Since the stay-at-home order has been in effect across the United States, more families are spending time at home than ever before while sheltering in place. Amid the panicking and hoarding, interestingly, toilet paper has been hard to find on the store shelves. Most people have resorted to using some alternative to toilet paper, and this has put a strain on our plumbing systems.

Flushing disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, paper towels, rags and other items that are not meant to go down the commode can cause clogged drain pipes and backups. So, how do we shelter in place during this pandemic and keep our plumbing systems happy and flowing as they should? Most importantly, we need to be aware of what we are putting down the drain.

The most common reason a toilet will back up while you are sheltering in place is that some solid material has been flushed down the drain that may not move out of the system because it does not flow smoothly through the pipe, won’t break down, or has gotten lodged within somewhere. For a clog-free toilet and drain system while you shelter in place, only flush things that are meant to be flushed.

If in question of whether to flush your paper alternative, simply dispose of the refuse in the trash can. Better safe than sorry! We know that flushing your toilet paper alternative is tempting but if you back up your pipes, you will quickly regret not being more attentive, and having to call a professional plumber is going to cost you time and money, on top of the self-induced inconvenience.

Another way to help keep your plumbing system running smoothly while you are sheltering in place is to add an extra flush. Sometimes, one flush may not do the trick to clear the paper down the drain, especially if your flush does not seem to have much power. All toilets have a flush rating and it does not have to have the power of a commercial toilet flush to do the trick, yet to maintain a powerful flush, the toilet tank water levels need to be at a certain level. The toilet flapper regulates how long water is allowed to flow to create the flush. So, an adjustment to the time the flapper stays open could give you a stronger flush. Regardless of flush power, it should be powerful enough water force to push waste down the drain.

To keep your toilet and drainage system running well, it is good to inspect it often. Look for signs of a backed-up drain like gurgling sounds, foul smells, high levels of water in the bowl, overflowing water or other leaks. These warning signs mean that your toilet may need the help of a professional plumber that can help you diagnose the problem and offer you a proper fix.

Having trouble with a clogged toilet while sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic? At Tony & Son Plumbing, we are a licensed and skilled professional plumbing company. All work is done by the owner, Tony, who has achieved the status of a Master Plumber and Gas Certified fitter. Our quality service goes above and beyond your average, local plumber. With over 37 years of experience serving customers in the Hampton Roads community in the plumbing and gas service industry, we are your best pick for a Virginia Beach plumber.

If you are looking for help with your toilet, drain systems, or any other plumbing or gas issue while you are sheltering in place during this global pandemic, give us a call at (757) 675-6266. We offer prompt service, quality parts, honest assessments and free estimates!