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Perry401 09-26-2011 09:24 PM

Toilet Only on Drain Line
I am helping with some electrical work at a house that is being "flipped". The plumbing had been stripped by vandals. The only remaining "working" fixture is a fairly old toilet in the basement. I think the old toilet used about 3 gallons of water per flush, but I don't have any statistics on this. Adding 2-1/2 gallons of water brings the water lever up to the line inside the tank. No other drains are being used. The water is off, and the toilet is used by the workmen (notice this has been a men only job so far). They use this only for "number 2" since there are ample bushes, etc. for "number 1". To use the toilet, a 2-1/2 gallon plastic jerry can of water is filled up from a neighbor's hose, then carried down by the toilet user, added to the tank, and the toilet then flushed in the normal way. While the toilet seems to "flush" normally, I am under the impression that in reality, a little more water should be used for each flush, The fill valve would have continued to run water into the bowl even after the swirling flush action was complete.

The house now is suffering from a clogged drain line to the street. While I understand that there could be other issues going on, I was wondering if the lack of water from other sources could be part of the problem. The toilet is only flushed using this add water as you go system a few times a day, and sometimes even less, so if solids are not getting all the way to the street, there would be plenty of time for the liquids to migrate further on down the drain, leaving the solids to build up, perhaps on a rough place in the drain which I expect is cast iron or clay tile.

(Obviously in a normal home, water is used to wash hands, dishes, clothing, take baths, etc.) Is the minimal water used to flush the toilet enough to keep the solid moving all the way to the street, especially if only used a few times a day?

Then there is the hypothetical question. If the toilet had been a low flow model (which it is not) would the sewer have stop up even faster?

Snav 09-27-2011 01:30 PM

If you don't have the water *on* and therefor there's nothing but gravity to assist with flushing the lines out - it wouldn't matter if the toilet was low flow, modern or from planet neptune.

But you're also possibly dealing with an issue the previous people have (or should have) addressed in the past - clogged line can build up over years. Things like paper towels down the drain as well as grease from the kitchen can do this, too.

I would remove the toilet - snake out the line thoroughly - and I would just toss the toilet out and be without it. I wouldn't continue to use it. I'd honest get a port-a-jon or other such facility outside which is what most people doing full out renos do.

Tackle possible plumbing issues when you're working on plumbing - that way any problems found can be addresses without complications that come with facilities being functional.

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