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Old 05-06-2011, 09:18 PM   #1
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Toilet Won't Flush


New house. Toilet won't flush all the way, i.e. the bowl won't empty. The water level rises to the top of the bowl and then quickly goes back down to the "starting" water level position. This is what I've done so far.

1. Removed toilet and dumped 5 gallon bucket of water down the exposed pipe and trap. The water flowed freely.

2. Reseated toilet on new wax wing. Dumped 5 gallon bucket of water in the actual toilet bowl and the water flowed freely.

3. Attempted to snake the toilet to no avail.

I can't figure this out. I'm guess that something small and not organic is stuck in the actual toilet trap that I can't manage to snake out. Given a plumbing call is around $70 bucks, I figured I'd just go get a new toilet. Thoughts guys and gals?
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:10 PM   #2
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Toilet Won't Flush


Sounds like new toilet time to me.-----You might also have a slow drain or clogged vent pipe.

My money is on the toilet itself------Mike-----
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:06 AM   #3
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Toilet Won't Flush


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Originally Posted by schraggyj View Post
New house. Toilet won't flush all the way, i.e. the bowl won't empty. The water level rises to the top of the bowl and then quickly goes back down to the "starting" water level position. This is what I've done so far.

1. Removed toilet and dumped 5 gallon bucket of water down the exposed pipe and trap. The water flowed freely.
2. Reseated toilet on new wax wing. Dumped 5 gallon bucket of water in the actual toilet bowl and the water flowed freely.
3. Attempted to snake the toilet to no avail.

I can't figure this out. I'm guess that something small and not organic is stuck in the actual toilet trap that I can't manage to snake out. Given a plumbing call is around $70 bucks, I figured I'd just go get a new toilet. Thoughts guys and gals?
In item-2 above, when you dumped the 5 gallon bucket of water into the bowl, did the water go down like a normal flush should?

If yes, then if you flush the toilet normally without using toilet paper, does the problem occur? Or does it occur once you use toilet paper?

Be very careful with your answers since they can determine where your problem is.

HRG
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:51 AM   #4
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Toilet Won't Flush


Is the tank filling properly? If the level in the tank insn't high enough, you might not be shooting enough water into the bowl to get the siphonic action going.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:00 AM   #5
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Toilet Won't Flush


Agreed, I'd be looking at the tank now..... it sounds like you've covered everything else.

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Old 05-07-2011, 09:21 AM   #6
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Toilet Won't Flush


yep, i'd make sure the tank is filling to proper level.
If it is, check the small holes under the lip of the toilet to make sure they are all open to allow the tank to empty quickly enough to cause a true flush. If not, a stiff coat hanger will open them right up. I have seen new toilets with clogged holes, ( a wax-like substance).
(you'd actually be surprised at how much difference this makes)

Last edited by Lightfoot; 05-07-2011 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:25 AM   #7
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Toilet Won't Flush


Thanks guys for your answers.

Homerepairguy:

When I dump the 5 gallon bucket of water into the toilet it does what I would refer to as a normal flush--makes the emptying "woosh" sound.

When I flush without toilet paper it won't empty.

When I flush with toilet paper it won't empty either.

The tank is all the way full with each flush. The tank empties quickly, the bowl fills up, the bowl empties to the bowl "pre-flush starting water level."

I'm pretty dumbfounded.

Last edited by schraggyj; 05-07-2011 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Additional information.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:08 PM   #8
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Toilet Won't Flush


schraggyj,

From your reply, it sure sounds like what the others have said about the water level in the tank not being high enough or the holes under the rim are not all clear.

Since you said you have a new house, the toilet must be a 1.6 or 1.28 gallons per flush model. So maybe try pouring in those amounts of water from your bucket while testing instead of 5 gallons of water.

So after you flush toilet paper, and you pour in 1.6 gallons of water from a bucket at about the same rate as a normal flush, does the toilet still flush with a whoosh?

HRG
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:25 AM   #9
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Toilet Won't Flush


It's a 1.6 gallon flush. I estimated about 1.6 gallons, dumped it in from the bucket, and it didn't flush.

I also scraped the upper inside bowl rim with a small steel brush and a wire hanger. I got a few big chunks of what looked (and felt like) wax ring particles.

I'm pretty sure it is not the water level. I filled the top tank to the brim with a bucket and flushed and it didn't help. The only way I can get it to flush (with the whoosh sound) is by dumping 5 gallons of water directly in the tank.

So, new toilet?
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:37 AM   #10
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Toilet Won't Flush


if by pouring the proper amount of water directly and quickly into the bowl and it not flushing properly, it sounds like a restriction in the trap.

did something precipitate this development? While I suspect some sort of restriction in the trap, I would not totally rule out a blocked vent. With the larger amount of water, you have a lot of weight to force the water into the drain. With the lesser (and correct amount) of water, there is much less pressure and if the vent is blocked, it may allow enough pressure to build to prevent the quick flow of the water.

Hopefully the pro plumbers will weigh in on my theory and either beat me up or confirm it as a possibility. While I have logic and intelligence to help me, sometimes the guys that actually do this for a living simply understand things better than those who don't.

(btw: not inferring plumbers do not have logic or intelligence. Just that they have hands on (that is such a nasty thought) experience that allows them to utilize their intelligence and logic to "see" things I may not)
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:14 AM   #11
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Toilet Won't Flush


Curiouser and curiouser..... wax? hmmmmm.....
I wonder if someone didn't use a wax ring instead of a foam gasket between the bowl and tank!!!
(never heard of that before, but stranger things have happened! How else could wax get to that part?)
Pull the tank off the bowl and look for wax. If they did, clean the wax and replace with correct foam gasket. Then use HOT water to flush a few times to release the wax inside the bowl channels.

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Old 05-08-2011, 12:31 PM   #12
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Guys, actually I worked for a plumber for 15 years and what I am seeing are several misconceptions. On all toilet bowls the holes under the rim are strictly for bowl wash down. They do help with the refill on the bowl, but only about 8% of the flush water comes out of those under rim holes. The newer Eco friendly bowls have larger reconfigured water passages to give the bowl water and debris a stronger blast to get started and complete the flush process on a smaller volume of water. This single larger opening is at or near the bottom of the bowl and usually submerged in water. A blocked vent will slow down the flush somewhat, but shouldn't stop it completely. What will happen is the toilet will gurgle loudly as the previous flush that is trying to go down the unvented pipe tries to suck the trap dry as the toilet trap is now acting as a vent. Where I suspect the problem lies is in the trap of the "Low flush bowl". I have found shampoo bottle caps caught and partially blocking the passage as well as smaller cell phones, kids matchbox cars and trucks, and even bowls that have poorly formed trap passages or that had slip from the original mold flash fired in the kiln, that had leaked into the trap and blocked part of the passage. A 1.6 liter flush should go through as fast as 5 gallons so if there is something in the trap passage that you cannot clear you may have to replace the bowl.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:53 PM   #13
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Toilet Won't Flush


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Originally Posted by schraggyj View Post
It's a 1.6 gallon flush. I estimated about 1.6 gallons, dumped it in from the bucket, and it didn't flush.

I also scraped the upper inside bowl rim with a small steel brush and a wire hanger. I got a few big chunks of what looked (and felt like) wax ring particles.

I'm pretty sure it is not the water level. I filled the top tank to the brim with a bucket and flushed and it didn't help. The only way I can get it to flush (with the whoosh sound) is by dumping 5 gallons of water directly in the tank.

So, new toilet?
Not flushing properly dumping 1.6 gallons of water directly into the bowl appears to move the culprit to the trap and below.

Before buying a new toilet, maybe try this:

1. Remove toilet and put on two saw horses outside.
2. Dump 1.6 gallons of water in the bowl and see how it flushes.
3. Get a "strong" cord and flush one end down until it comes out from the bottom. Cord MUST be strong since if it breaks during the following procedure, you might be screwed.
4. Put the toilet upside down on the two saw horses.
5. Tie a lump of rag that you think can fit through the toilet trap on the upper end of the cord. This would normally be the bottom side of the toilet when it is installed.
6. With the help of another person, work the rag back and forth trying to force anything that might have previously been flushed down the trap, out from the bottom. Toilet is upside down so bottom is normally the top when the toilet is installed.
7. If you are successful, what ever might have been blocking the toilet trap will pop out from the bottom. If you can get the rag to go back & forth freely, then at least you will know that nothing is partially blocking the trap.

If you still have flushing problems after the procedure above, you will at least know that the problem is not a pencil or other object stuck in your trap.

EDIT: When you remove the toilet, try dumping 1.6 gallons down the drain and see what happens. Also, what's the diameter of the waste drain pipe?

HRG

Last edited by Homerepairguy; 05-08-2011 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:56 PM   #14
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Toilet Won't Flush


In addition to what everyone else said, did the toilet work properly at first and then just recently start to not flush? If so, then I would bet on something falling in and getting stuck in the trap area.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #15
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Toilet Won't Flush


Hey guys and gals. Thanks for all your advice. My wife decided that a new toilet is the best option. So a new toilet it will be.

I'll post an update once the new toilet is installed. I then plan on breaking open the old toilet and see if any thing is stuck in the trap.
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