Unclogging a Toilet When You're a Renter

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Colin's Construction Blog: Building a House

Hi, there! My name is Colin. Last year, I finally completed some construction work on my home. For many years, I had been meaning to do lots of jobs around the place. I wanted to install a new bathroom downstairs. However, I had no idea how to do this so I avoided everything. My wife continued to complain about the lack of progress so I eventually contacted a team of contractors. A plumber, an electrician and a construction team visited my home and completed the work. As they did so, they taught me an awful lot about the best way to complete the job. I hope you find my blog useful.

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Unclogging a Toilet When You're a Renter

18 June 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


If you're a renter and the toilet is clogged up, you may be wondering what you should do. You need to be careful not to damage your landlord's toilet or plumbing, but you also want to try to avoid an expensive bill. Here are some ideas to try:

1. Grab the Plunger

A lot of toilet clogs can be removed quickly and easily with plunging. Essentially, the plunger forces air into the pipes, and that forces most clogs down the system. If you don't have a plunger, buy one. Whether you're a renter or a homeowner, it's an essential and affordable tool.

2. Try Chemicals

If the plunger doesn't work, you can safely use unclogging chemicals in most toilets. These products are available at most hardware stores. Follow the instructions on the bottle and pour the recommended amount of product down the drain. The chemicals effectively break down a number of clogs.

3. Carefully Remove the Toilet

Plungers and chemicals usually won't make a dent on toys, cloth diapers or similar types of items if they have been put down the toilet. However, many of those items get stuck in the s-bend, and it is possible to remove them manually.

If you can't reach the item by putting your hand into the toilet, you may need to remove the toilet. Start by bailing out any excess water or waste from the toilet with an old bucket. Then, shut off the water to the toilet. In most cases, the knob is on the pipes directly behind the toilet.

Grab a heavy duty spanner and remove the bolts holding the toilet to the floor. Usually, these bolts are hidden behind a plastic cap on the base of the toilet. When the bolts are done, pull the toilet toward you. You may want to have towels handy for any water that escapes. If you see the offending object, grab it, remove it, and replace the toilet.

4. Call the Landlord

If you can't solve the clog with any of the above strategies, it's time to call your landlord. Don't try to use plumbing snakes or wire hangers. Those tools could break the pipes, and that could lead to costly repairs. It could also put you in breach of your lease. Let the landlord know that the toilet is clogged, and ask him or her to call a plumber for you.

5. Check the Lease

To see who's responsible for the plumber's fees, check your lease. Some leases specify whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for plumbing issues. In some cases, it may depend on how involved you were in the issue. For instance, the cost may be the landlord's responsibility if the clog came from a tree root or another issue outside the house, but it may be your responsibility if it was clogged by flushing something that wasn't supposed to go down the toilet.  

Contact companies like A and C Plumbing for more information and assistance.