The Hazards of Flushable Wipes

Are Flushable Wipes Safe to Flush?

You’ve heard of icebergs, how about fatbergs? A fatberg is a congealed mass of flushable wipes, feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers, and other items that should never be flushed down the toilet. They combine with solidified fat – another plumbing hazard – and form fatbergs. Sound gross? They are and can destroy residential and municipal systems. Yes, this means you could have a fatberg in your home if you aren’t conscientious about what you flush down the toilet or pour down the sink. Smaller fatbergs, which you’re more likely to find in a house, are known as softball clogs and are as equally damaging.

Fatbergs and softball clogs can jam up sewers and septic tanks, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages and repairs, and you end up paying for it one way or another. It could be through plumbing repairs to your property or increased municipal usage charges to pay for damages to the city’s water treatment/sewage plant.

While disposable wipes may be advertised as biodegradable, most of them aren’t. They are made of a fibrous material that won’t dissolve in water like toilet paper does. And while disposable wipes may appear to flush completely down your toilet, it’s inevitable that somewhere along the journey, they will get jammed up and form a clog.

The best remedy is to not flush disposable wipes down the toilet but throw them in the trash. If that is unappealing, find a small trashcan with a lid that you can open with a foot lever. Use an odor-killing liner and throw the contents away regularly. Another option is to install a bidet, which Atlas Butler can help you source and install.

If you have a clogged toilet, damaged pipes, or sluggish septic tank, call the Atlas Butler plumbing pros at 614-681-2183. Our phone is answered by a live person 24/7, and in most cases, you can get a same-day appointment. While we won’t lecture you (because accidents do happen), we may give you a friendly reminder about what shouldn’t go down your sink or toilet.

2022-12-07T17:11:48-05:00November 12th, 2022|Maintenance, Toilets|

Causes of Sewage Backups

Common Sewage Backup Causes

If you are experiencing more clogged and slow drains, sewage in your basement, and a foul odor from your sinks or toilets, you may have a backed-up sewer. There are many causes of a sewer backup, including grease, coffee grounds, food waste, hair, and even tree roots. Other causes can be heavy rain, sump pump failure, or aging and cracked pipes. If you suspect that your sewer is backed up, call Atlas Butler right away at 614-681-2183. Our phone is answered 24/7, and in most cases, we can come out the same day.

Some signs of blocked sewer lines include multiple clogged drains, toilets that won’t flush, a gurgling sound when you run water, and a nasty odor in the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. There are several ways to unblock sewer lines, but first, the sewer lines will need to be inspected using a small flexible camera. One is the use of chemicals to go into the pipes and dissolve clogs and in some cases, even small tree roots. There is also “industrial vacuuming,” where a heavy-duty suction is used to extract debris from the pipes. Yet another option is high-pressure drain cleaning, where a jet of high-pressure water is forced through the pipes to break up clogs.

Once the sewer pipes are unclogged, practice good sanitation habits in your home. Avoid pouring grease or fat down the kitchen sink, as well as coffee grounds, eggshells, pasta, and food waste like vegetable and fruit peelings. In the bathroom, only organic waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet; no feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers, etc.

Some experts recommend having your sewer lines cleaned every three-to-five years. Your Atlas Butler technician will inspect your sewer lines and make the best recommendations for cleaning them out. We have been a trusted emergency plumbing and HVAC service provider to Central Ohio for more than 100 years and you can count on us to get your drains and toilets flowing freely once again.

2022-09-20T09:47:03-04:00August 20th, 2022|Around the House, Toilets|

What NOT to Flush Down the Toilet

Avoiding a Clogged Toilet

One of the most common service calls we receive is to fix a clogged toilet. And, more often than not, the clog is caused by what was flushed down the toilet. Clogged toilets are not only an inconvenience, but they can also cause extensive damage to your plumbing system. Of course, there are also other causes of a clogged toilet, such as infiltration of your sewer lines by tree roots or other debris, but your best course of action is to call a plumber, such as the service pros at Atlas Butler. We can assess the situation, unclog your toilet and recommend the next steps to be taken.

Here is a list of items that should never be flushed down the toilet:

  1. Disposable diapers and baby wipes. These products do not break down in water, thus leading to serious clogs.
  2. Feminine hygiene products. Sanitary napkins and tampons are designed to absorb liquid and expand in water.
  3. Cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are made of toxic chemicals which pollute water.
  4. Q-tips, cotton balls, and cotton pads. These items do not break down in water and create clogs.
  5. Medications. Most drugs don’t break down in toilet water and can cause introduce toxins to the waste water system.
  6. Paper towels, tissues, and too much toilet paper. Paper products don’t disintegrate in water and can result in clogs. While toilet paper is biodegradable, using too much can sometimes clog the toilet.
  7. Cat litter and pet waste. Despite packing claims, cat litter does not break down in water and can cause clogs. In addition, pet waste can include parasites that can infiltrate the water system.
  8. Dental floss and hair. While vastly different in composition, both cause the same plumbing problems — acting as a net or “nest” to collect debris and thus, clog pipes.

If you have a clogged toilet, contact Atlas Butler at 614-681-2183 to schedule a toilet repair appointment. Our phones are answered 24/7 by a live person. We have 24-hour access to parts and the largest service fleet in Central Ohio. Our licensed plumbers will unclog your toilet and if the problem is unrelated to what was flushed down the toilet, can make recommendations on how to proceed with repairs – whether it is to replace the toilet or repair aging or damaged pipes inside or outside your home.

2022-09-20T09:47:17-04:00June 26th, 2022|Around the House, Maintenance, Toilets|

Tips for Removing Rust Stains on Your Toilet

Dealing with Toilet Rust Stains

Rust stains in your toilet bowl are unsightly and are often founds in homes where there is a high level of iron in the water. In older homes with iron pipes, the pipes may be naturally deteriorating and leaching iron into the water. The good news is that iron won’t harm you, but if don’t address it, it can further damage your plumbing system. Removing iron stains from your toilet is pretty easy. It’s important to stay on top of it so the cleaning process doesn’t become more difficult over time. The licensed plumbers at Atlas Butler can check your plumbing system to see how the iron situation can be remedied. In many cases, adding a water filtration (softening) system will remove excess iron from your water. With older homes with pipes that are wearing out, the solution is to replace the iron pipes with ones made from copper or PEX.

If you want to use natural products to remove rust stains from your toilet bowl, you’ll need white distilled vinegar and baking soda. Do not use bleach as it can actually exacerbate the rust stains. Flush the toilet and you can also temporarily shut off the water to keep the bowl from refilling while you’re cleaning it. Mix a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar and spray the toilet bowl. You can also use a 3:1 mixture of baking soda and vinegar to create a paste to apply to stubborn stains. Let the vinegar or paste set for a couple of hours, then scrub using a soft cloth or old toothbrush. Turn the water back on and flush the toilet. To stay on top of a rust problem, once a week, you can add  1-2 cups of vinegar to the toilet bowl, scrub and flush.  There are also commercial products you can buy to remove rust stains but some of them may contain harsher chemicals than natural solutions.

If you want to conduct further investigation of heavy iron presence in your water, contact Atlas Butler at 614-681-2183. We can help you determine if a water softening system is the best solution for your home or replace your existing toilet with a shiny new white one. Our phones are answered 24/7/365 and in most cases, are available for same-day appointments.

2022-07-26T15:40:24-04:00May 21st, 2022|Around the House, Maintenance, Toilets|

Reasons Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush

Dealing With A Broken Toilet

If you’re having people over, whether it’s for a holiday gathering or to watch the playoffs, the last thing you need is a toilet that won’t flush. Not only is it embarrassing, but annoying. The good news is that this problem can usually be easily fixed. However, if all of your DIY attempts fail, then reach out to the plumbers at Atlas Butler. In most cases, we will arrive the same day you call for service and our phone is answered by a live person 24/7.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your toilet won’t flush.


Clogs can result from putting too much toilet paper in the bowl or trying to flush objects like disposable diapers or feminine hygiene products. In other cases, it could be that a child tried to flush toys or other items down the toilet. See if you can fish out whatever is causing the clog from the toilet and you can also try using a plunger. Here are some things you should never flush down the toilet.

Water Levels in the Tank

The toilet tank should fill up to within one inch below the top of the overflow valve. It could be that the water valve was shut off. Turn the valve back on and see if that tank will fill up to the recommended level.

Flapper Needs Replaced

When the toilet is flushed, the flapper opens to allow water from the tank to rush into the bowl. If the flapper is cracked or warped, it won’t be able to close properly and the tank can’t refill. Flappers are inexpensive and you can easily replace them yourself.

Tangled Chain

The lift chain raises and lowers the flapper when you flush the toilet. Sometimes, the chain can wrap around itself so it doesn’t have enough length to operate the flapper. You can straighten out the chain and everything should work just fine. If the chain has other damage, it should be replaced.

If none of these solutions work, then give Atlas Butler a call at 614-681-2183. We have served Central Ohio for more than 100 years, and you can count on us to get your toilet flushing properly right away.

2022-04-22T14:46:43-04:00January 18th, 2022|Around the House, Maintenance, Toilets|
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