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Old 12-07-2011, 08:12 PM   #1
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Another toilet not flushing thread


I'm sorry for posting yet another "toilet not flushing well" thread, but it appears that there are 100 reasons a toilet may not flush properly.

Ours is an intermittent problem.
Water reaches the top of the bowl, but only rarely overflows.
It sometimes appears that the flush is weak.
Augering brings up what appears to be rust.
If someone flushes with a bucket (sometimes my dad will take water from his bath to flush, using a bucket), then the next flush from the tank usually will not completely flush the toilet, even if there is nothing but water in the bowl.

The house is 80 years old, with the original plumbing, but the toilet was replaced within the past 20 years with an American Standard.

Twice over the past 7 days, the toilet has refused to flush. Augering took more than one shot, going full throttle on the (hand operated) auger.

My thoughts are:
Corroded/clogged pipes (especially elbows) between the toilet and the stack.
Clogged roof vent.
Toilet trap is clogged/corroded.

I think it's time to call a qualified plumber to inspect the situation.
There is nothing more I can do myself here.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks

FW

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Old 12-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Another toilet not flushing thread


does the toilet flush every time with a bucket....if it does... replace toilet...

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Old 12-07-2011, 08:20 PM   #3
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Another toilet not flushing thread


Ok first if you are not getting enough water then open the tank and above the flapper "rubber gasket connected with a chain" you will see where the water exits into the tank on the top of that you will see a set screw "little plastic screw" turn that counter clockwise to adjust water level in tank. that is the first thing i would do.


http://www.ehow.com/how_2070148_adju...ter-level.html

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Old 12-07-2011, 09:40 PM   #4
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Another toilet not flushing thread


Thanks guys;
I'll try both of the suggestions first.
I think I should also do some testing with various amounts of paper in the bowl. I can keep the tank open, so can stop the flow immediately if the bowl starts to fill up.

This toilet has a bad history. It has backed up to overflowing several times over the past few years, and lately has not been flushing reliably.
We have found that we must use only single-ply paper, or it clogs a lot more frequently.

One of the problems though, is Murphy's Law. The toilet will always flush when it is being tested, especially by a professional.
I am going to have to persist on this, and at least get an idea of what the problem is before calling the plumber, or he will get here, flush it a few times, and tell us there is nothing wrong.
Maybe we should give the plumber a large meal, then ask him to come back several hours later to use the toilet himself, then try to flush it...

FW
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:25 PM   #5
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Another toilet not flushing thread


I've got another thought:
Are there specific toilets that work best on old plumbing?
For example, I don't think a toilet with the lowest flush volume would work, due to too many constrictions in the old plumbing.

I'm wondering also whether there is a way I can do a simple test for a clogged vent pipe.
For instance, would the water in the toilet bowl not move at all during a windy day when wind is blowing across the top of the vent pipe?
Would the toilet make a lot of noise, such as gurgles, bubbles, or create a suction that would leave almost no water standing in the trap?

I am trying to avoid expensive diagnostic testing of the plumbing system. I would rather just replace the toilet, and in the process, have the pipe roto-rootered.

Thanks

FW
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:34 PM   #6
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Another toilet not flushing thread


City sewer or septic tank?
How far from the toilet to the city line/septic tank?
Any trees or shrubs along the path of egress?
When's the last time you had the line augered PROFESSIONALLY all the way to the end of your responsibilty?
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:22 PM   #7
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Another toilet not flushing thread


Dis regard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

you should have more than 1 vent so it will tie from another "in some parts of Europe they don't even use vents" also now toilets are only 1.6 gpf "Gallon per flush" and you are not allowed more then 1.6 gpf. wind would not effect it unless you cover all drains in house and all vents and waste and you would need a pressurized tool to fill the line up then toilet will bubble. I would pop off the toilet by turning off the angle stop, unhook line from tank,flush all existing water out,unscrew from floor and take out. BTW: the p-trap is built in the toilet so i would just try to put a coat hanger up there.

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Old 12-08-2011, 05:27 PM   #8
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Another toilet not flushing thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by plumbing View Post
you should have more than 1 vent so it will tie from another "in some parts of Europe they don't even use vents" also now toilets are only 1.6 gpf "Gallon per flush" and you are not allowed more then 1.6 gpf. wind would not effect it unless you cover all drains in house and all vents and waste and you would need a pressurized tool to fill the line up then toilet will bubble. I would pop off the toilet by turning off the angle stop, unhook line from tank,flush all existing water out,unscrew from floor and take out. BTW: the p-trap is built in the toilet so i would just try to put a coat hanger up there.
what are you talking about and where are you from.....
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:30 PM   #9
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Another toilet not flushing thread


Ops sorry, i thought he was talking about a p-trap.






WASHINGTON

Last edited by plumbing; 12-08-2011 at 05:35 PM. Reason: EDIT
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:43 PM   #10
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Another toilet not flushing thread


This is typical symptom of a slow main drain---to the street?---

When there is little action and the main line has a chance to drain out--toilet will work fine

when there is a lot of water in the main line--the toilet will not flush properly---

You need to get a sewer rodder in to those pipes and rod --from the toilet --all the way to the street.

If you have a septic system--the pipes might be clear and the tank is full---let us know---Mike---
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:49 PM   #11
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Another toilet not flushing thread


yes mike it sounds reasonable ..but if drain is slow and water is at top of bowl that say it in the toilet because if it was in the drain it would back up into tub or lowest fixture.....not sure iif he said anything was backing up....and he could fill tub or sink with water flush potty till it fills then drain tub or sink??
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:18 PM   #12
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Another toilet not flushing thread


If I were there I'd pull the toilet and dump lots of water down the pipe and see if it takes the water-

It could be the toilet itself---But it sounds like a slow drain---maybe foaming from the washing machine---but it sure sounds like a slow drain.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:22 PM   #13
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Another toilet not flushing thread


If I am following correctly, it sounds like two separate, unrelated problems.

If the water closet is not filling, you have a supply problem. Does the tank fill to the same level each time? If not, this could be fixed as easily as cleaning, adjusting, or replacing the valve in the tank, or replacing the toilet, which would contain everything that you would need. You would want to have a bucket and mop handy, but, assuming you have a shut off valve below the toilet tank, it might be worth shutting it off, removing the line at the tank, and opening the valve, to see what kind of flow that you have. If you have galvanized pipe, it would not be uncommon for the lines to be a fraction of their original capacity.

The other issue, obviously, is the waste flow. If you have not yet done so, I would snake the vent line, which, if plugged, does the same thing as holding your finger over the end of a straw. If that provides no relief, frankly, even though I deeply believe in sweat equity, I would call a plumber, because, particularly with a house that old, you could very well have multiple issues, including inadequate venting, improper bends, and on and on.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:24 PM   #14
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Another toilet not flushing thread


Yeah, I'm slow, so Mike made his last suggestion before I posted, but that's not a bad idea at all. Even if you do end up bringing a plumber in, the more specifics that you have, the sooner you get to a working system.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:25 PM   #15
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Another toilet not flushing thread


yes i agree I to would pull closet and flood system to see if it backs up...but Iam going to stick with my thought that the problem is either the commode itself or something in it.....seen objects floating in back where it exits causing intermittant problems....

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