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  • Toilet clogs

    My toilet seems to clog every few months. I don't think its my bowels that are clogging it. The flush has always seemed quite weak. I believe that the problem is that its not draining quickly so there isn't good flushing action which leads to clogs developing, which leads to it draining slower, etc, etc.

    I have given up on using a plunger, and now just reach for a toilet auger which has always cleared the problem up pretty easily, but I'm sick of it. Interestingly, occasionally the toilet will flush pretty strongly, and also occasionally I'll hear a loud gurgling sound coming from my shower when I flush. I interpreted that as a clogged sewer vent. I tried augering out my vent (unfortunately the vent is 2.5" and my PowerSpin is only supposed to work up to 1.5") and got some stuff out of it, but it seemed to have no impact on the toilet (which is currently flushing but not strongly). Is there anything that can be done?

    (Incidentily, I ran the Powerspin out too far, and the cable came out of the spinner, I tried putting it back in but I don't think I did it right... Can anyone point to some documentation on how to properly install the cable on the backplate I couldn't find anything on Ridgid's website)

  • #2
    Re: Toilet clogs

    since it always clears with an auger. then it's a local problem. an auger is only 3'-6' long and the toilet takes up the first 3'. sounds like you need a better toilet.

    how old is the current one? is it a 3.5 gallon or 1.6 gallon?

    answer these 2 questions and i'll suggest the next step.

    most likely your shower is ok, but the gurgeling might be a sign of a bad trap or lack of one on the shower.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Toilet clogs

      Rick,

      I have no idea how old the toilet is. I bought the house 3.5 years ago, and I have replaced most of the guts of it, but not the toilet itself. Its a 1.6 gallon model, and I've adjusted it for maximum flushing. I've seen other 1.6 gallon toilets do much better. I have been told that American Standard isn't very high quality and I should use Toto instead.

      In terms of the location of the clog... I agree its most likely clogging in the toilet, however... Like I said... even when the toilet appears to be unclogged it still doesn't flush well, which makes me wonder if there is a restriction further down in the drain line which tends to make the flush less effective and causes the local clogging.

      The shower absolutely does have a trap on it (most of my plumbing is in the basement exposed so I can see it petty well). I wasn't concerned about a problem with the shower, I've never had a problem with it, I was merely suggesting that the loud gurgling could indicate a clogged vent.

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      • #4
        Re: Toilet clogs

        american standard makes a champion toilet that has a very good flush.chances are it's not an a/s champion since they are only a few years old. toto makes many good toilets. everyone that has the "g-max" flush is a good flushing toilet.
        stay away from kohler

        since the auger clears the stoppage, it's within reach of the auger.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

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        • #5
          Re: Toilet clogs

          I don't think its an A/S Champion... So are you saying that the weak flushing even when there is no clog in the toilet is some how a bad toilet and not a clog further down the line? I was under the impression the main advantage of the toto was a better valve design that puts more fluid into the bowl faster, but like I said, the problem is slow draining out of the bowl not slow fill (at least as far as I know)

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          • #6
            Re: Toilet clogs

            hpmaxim

            Try the old 5 gallon bucket and please tell us what happened. Fill it almost full and then pour it nice and fast into your toilet bowl. Did it take it all quickly or did it almost overflow? If it takes 4 or more gallons of water from a pail quickly then it's the toilet itself. If it won't take it, then you may need more snake work. By the way is this trouble with just one toilet or all of them in your house?
            Last edited by Woussko; 02-11-2007, 10:44 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Toilet clogs

              Good idea... I took a plastic waste basket and filled it with water from the shower. No idea how much, but I'd guess it was about 8 gallons. I poured it in, it overflowed and flushed. After letting the water recede a little, I poured the rest in, and it flushed again. I then flushed with the flusher and it didn't flush. I let the tank refill and flushed a fourth time and it flushed normally (which is to say weakly). This is the only toilet in my house. I have two sinks and a shower. The shower occasionally has problems from localized hair clogs. Never had to snake it. The bathroom sink never has a problem. The kitchen sink gets a slow drain every few months. I don't dump anything into it though so I'm not sure why. Every place I've ever lived has had this problem, usually if I flick the garbage disposal on for a few seconds it clears the clog, however I don't have a garbage disposal in my house (its on a septic system). I've thought about installing one anyway though.

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              • #8
                Re: Toilet clogs

                The trash can was an idea. Maybe you were a bit too fast the first time. Did it go down pretty fast? If yes, then I really think it's that the water in the tank doesn't get into the bowl fast enough. If you can afford one, I would get the TOTO "G-Max" toilet. I own one and it's been very good. I still like my older American Standard 3.2 "Cadet" better, but good lucking finding one of them that's not old, dirty and more than likely bashed up too. Have you ever had the toilet pulled and a good big electric snake run to the main? If you do replace your toilet, it would be good to really clean the pipes out. With the toilet up, that's the time for it. You'll hate the $$$ for all of this, but it may well be worth it. If you can stand it, maybe just get a pail (go for a 2-1/2 gallon one) and flush with it. I've done that when I had a delay fixing a toilet. I'm sure Rick has better ideas.

                Being on a septic system, I would take it easy on the idea of a garbage disposer. If you really watch what you put in it you should be OK. There are special models that really grind up stuff fine that would be better. In addition, every week at bed time, try an old farmers trick. Pour several pounds of brown sugar into your toilet and flush it down well. Then add a few packets of yeast (used for baking) and flush that down. Now go to bed and don't flush or use water until morning. They claim it really helps keep "Yea Old Septic System" happy and working. Keyword: active bacteria

                By the way, get ready for some wild weather in the Mid Atlantic area. As of midnight EST the whole area is under a storm watch alert through Tuesday evening.
                Last edited by Woussko; 02-11-2007, 11:21 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Toilet clogs

                  Woussko,

                  I think it was probably on the order of 5 gallons for the first flush. I can tell you that when I flush the toilet (normally, in "unclogged "condition), the water level will typically come up nearly to the lip of the bowl. Sometimes I can get it to flush if I hold the lever down longer so it continues to drain into the bowl longer. It also seems to help if the fluid level in the bowl is higher at the beginning of the flush (it doesn't always stop at the same level).

                  Anyway... I guess the bottom line is, I need some definitive way to determine if the problem is the toilet or the drain. But, I can't imagine its normal for any toilet to only flush 3/4ths of the time with nothing but liquid in it. Even if it is 1.6 gpf or what not.

                  The toilet is connected to the drain line (maybe 3-4" ID) via a rubber coupler. Its possible I could just remove the coupler and stick a snake in there, however, I don't think I have any snakes that could do a good job on that diameter pipe (I also don't know whats under the coupler).

                  Regarding the garbage disposal. I wasn't advocating it because it would allow me to dump garbage down, I was thinking about it because it seems to be very good at clearing clogs easily without having to break out the snake.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Toilet clogs

                    If your toilet has the Blue color cleaner tablets then it will flush slow. Also you might replace the tank to bowl gasket and also wax ring at floor.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Toilet clogs

                      Huh? How can the cleaner things make it flush slower? Do they get stuck in the tank drain or something?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Toilet clogs

                        HP

                        I think maybe it's time to call in a professional plumber - snake service. The equipment costs far too much to rent and you need someone that knows the machinery well. As for the toilet, it may just be a bum one. There are some out by almost every brand that aren't designed well. Try this test when you get a chance.

                        1. Get a pail that's marked off in quarts and that's either 2, 2-1/2 or 5 gallon size. You'll find it handy to just have this around. Check Target, Walmart or good hardware store. I like the ones with a pouring lip. Handy

                        2. Fill it up just past 6 quarts and try pouring that fast into the toilet bowl. If it takes that down well and fast, then it's the toilet design.

                        3. When you flush the toilet like normal be sure the flapper in the tank is fully uprite. You want that 1.6 gallons in the tank to get into the bowl fast.

                        3. If using the pail with about 6 quarts (measured) water doesn't go down fast, then the toilet needs to be pulled and a good heavy snake run in the line a good ways. Yes, all rubber couplings should be removed and the plumber should know this. Once snaked, if you can, insert a garden hose into the pipe and flush the *&^%$ out well.

                        4. Have the drain pipes for your kitchen sink snaked out too while you're at it. You may not beleive your eyes at all the *&^%$ that's in them.

                        5. Every evening, fill your sink up full with water and then pull out the stopper. That big purge of water helps clean the pipes. Use of chemicals is not recommended. If the drain pipes are blocked up, it's time for a good electric snake and cutter.

                        Good luck with your place and I know we all hate the $$$ factor, but sometimes that's what needs to be done. I bet your toilet issue is a compound one. (A) bummer toilet and (B) partly restricted pipes that need to really be snaked and then water flushed. If you're house is more than a few years old and someone else was living in it, you have NO idea what they may have put down drains. They need to be nice and clean in order to work as designed. I've had to pull my basement toilet and then have a drain cleaning service snake the main going out to the road. That cost some good $$$ and was about 1/2 day of work but it sure made a huge difference. Owning your own place = Got to save $$$ and keep up with repairs. Not easy, but it's got to be done.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Toilet clogs

                          Sounds like a problem a friend of mine had. He had the toilet pulled a few times and snaked (not with the big cutter just a small head) and every time the toilet would work for a while then do exactly what you describe. Turns out the original installer punched out the flange seal and it went into the pipe. Instead of fishing it out they left it in and it acted like a valve. Push it open with the snake and all is fine for a while until it eventually works its way closed again.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Toilet clogs

                            Do you have the blue cleaner in the tank?? If so Take it out and try your toilet.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Toilet clogs

                              Originally posted by freddy View Post
                              Do you have the blue cleaner in the tank?? If so Take it out and try your toilet.
                              Are you gonna answer my previous question about this?

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