Help. My 5 yr old flushed a plastic ball. How can I get it out? The bowl fills up and drains super slowly. This is gonna cost me isn't it?
By Dee from L.C., LA
You could rent or see if your family members have an auger (snake like wire) that you can use to feed through it and then you just sort of crank the handle on it which will move the item around and hopefully loosen it or move it on through or might even pull it back out as you pull the auger back out. And try it a few times before you give up on it. They use to be a item you saw quite often in the olden days that homes had so your family might have one, or you can rent them from rental places that rent other equipment like outdoor ditch witches and smaller backhoes etc.
Check your local yellow pages under rental equipment. It should rent for about $20 or less for the day. Other than that the only option would be to call a plumber which I'm sure will cost you $40 or more for the visit. Here is what they look like. And I just looked on Home Depot and saw they sell a air type cylinder that you can put in and it releases to unclog although not sure what that does exactly.
If you can feel the ball, you might be able to screw something into it (to use like a handle) to pull it back out. Or if you can cut into it with a sharp knife, you might be able to get your finger in to pull it out. Just be sure to turn the water off at the wall handle, so that if your efforts push it in a bit further, you won't flood your bathroom. Good luck! (05/17/2009)
I wonder if you could vacuum it out with the hose on your vacuum sweeper. Just put the hose tight up against the ball, and then pull on it gently so as to not break the suction. I would drain all the water out of the bowl first. If you have (or can borrow) a shop vac, that might work better. They're made to vacuum water as well as dirt. (05/17/2009)
I'm agreeing with the one who suggested using a snake, here where I live they are like $12 a day. (05/17/2009)
When my daughter flushed a bar of soap we had to take up the toilet to remove it. You may want to replace the wax ring if you end up doing that to remove the ball. (05/17/2009)
If you live in an apartment building "do not" snake it! You will just push the ball into the pipes and possibly end up clogging the entire building! Snaking will only push the ball farther causing a bigger issue! First get a new wax ring for the toilet, you will need that after you pull the toilet out. This is really the only safe way to do this.
Then get a toilet lid lock so the child can't do it again. LOL! Good luck! (05/17/2009)
Do not use a snake! You need to remove the toilet. Buy a wax ring, I usually buy 2, one with a horn one without. You never know which one they used and sometimes the floors are uneven and you need 2 anyway. You can return the extra if not needed.
Find a putty knife. Check the bolts that hold down the toilet what size are they? Find wrench or socket that will fit.
To start: Turn off the water (shut off is usually under the tank). Flush, plunge all the water out. Use rags to get the last of it in the toilet. Check the toilet at this point you may be able to reach the ball since the water is gone.
Is any water still coming into the tank? if so that means the shut off is not working so you have to trace the line and find another shut off and close it. If not continue: Toss rags into the tank. Get the last of the water out of there.
Undo the toilet water supply under the tank. This is above the shut off. Usually a wrench or large pliers is all you need.
Undo the bolts on the toilet base. If they are corroded you may have to replace them (reg hardware store has them - not expensive). Sit on toilet and slightly rock side to side. This will "break" the seal.
Have extra rags and newspapers, and also a plastic grocery bag. Find some tape or something to mark position. Put tape on both sides of the base and front and on floor. Draw lines to match up (*this will save you the hassle when you try to reposition the toilet by yourself).
Stand up, face toilet, bend at knees, grab the toilet and move it to the side on the newspaper. Using the putty knife scrape off the old wax ring. It may be on toilet and the pipe base. Does it have a plastic piece in it? You may not be able to tell.
I personally like the horn type it's easier to put back. Reach inside the toilet if the ball did not fall out. If it's not there then its down the pipe. With luck you can see it, use shop vacuum to grab it.
To put the toilet back: you want all the lines on the toilet and the floor to match up, that should make it easy to put back in the right spot. Sit on toilet to "seat" the wax ring. If you do not feel a certain amount of movement that means it's not touching the metal pipe. You will need to add another wax ring (*Many times in older homes they add flooring and do not extend the pipe).
Replace the toilet bolts if needed. Tighten but "not" super tight (it will crack the toilet). BTW since you have to pull the toilet you might consider replacing it with a low flow. I did and am amazed how well it works.
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