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Dumb newbee question.......

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  • Dumb newbee question.......

    This is new territory for me as my usual activity is down several columns in the power tools. I have a plumbing problem and would sure appreciate some advice.
    I have some rental properties and try to do as much repair work as I can before calling in the professionals. I don't claim to be a plumber but do the usual homeowner tank parts replacements and snaking.
    New tenent complained about toilet not flushing. In conversation he admitted girlfriend had been flushing tampax so I immediately suspected a connection.
    When flushing toilet the first flush in a sequence is always normal. The second flush will fill the bowl with water which then slowly flows out over several minutes without producing any cyclonic action in the bowl. The next flush will be normal and on and on. The sequence is always the same with a normal flush followed by a slow flush followed by a normal and on and on.
    I snaked through the toilet with no improvement. I was going to pull the toilet and use a longer snake to get to the downturn elbow. I haven't done it yet because it seems to me if the line were partialy plugged with tampax the toilet would back up constantly after the first flush. As already explained I am getting alternating normal flushes when flushing in rapid sequence.
    By the way the tank fills fully after every flush and emptys rapidly and normally into the bowl. As far as I can tell that part of the process is working ok.
    Thats all the info I have. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks..Ray

  • #2
    Re: Dumb newbee question.......

    Ray thats not a dumb question at all really.

    I've seen this problem stump alot of service plumbers.

    If the water ever rises in the bowl up to the bottom of the rim when toilet paper is flushed then I would think that there could be a stoppage.

    The flapper should fall just about the same time as bowl clears. If not change flapper.

    If the toilet has a blowout hole stick your finger in it to see if it's clogged with calcium deposits. This is the nickle size hole at bottom of bowl.

    Next check the underside of the rim jets. These can be poked clear with a coathanger. Be careful not to scratch the china.


    • #3
      Re: Dumb newbee question.......

      ray, when the toilet acts up, test the tub, shower, sinks in that bathroom and see if the toilet bubbles or the other fixtures act up.

      if all is ok, try flushing golf ball size of toiet paper about 4 at a time and see if it plugs up.

      you can also try the bucket flush. take a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with 1.6-3.5 gallons (depending what toilet you have) pour it rapidly into the bowl like a pitcher into a glass.

      it might be a stoppage, or a bad toilet? are there anymore bathrooms in this house? is there a backwater valve on the system that could be stuck partially?

      try to answer these questions and maybe it will lead you to the problem.

      all else fails, pull the toilet and run water and paper down the pipe.

      i've even set a toilet up on a milk crate to test the toilet.

      phoebe it is


      • #4
        Re: Dumb newbee question.......

        I would check to make sure water level in the bowl is refilling to the proper height, each time it is flushed. ( If not replace ballcock valve ) Also check and see if there is any blue color goo, that people put in the tank to make it look pretty. ( If so, Remove it and try the flush, to see if it inproves. Use a 5 gallon bucket pouring water in, to see if it flows out fast. Lets see if that works for you.


        • #5
          Re: Dumb newbee question.......

          Do what Crack suggested. I bet this takes care of it.



          • #6
            Re: Dumb newbee question.......

            Thanks Pcrack, Prick, Fred and Bruce. Sorry P Rick, guess that doesn't work so well abreviated......
            1-Flapper drop is ok
            2-Checked nickle and rim holes-ok
            3-water does not rise to bottom of rim. To review....
            REVIEW SYMPTOMS-The first flush is always normal with strong cyclonic action and total clearing of bowl. Second flush always runs into bowl and remains there and slowly drains out over a period of a few minutes. Next flush will be normal and next slow, next normal, next slow, next normal, next slow and on and on.
            4-Dumping a bucket of water produces a complete flush.
            5-water is filling to correct height in tank.
            6-No blue goo, bricks or other debri in tank
            Tonight I will pull toilet and see what I can see....Any other ideas are appreciated


            • #7
              Re: Dumb newbee question.......

              sounds like something is caught in the trapway where it empties into the closetbend...
              Pull the WC and take the WC outside...
              Place it on it's side and flush it with a hose...
              see what comes out...
              I have had very similar symptoms when my SO flushed some Q-Tips...
              They caught in the trapway and became an intermittant blockage.


              • #8
                Re: Dumb newbee question.......

                One good flush followed by a poor flush?

                It has a pattern so I don't think it's a stoppage.

                I believe the bucket test showed this.

                Does this toilet have a history?

                I'm sticking with my original post....clogged jets.

                Maybe a vent problem?

                Oh crap, I'm second guessing myself

                I hate when that happens


                • #9
                  Re: Dumb newbee question.......


                  If you don't mind this, please pour a full 5 gallon bucket of water into the bowl fast but do be careful it doesn't overflow. After trying it say 2 or 3 times quickly, please come back and report what happened. That may clue one of the real plumbers as to what gives.


                  • #10
                    Re: Dumb newbee question.......

                    are you sure there is no backwater valve that is sticking? takes 2 flushes to help open it.

                    are all the other fixtures/ tub/ showers/ laundry draining ok and no bubbling in the toilet?

                    what brand of toilet and how old is it?

                    rick. with no p
                    phoebe it is


                    • #11
                      Re: Dumb newbee question.......

                      Pulled toilet and ran 15' snake down pipe. Never felt any obstruction, however after putting toilet back in place it flushes just fine. Guess the line was partialy plugged. Don't know why it was causing the symptoms I described. I have much more experiance with electronics and we always blame unknown phenomena on "gremlins". Maybe thats what this was.
                      Anyway thanks for all the help.....Ray
                      Last edited by roadrashray; 10-05-2007, 07:41 PM.


                      • #12
                        Re: Dumb newbee question.......

                        The plumbing trade is also plagued by gremlins at times