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Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

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  • Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

    Would it be good to flush all toilets at once, weekly?

    My wife and I waited to flush two toilets.
    When the clothes washer started to empty, we rushed up stairs and flushed the toilets.
    Now if we could just coordinate the clothes washer with dishwasher emptying phase.
    Last edited by Robert Gift; 11-03-2010, 06:16 AM.
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

  • #2
    Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

    I have seen firsthand the effects of low volume fixtures in pipes,especially old cast iron ones.Just get three five gallon buckets and dump them into each toilet as fast as the bowl will recieve.Do this to help keep solids rinsed out of your system.I don't know what time period to establish cause I don't know your usage.

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    • #3
      Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

      in the original days of 1.6gpf/ 1990, the toilets wouldn't flush and toilets plugged easily. now the toilets are down to 1.28gpf.

      a properly installed line is slick and waste will not stick immediately. but an older line such as cast is no longer smooth and slick. waste and paper will dry out and will start to stick and collect.

      biggest problem i run across is on lines that are separated from the rest of the fixtures and the lines that get little use. paper becomes paper machet and waste becomes clay pottery

      if the toilets push the waste into common lines, then the common fixtures will continue to push the waste and paper out to the city main.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

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      • #4
        Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

        i think it helps if you have a mostly liquid only waste such as a lav sink or shower washing the line from a point upstream of the toilet. they will help keep the line clear. same goes for a kitchen sink and grease, a washing machine or other source of hot water dumping upstream can help to keep things clear. the LOML will rinse out a pan with some grease in it and use only a splash of water. out of sight out of mind i guess, she never puts enough water down the drain with it to clear the trap. i go behind her a couple times a week and fill the sink with hot water and dump it down drain to keep things flowing.
        ---------------
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        • #5
          Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

          Pipe material has nothing to do with it... ok maybe not anything but my point is I have seen properly installed PVC and copper lines clog due to low flow water closets.


          There are a few factors involved in this I figured out over the years.
          1. The obvious issue the water closet's ability to carry the waste any form of distance is how the water closet flushes.
            1. Water closet that have a long drawn out flush (power flush water closets) stretch out the slug of water that carries the waste downstream so they do not carry the water nearly as far as one would like.
            2. Standard flush water closets have a slightly larger slug of water and it carries the waste a pretty good distance.
            3. The new class V flush systems have the shortest flush (poorest cleaning of the bowl) but carry the waste the furthest on a single flush since the slug is nice and shot and wets more of the pipe.
          2. Plumbing system layout. The buildings I have seen this problem the most have a water closet on the very front of the plumbing system (first fixture to enter the plumbing system). These low flow water closets need to be near the last fixture on the system. A shower, bath tub, washing machine, and sink line should be the first draining into the system to help carry the waste that did not get carried out very far out the rest of the way.
          3. Another factor is amount of water used in the fixtures and or appliances that are installed first in the plumbing system. I have seen people go and put on ½ GPM aerators, and get the high efficiency washing machines start to have problems with the line not washing out completely.
          4. Type of toilet paper. The new and improved words on the toilet paper labels should be the new dirty words in our industry. I have seen sewer backups where there is whole sheets of unbroken down toilet paper coming out of the floor drains, or clean outs. These thicker papers are no better than paper towel which we all know does clog drains. I tell my customers to get single ply paper, or to test their paper by using an clean empty mason jar, filling it half way with water add two squares of the paper and put the lid on. Shake the jar for 15 to 20 seconds. If the paper is broken up into little pieces it is safe, if it’s clumped up into one piece then it not ok to use.
          5. Back to plumbing design. Back to back fittings also known as double wye combos. These fittings have a large chamber in the center of them, I have seen with a sewer camera when a water closet flush reaches this fitting it tends open up a bit more and wets less surface area of the pipe dropping waste into this chamber.
          If the water closet is on the beginning of the plumbing system with no other fixtures to help flush the line from behind I recommend to my customers to install a Class V type water closet to help carry the waste a bit further downstream to where there is other water being actively used.


          If they have a power flush water closet I suggest to them to change it to a gravity flush unit, I have seen more clogged sewers with a power flush water closet than a little bit.

          If I see they have the offending toilet paper, I suggest to them to give it to a neighbor they do not like and to get Scotts.

          The double wye combo fitting issue, I see more in commercial buildings. I have dug these up and removed the double wye and installed two separate wye combo’s putting the men’s room in first to wash the ladies room flushes downstream more since the ladies use toilet paper for every flush and guys do not.
          Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
          A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
          Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
          Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

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          • #6
            Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

            layout of the system is very important.

            i have 2 newer large condo buildings with powder rooms separated from the other fixtures by 70' and the other one 40'. the only other fixture in the room is the lav sink and that doesn't help as there's not enough washing of the hands with the sink.

            the only thing that works is double flushing and flushing before you wipe and flush again with paper. another trick is to keep the sink running while using the toilet and keep it running until you're done. then wash your hands.

            both these buildings are properly installed no hub in good clean condition. the piping is exposed in the underground garage and there are no other issues with any of the other toilets in the 2 buildings.

            so proper layout is critical for a low flow toilet.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

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            • #7
              Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

              [QUOTE=Robert Gift;315721]Would it be good to flush all toilets at once, weekly?


              I would flush it every time i walk by it & hold the handle
              1.6 gpf will always be a problem ...The longer your sewer line the more trouble it will be..
              Just because it flushes doesn't mean its gone for good

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              • #8
                Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

                Only 2 major issues I've ever seen with PVC.

                1. Too much fall or not enough. Too much..the liquids are passing the solids. Not enough fall...then we all know what happens.

                2. What's being flushed down the drain. (grease etc).

                I can honestly say I have yet to see a properly installed and used PVC drain have any problems what-so-ever.

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                • #9
                  Re: Do 1.6 gpf toilets really cause problems in sewer lines?

                  Robert gift: Thanks for causing an excellent discussion subject!

                  I wish I could think of a way to legally install retrofit taller overflows in toilet tanks to increase the amount of water being flushed.

                  It also occurs to me that the bidet toilet seats also largely eliminate the need for toilet paper. Ron, maybe when your customers are using paper towels for toilet paper you can steer them to a bidet seat instead of Scott's.
                  Last edited by geno gardner; 11-04-2010, 12:53 PM.
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