Unclogging A Toilet On Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Unclogging A Toilet On Shabbat 🚽


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

May one unclog a drain or toilet on Shabbat?


Answer:

One may not unclog a clogged drain or toilet that is completely clogged to the point where there is no water seeping through the clog. However, one may ask a non-Jew to unclog the clog if it is unbearable, such as if one does not have another toilet or if it is emanating a repulsive odor. If calling a non-Jew is not possible, then it can be unclogged by a shinuy, such as by having two people hold the plunger at the same time. If the water is slowly seeping through the clog and it will be set free by a few pumps of a plunger without very much effort then it is permitted to do so on Shabbat even in the regular manner. Similarly, one may pour hot water (from a kli sheni) on congealed fat or other substance that is blocking one’s drain. [1]


Similarly, one may unclog a gutter on one’s roof on Shabbat, but it must be done with a shinuy (such as by using one’s foot to unclog it) and privately. [2]


Sources:

[1]. See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 331; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 254; Yabia Omer, 5:35 and vol. 9, 108:159. See also in Igrot Moshe, O.C., vol. 4, 40:9 and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 2, p. 223 (27:12).

[2]. Shulchan Aruch 336:9. See also in Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 334 and Levyat Chen 103.


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