Toilet barely flushes

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by ELOCN, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. ELOCN

    ELOCN Well-Known Member

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    Divorced woman who lives alone need plumbing advice! My toilet barely flushes, the water swirls around, that's all. THIS IS NOT GOOD! Even though no foreign objects have been put down toilet, I got out the plunger and did that several times. It still won't flush sometimes. I got out a big jug of Drano, but it says not to use in toilets. This toilet is only about 15 years old. What should I do to avoid a plumbing bill? Keep plunging, how much plunging is enough??? As I said, I live alone, so I am positive that nothing has been flushed that should NOT have been flushed. Thanks for any help you can give me!
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I pour drain opener into the toilet....... I wonder why you shouldn't??? Sounds like a partial blockage. Maybe your air vent is plugged.
     

  3. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    I second the idea of a plugged air vent, thecreason they advise not to use the drano in the toilet is that if it is plugged and the product fails to do its thing, then it can cause harmful things to happen to the people who have to fix the problem manually.....

    You might try renting a "snake" to see if there is a blockage in the pipe.... paper can hang up and cause the problem even in an older pipe, I have seen thngs in pipes thatvi dont care to try to figger out how they actually got there, and folks swear that no one ever put that type of thing in the toilet.....

    Drano is a product that contains LYE, which when contacts water creates heat, and vapors that are harmful to humans....

    Professional Plumbers cost alot, but sometimes in the end are worth the dollars you have to pay, call the local hardwarexstore for recomendations of who to hire if you have to go that far, and not just throw a dart at the yellow pages.

    William
     
  4. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    The repairs depend on what type of sewage disposal system you have. If you are connected to a city sewer system then you may have tree roots invading your sewer pipe and you need to call the "Roto-Rooter" man. If you have a septic system then you may have a full septic tank or a plugged drain field and you need to have your septic tank pumped. Nothing that you can pour down the toilet is going to help---I think it is out of the hands of a do-it-yourselfer.
     
  5. Fla Gal

    Fla Gal Bunny Poo Monger Supporter

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    I ran into the same problem not too long ago. The water would swirl and not go down very quickly. I live alone too and know nothing had been dropped into the toilet. I just kept plunging it 'till the clog became dislodged.

    Take the lid off the tank, pull the flapper up enough to let the toilet partially fill with water and then plunge it real good. Plunging works better when there is a lot of water in the bowl.

    By raising the flapper again, let some more water into the bowl and plunge real good again. Just keep doing this and hopefully the clog will be removed and you won't have to call a plumber.

    The only time this hasn't worked for me is at work when some guy decided to flush his BVD's and the plumbers had to come in with the big machine to fix it. I packed those unders way down into the sewer pipe. It took the plumber three hours to get them out. :D

    If this doesn't work for you Ross may be right about the vent being plugged.

    Fla Gal
     
  6. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Welcome first time poster single woman who lives alone with negative flush toilet syndrome! I would try this if your comfortable on a ladder. First place a plastic garbage bag over and around the toilets seat portion basically sealing off possibilitry of escapeing fumes. Take to the roof a closed container of muratic acid, pour in the vent stack 1 gallon of muratic acid, straight. Have a container of water available if it sputters or spews out anything on you, if it does immediantly flush skin with the water because muratic acid will damage skin or eyes. A garden hose with a squeeze nozzel could work also as the flush item.

    I have used as much as 5 gallons of muratic acid on a single vent stack before it finally opened up, safety glasses and rubber gloves are recommended. If it is a septic system add regular yeast a couple of days later to restart benifical bacteria. Some may answer this saying its too dangerous, but be your own judge, ad the acid through a long piece of tubeing if you wish, from a more remote area.
     
  7. I am connected to the city sewer system. I do not have a septic tank. The water in the washbasin and the bathtub also don't want to drain very quickly. To the person who asked if I am comfortable up on a ladder, the answer is NO! I have asked a male friend about it, and he says he will do some more plunging for me (he's much stronger than I am), and if that doesn't work he will use a snake. He told me once a female friend of his came to his house, and after she left he noticed the toilet was not working. He plunged and plunged and extracted -- guess what??? An empty toothpaste tube. He thinks she must have tried to flush it!
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know if this fix will apply in this particular case, but...I've lived in this house about two years and twice I've had a similar problem. We would have to flush a couple of times for no apparent reason. There is a small hole below the water line inside the front of the bowl that directs a jet of water down the drain hole when you flush. Twice mineral deposits have all but closed the hole reducing the water flow. I just get a small tool like a knife or anything with a small edge and scrape out the inside of the hole. It flushes like new after that. I hope it's something that easy to fix in your case.

    Nomad
     
  9. ELOCN

    ELOCN Well-Known Member

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    My male friend went to my house while I was here at his house. He was only there about 15 or 20 minutes, used plunger a couple of times and ran snake down toilet twice. Claims it flushes. I went home and it did flush, but not a very "lively" flush. Also, when you flush it with toilet paper in it, it flushes away only SOME of the toilet paper, and chews up some of the toilet paper and spits it back in the bowl. Unfortunately, this is my male friend's problem: whenever I tell him anything is broken, he always denies that it's broken. [Sigh. . .]
     
  10. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Roto rooter or muratic acid, your choise. The pipes are caked, they have to be cleaned somehow.
     
  11. Since the tub also drains slowly, my thought is that it may not be the toilet. You may pull the toilet to check the line if you are dedicated. I heard of a story where a large washer was flushed and stuck deep in the trap--it allowed a toilet auger to pass since it simply turned, but it turned back when the auger was pulled back. Pulling the toilet after the steps below may be the only to diagnose the problem--is the drain free or not??

    I rather think the problem is likely to be where the tub line joins the waste line under the toilet. Hair and soap can clog the line at a junction. Not only does the bath water need to get to the main sewer line, usually under the toilet, but air needs to get from under the toilet to the vent stack. The woosh of water when flushing needs the air to get out of the way or else no woosh.

    I would never use acid or lye or anything so caustic in my drain lines--it is not only potentially dangerous, but makes me nervous if it doesn't fix the problem and then I have to work on the lines and try something else.

    Go to your home center store and get an auger (a snake)--not the tiny basin auger, but the next size up for 1 to 2 inch drain lines. Unscrew the screws in the tub stopper/vent cover. Run the snake at least 10 feet or better. You may also want to take the trap off the bathroom sink and try that route also. You may also wish to get on the roof and go down the vent with the snake. At any rate, mechanically clean all the lines. Organic cleaners should come after the lines allow water to run.

    (Call on church members to help this lady out if necessary.)

    Dale in TX
     
  12. Does your toilet continuously run a little water and you have your own septic tank. If so then your septic tank maybe waterlogged. Replace the mechanisms inside your toilet tank to stop the leak(s). This will give your septic tank time to drain properly and should solve your toilet flushing problems too.
     
  13. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    Since you say the sink and tub drain slow too it makes me suspect the vent line like moonpups. However if it were just the toilet I've had the problem that Nomad describes. Minerals building up in the 1" diameter drain hole in the front of the main hole. For that I used the moonpups remedy. I turned of the water supply to the toilet then flushed it. This left me a lower than normal water level in the toilet. I added a cup or two or muratic acid to the bottom of the toilet. I covered the toilet bowl with Saran wrap to keep the fumes contained and let it sit overnight. In the morning the minerals (probably a mix of iron and lime) had dissolved into a brown sludge that flushed away.

    Solved the lazy toilet problem and cleaned the toilet of some mineral problems too.
     
  14. ELOCN

    ELOCN Well-Known Member

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    RH in Oklahoma: I don't have a septic tank. I am hooked up to the city sewer system.
    My male friend came back with an augur. I wasn't there when he did it. He took the toilet off its foundation and augured it out. He said he saw something like a tiny little root; he theorized that it fell into the pipe through the vent on the roof and started to take root. I can't believe that any seed could take root where there is no sunlight. However, the toilet seems to be working better. And yes, Nomad, he found the little hole in the front below the water line was sort of caked up with minerals and he removed those. WHEW! Now if I could just get the kitchen work to work! A couple of years ago, the water in the kitchen sink just started dribbling into the sink, even at full force. When I use the sprayer, it does spray pretty hard. Also the kitchen sink won't drain. Yes, I do have a garbage disposal.