Handling Plumbing Emergencies During the Holidays
November 23, 2015 / Kathy Ziprik


As the old saying goes, “what goes in, must come out.” During the holidays, that can mean a lot of food going into our bodies and some potential problems coming out in the bathroom.

According to experts at Mansfield Plumbing, if your toilet stops functioning there are a few things you can do before opening up your wallet and calling an emergency plumbing service. Start with the common sense knowledge that a toilet does not change in function unless something happens to it. This means that if the toilet was flushing fine 15 minutes ago for Aunt Edna and now it doesn’t for Uncle Bob, then something has most likely gotten lodged in the trap way of the toilet.

If this happens and a plunging or auguring the bowl doesn’t fix the problem, then you can try to tackle the problem yourself if you’re a handy do-it-yourselfer. Start by turning off the water. Next, take the tank off the bowl and unbolt the toilet bowl from the floor. Remove it and take it outside and run a garden hose up through the outlet of the toilet. This will back flush the toilet and most times will dislodge the blockage.

Here are a few tips to help avoid emergency plumbing repairs and expenses:

Tip 1 – Post a nicely-worded sign in your guest bathroom asking family and friends to hold the handle down when flushing to give the toilet more water to wash away large amounts of waste and to siphon longer.

Tip 2 – If a toilet seems to “suck” all the water out of it when it flushes, add a quart or two of hot (not boiling) water to the bowl. Let it sit in there for about a half hour to loosen up any waste that may be clogging it before trying to flush again. If this doesn’t work, add a quarter cup of environmentally-friendly dish detergent and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Follow with very hot water and then flush.

Tip 3 – Keep a plunger visible and accessible in the bathroom so that guests don’t have to go scrambling to find it if needed.

Tip 4 – Stock up on over-the-counter products that can be used to help break apart clogs. Remember to follow directions and don’t try to substitute household cleaners or acid-type liquids for this task. Or, try a home remedy such as pouring one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl.

Tip 5 – Before guests arrive, give your toilet a thorough cleaning. Use a long-handled curved brush to reach deep into the toilet to make sure there are no existing clogs that could turn your Turkey Day into a bad memory.