I live in an old condo apartment.

My toilet just backed up. It backed up several times before and I managed to unclog it every time, but it's nothing like I've seen before this time because I don't see anything in the toilet and water is clean. It just takes about 2 minutes for water to go down the drain. And when it does, water is almost completely drained so that water level is below the hole and then it rises back just above the hole. This is unusual since the toilet is normally half full.

I tried a plunger, bleach, and baking soda + vinegar, but no luck. Any idea?

It's really cold here so toilet water is very cold, too, if that helps at all.

  • Do the pipes go outside the house or through an unheated space? Some water may have frozen in the line. Try slowly pouring some warmed water down the toilet for a while to dislodge and reduce any ice blocks. Do not use boiling or scalding water in case it splashes, or the pipe has burst somewhere.
    – K.A.Monica
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 4:50
  • I believe the pipes are buried since it's a high rise. It's -1 celsius outside as we speak, so I don't think water has frozen.
    – Tom Tucker
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


Those symptoms indicate that the blockage is likely beyond the trap that's built into the toilet bowl. It may be where the toilet meets the floor near the wax seal, or it may be even further down the line. If a plunger isn't dislodging the blockage (remember the goal is to suck up, not push down with the plunger), then you can get an auger that's specially designed for toilets (and I would recommend the longer version just in case your clog is further down the line):

toilet auger


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