December 02, 2011 04:00 ET

The Inconvenience of a Blocked Toilet at Christmas

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2011) - It is the most unwanted of Christmas presents. The sudden announcement that a toilet is not flushing, or worse, is already overflowing onto the floor…

Christmas of course means most businesses close down so finding an emergency plumber can be challenging and when you do, it can be costly. Some of the larger chain operations offer fixed price callouts and although that price may be higher than the local plumber, they operate 24/7 for 365 days and they do not have the extra charges in the form of callouts and premium hourly rates for holidays so be sure not to be fooled by a higher total price which could actually save you money. To be sure you have the best service at the best price, it's important to check that the quoted 'from' price and/or the total price is inclusive of VAT, call out charge and hourly rate.

Christmas is when you are often most at risk. You may well have a house full of guests and they place the maximum load (so to speak) on your ordinarily lightly-used plumbing and drainage systems.

Common Causes

What's more, small children have annoying habits of inserting objects into any available hole, just to see what happens. Plumbers will tell you of the many unlikely objects that they routinely find in toilets, from hairclips to combs to toys. Adults are little better, often consigning their beloved mobile phones to the U bend without realising as they slip from a pocket. People also wrongly view toilets as useful disposal devices for nappies, cotton wool, hand tissues and baby wipes: all of these are extremely likely to clog up waste systems, with a blocked toilet being the inevitable, expensive and often very messy result.

If the worst does happen, waste no time: turn off the water supply at a localized toilet stopcock or the main house one, which is usually sited under the kitchen sink. Another quick fix would be to lift the ballcock on the offending toilet's cistern and tape or chock it in the upright position to staunch any water inflow.

Then the most effective do-it-yourself solution is usually supplied by your kitchen mop (the type with strings of rope, not a sponge one). Cover the head with a plastic bag, secured to avoid it coming off and making matters worse, then use it as a plunger in the bowl, with your main stroke being the upwards one: your objective is to suck the obstruction out of position. You will know when it comes free when you hear the big glugging noise and things should start to flow again. If so, then you are free to mop up, wash up thoroughly and get back into to the party spirit.

Christmas Future

However, if this is not the first time the system has blocked you may have a more persistent problem in the form of an inadequate drainage outflow fall, a break in the pipe and possibly intruding tree roots.

Once the New Year has begun, you should consult expert drainage contractors who these days have sophisticated electrical and mechanical devices for investigating pipes, listening for flows and blockages, filming them and supplying evidence that can be used to get your insurers' approval before starting any repair works. So that by the time the festive season comes around again, you can be sure that everything - even the normal unmentionables - flows freely.

Contact Information

  • Dyno
    Sutherland House, Maple Road, SURBITON
    Surrey, KT6 4BJ
    020 8481 2200
    020 8481 2288 (FAX)