A Toy Block Won’t Clog a Toilet but a Couple Hundred of Them Will

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Some things you save as a parent to remind your kids of later. Those embarrassing little things they did as toddlers are wonderful when they get a bit out of hand as teenagers. Just threatening to release the information to their friends can get them to comply. If I was to keep a book of such things, then last weeks episode of needing expert drain cleaning in Bergen County NJ would be a prime example. Flushing a couple of those toy blocks that connect together to make larger objects will not clog a toilet. They just squeeze on through the sewer line without incident. However, flushing a bunch of them over time coupled with a damaged pipe section where they can gather will stop up the main sewer line solid.

I was in the laundry room at the lowest part of the house. I heard the toilet flush upstairs as I was rinsing out an article of clothing in the washtub that has two large deep sink bowls side by side. I had the drain plug in on the right with water in the sink, and watched as water started coming up out of the drain on the left. It had bits of toilet paper mixed in with it, and it smelled awful. What was flushed down the commode was now backing up into the drain pipes. Every drop of water going down was now filling up the pipes rather than it draining away.

I called the plumber right away. Snaking the drain ended up getting a couple of the blocks stuck on the end of the coiled rotating tool. When the plumber pulled the coil back out of the drain, I identified the blocks right away. I knew which kid was the culprit too. A camera inspection revealed a pipe that had a ridge at a joint that was a catch point for debris. The blocks, being hard, just got stuck there. The plumber was able to fix the problem, and I had a talk with the offending child. Looking through his toys reveled he must have flushed a couple hundred of those blocks over a few hours time. I’m still trying to figure out why he did it.

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