Removing Toys And Beer Cans From Toilet Trap
Is That Tank Empty Or Full?
Recycling Garbage Disposer Snap Rings

Removing Toys And Beer Cans From Toilet Trap

Sending an auger down a clogged toilet is pretty basic. But sometimes you run into something that can’t be pushed through the trap of the toilet or grabbed by the auger, such as a child’s toy, a crushed beer can or something slim such as a broken pencil. Many plumbers will give up and tell the customer that the toilet must be replaced. Some even offer to smash the toilet with a hammer so they can both see what was causing the “unfixable” blockage.

I’ve found a way to clear these blockages and save the customer a lot of money. First, pull the seat off the toilet. If it is warm weather, I take the toilet outside. Set the toilet upside down on a soft surface such as the lawn. Run the auger backwards through the toilet trapway (i.e, insert the auger into the bottom outlet of the toilet where the wax ring goes). If you do it carefully, you won’t put scuff marks in the bowl. If that doesn’t do it, run water from a garden hose backwards throught the toilet trapway.

In most instances, these methods will eject the object into the bowl or onto the lawn. Reinstall the toilet and let the customer know you saved him the cost of a new toilet.

Ryan Abrahamson
Abrahamson LLC Plumbing
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Is That Tank Empty Or Full?

The guys in our shop always seemed to return gas B bottles or tanks without letting anyone know they were empty. They would pick up a full one out of the rack and replace it with an empty one. We devised a simple solution to prevent someone from taking an empty bottle he thinks is full. We bought inexpensive, plastic PVC insulating/suspension clamps or two-hole pipe clamps and write “empty” or “full” on them. They are easily attached to bottles or tanks so everyone knows which are empty and which are full.

Dave Waggoner
Dave Waggoner Plumbing & Heating
Kearney, Neb.

Recycling Garbage Disposer Snap Rings

Next time you replace an old garbage disposer, save the snap ring. In my plumbing van, we use the old snap rings to hold supply line nuts and ferrules, 1 1/2-inch slip nuts and gaskets, and 1 1/4-inch nuts and gaskets. It’s easy to store a ring of parts in a tool box, keeping them in one place.

Jack O’Neal
Jack the Plumber
Virginia Beach, Va.