Why do my toilets keep backing up?

Common reasons your toilets to keep backing up are:

  • There’s not enough water in the tank
  • There’s a clog in the drain line
  • The main line for the house is clogged
  • There is an object stuck in the trap

A common plumbing problem in Ocean City, NJ and nearby towns

Here in Avalon, Ocean City and other Jersey shore points, Broadley’s gets a lot of plumbing service calls around Memorial Day.

It’s the time of year when people are opening up properties for the season and discovering all sorts of problems that have been growing over the months.

But, the problem doesn’t only occur in the summer nor rentals, shore houses, or second homes.

It’s something that can bubble up – literally, unfortunately – any time of the year.

The good news, however, is that in many cases it’s a quick fix. And, in some situations, you can fix it yourself.

In others, though, you’ll need to call a professional. But, even then, most problems can be cleared up in a single visit.

Broadley’s has experience in Marmora, Stone Harbor, Upper Township, NJ, and other nearby towns.

And we stock each truck with virtually everything we’d need to fix a plumbing problem.

This cuts down on your repair time when we don’t have to run back to the shop for something. It’s a real lifesaver, especially on an emergency plumber call.

So, what’s causing your backup?

Not enough water in the tank

We see this problem more and more as low-flow toilets become more popular. Early models had the right idea, but not always enough strength to do the job.

If there’s not enough pressure to move the contents of the toilet, then those contents won’t make it through your pipes.

Early model low flow toilets get backed up easily.

It’s a problem the industry is working on. But, that won’t help you much in the moment.

Here’s what you can do.

First, check the year stamp on the tank. If it’s a low flow from 1994 (when these models first came out) to 1997, you’ll need two flushes.

Those early models weren’t all that strong.

Next, try raising the level of water in the tank. You can do this by adjusting the level or balloon in there. The higher it is, the more water will fill the tank.

Also, tighten the chain attached to the flap. When it’s loose, the flap may close too quickly.

Finally, use a lime remover or drain cleaner. A sediment buildup could be blocking the way. If you’ve got an early-model low-flow, even a little can make the toilet back up regularly.

Drain repair and replacement in Marmora, NJ

If water levels, aren’t the problem, then there’s probably a clog. In some cases, it’s easy to clear. In others, you can get rid of the blockage, but there’s some damage to the pipes.

Fortunately,you can address all your drain repair and replacement problems in Marmora, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Upper Township, and Ocean City, NJ with a quick call to Broadley’s.

Broadley's Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Marmora, NJ

For simple clogs, we partner with Drain Doctors. If it’s absolutely certain there’s a clog, we’ll direct you to them.

If it seems like there’s a bigger problem, we’ll come out as well and handle the repair work.

For instance, we see this a lot of drain damage when foreign objects were stuck in the pipes. Or, if tree branches stressed or cracked the mainline.

Even using drain cleaners that are too caustic can eventually damage the pipes and cause leaks. Or, if you tried to clear a deep clog and did it wrong, there could now be a permanent problem in the line.

Object stuck in the trap

Most parents are all too familiar with this problem: There’s an object stuck in the trap, or S-pipe or P-trap.

What is it with some kids and flushing anything they can find down the toilet?

We’re not sure, but we know how to fix it. Oh, and adults are guilty of this, too.

We’ve seen everything down there on emergency plumber calls: Toy cars, doll heads, sanitary products cigarette butts, you name it.

But, let’s back up a second (no pun intended).

an S-pipe, or P-Pipe or trap, prevents odors from entering the house but can also get clogged.

Your toilet’s trap prevents odors and sewer gases from coming through the toilet and into your house.

If you look on your sinks, you’ve got them there, too. But, they also prevent blockages further down the line.

If the trap clogs in a sink, it’s much easier to take out the pipe and clean it than deal with a blockage much further down.

Your toilet will do the same thing. But, it’s way harder to access. That causes a backup.

If you’re handy with a toilet snake, you can try clearing the trap yourself.

You’ll also hear about some home remedies like using vinegar or hand soap to loosen a large piece of waste. But, that won’t work if there’s a solid object, like a toy, down there.

If you don’t want to risk further damaging your toilet or pipes, give us a call, and we’ll take care of it right away.

Clogged drain pipe

If the trap isn’t the problem, then the next place to check is the drain pipe. That’s the line in your house connecting the toilet to the main line outside.

When there’s a blockage past the toilet, there’s not much you can do about it yourself. It requires professional equipment that can reach that far down the line.

Even if you can get that far, you run the risk of causing some major damage where you can’t see what’s going on.

Broadley's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning handles all HVAC and plumbing problems from Ocean City to Cape May County

However, you can check yourself to see if that’s the problem before calling us.

Flush and watch the sinks and showers or tubs in the same room. Does any water bubble up there?

If so, you’ve got a drain line clog. The water has no place to go and backs up through the lines.

Fortunately, we can fix this problem from inside the house. But, there could be a bigger problem outside.

Mainline vs drain line clog

In principle, a mainline clog vs. a drain clog is about the same: Something is in the way of the path your toilet wastewater takes to get out of your house.

The difference, however, is where the clog’s located– and what it takes to remove it.

A mainline clog occurs outside the house. It’s in the part of the piping that connects to the neighborhood’s main sewer line.

Even though it’s outside, it’s still the responsibility of the property owner. And, it’s much harder to reach.

Often, the work requires digging outside. It’s a big job that costs a lot more than a problem inside the house.

The symptoms are similar, but you can try to get an idea of whether the problem is the drain or mainline.

Do the same thing you did before: flush the toilet. This time, however, watch for bubbling, gurgling or other problems in the basement or first floor.

Similarly, run and drain the washing machine. Does that cause a problem elsewhere?

When it’s a drain line problem, the symptoms only show up in one area. Even if your bathroom line is clogged, the rest of the house is clear.

When it’s the mainline, your entire home is affected.

A mainline backup is a clog in the line that connects your home's plumbing to your town's sewer system.

Avoid mainline plumbing scams

Unfortunately, mainline problems are also ripe for ripoffs. You can’t see the problem on your own, and scammers know this.

That’s why you should make your call to a trusted plumbing services company that’s been around for decades.

And, always ask for a camera inspection. Whoever comes out should be able to snake a camera through the pipes and show you the problem.

At Broadley’s, we’re confident we know the exact problem before suggesting a big-ticket repair. And, we’ll make sure you understand everything and feel comfortable before we begin.

Call Broadley’s right away for plumbing services and emergency plumbing problems in Marmora, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Upper Township or Ocean City, NJ. Many problems can be cleared up in one visit.