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Old 02-25-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


I've never seen this one before, but here's the deal.

I recently moved into a house (rental) and the toilet works great 95% of the time but for some reason when its been raining heavy for more than a day or 2 the toilet will ALWAYS clog up when you're going #2 and typically take about 20-30 plunges to work everything down. It flushes fine with only liquid in the bowl.

This was a nightmare this past Christmas when we had a full house of family and only 1 bathroom and rain for a week straight, as soon as the rain stopped it worked like a champ. Now, its raining again and we're back going in circles with this again...

My landlords answer was "sometimes when it rains the city sewer will back up and it takes a long time for your "stuff" to get down the drain" in other words, deal with it.

any ideas? my landlord also tells me we're on the city sewer and this house was built in 1925 so may have a few odd quirks.

Nick

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Old 02-25-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


Is your house the lowest on the street (as opposed to being up on a hill)?

Is there a drain lower than the toilet for example a laundry sink in the basement while the toilet is on the first floor? DOes that back up?

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Old 02-25-2011, 02:29 PM   #3
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


I live in an old neighborhood just on the edge of downtown Sacramento so its about as flat as it gets. and its just a one story house with no basement or floor drains. As far as I can tell its only the toilet that backs up. The tub drains fine as well as the sinks.

I'm really stumped on this one... I did read something about drain vents that may become clogged on the roof but didn't find much info about that. hmmm....
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


It wouldn't be clogged vents or it would happen all the time, not just when it rains.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:14 PM   #5
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


There may be something in the vent for the toilet that, when wet from rain water falling down the vent pipe, becomes so saturated it makes for an impassable air structure.

Just a thought. Maybe run a snake down the vent for the toilet.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:47 PM   #6
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


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Originally Posted by wease View Post
There may be something in the vent for the toilet that, when wet from rain water falling down the vent pipe, becomes so saturated it makes for an impassable air structure.

Just a thought. Maybe run a snake down the vent for the toilet.
This is what I was thinking too. Start with the simple solution, then move on from there.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:14 PM   #7
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


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Originally Posted by kalaniwavo View Post
I've never seen this one before, but here's the deal.

I recently moved into a house (rental) and the toilet works great 95% of the time but for some reason when its been raining heavy for more than a day or 2 the toilet will ALWAYS clog up when you're going #2 and typically take about 20-30 plunges to work everything down. It flushes fine with only liquid in the bowl.

This was a nightmare this past Christmas when we had a full house of family and only 1 bathroom and rain for a week straight, as soon as the rain stopped it worked like a champ. Now, its raining again and we're back going in circles with this again...

My landlords answer was "sometimes when it rains the city sewer will back up and it takes a long time for your "stuff" to get down the drain" in other words, deal with it.

any ideas? my landlord also tells me we're on the city sewer and this house was built in 1925 so may have a few odd quirks.

Nick
Your landlord knows there's a problem, and I'm sure he knows what it is. You mentioned the home was built in 1925. The sewer lateral from the house to the street is most likely made of clay. It has joints every few feet which are probably separated and offset. Breaks and cracks leave it prone to inflow and infiltration from roots and groundwater. When it rains, it floods your sewer lateral with water. Simply doesn't have the capacity to handle any more until that all drains out.

Ultimately the line will need to be repaired or replaced to make it water tight.
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:58 PM   #8
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


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Originally Posted by LateralConcepts View Post
Your landlord knows there's a problem, and I'm sure he knows what it is. You mentioned the home was built in 1925. The sewer lateral from the house to the street is most likely made of clay. It has joints every few feet which are probably separated and offset. Breaks and cracks leave it prone to inflow and infiltration from roots and groundwater. When it rains, it floods your sewer lateral with water. Simply doesn't have the capacity to handle any more until that all drains out.

Ultimately the line will need to be repaired or replaced to make it water tight.
Thanks for the reply! That makes ALOT of sense. Now that I think of it... It doesn't necessarily stop up just during heavy downpours but after its been raining for a period of time and the ground is totally saturated (puddles in the yard)

My landlord isn't exactly what you would call "handy" so I'm sure she really has no idea. Atleast its almost summer and it usually doesn't rain a drop from April thru Oct. I think I'll let this slide until next year...

Thanks again!
Nick
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:24 PM   #9
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


maybe get somebody in there with a camera and scope the drain
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:31 AM   #10
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Clogged Toilet during heavy rainstorms


Does water running in the sink or bathtub slow down the toilet further?

I am puzzled by your not having problems with number one (liquid only flushing). Unless there is something in the toilet passageway.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-27-2011 at 08:25 AM.
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