spring head.
Consumer grade closet augers available in hardware stores and home centers use a hollow snake that can kink easily. As a maintenance professional, you should be using a professional grade closet auger with multiple layer inner core cable to resist kinking and abuse. They are available through most plumbing supply houses.
You should also consider a telescoping auger. If you’ve ever had to remove a bowl because the stoppage was in the line just beyond the toilet, you’ll know why. The telescoping auger hides an extra three feet of cable in the handle. Then when you need it, you just push a button and the extra length of cable slides right out.
The tight bends of a urinal are particularly vexing. Getting a urinal auger just for this purpose will make your life much easier. But remember, the more flexible the snake, the less durable it usually is.