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Thread: toilet problem / water supply line problem

  1. #1

    Default toilet problem / water supply line problem

    I have a toilet that every so often will not refill with water in the tank. I decided to work a little bit backward, and wanted to see if the turn off valve was working properly. So, first I turned off the water, then I unscrewed the entire turn off valve mechanism from the copper pipe leading from the wall. I then had my wife turn on the water supply from the basement to see if water would come out of the copper pipe. Much to my dismay no water flowed out! I am assuming the copper water supply pipe is plugged? How does that happen? Is this something I can fix by snaking some type of wire or should I have a professional do the job? Thank you for your advice.
    Doug

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Is all of the water pipe copper, or is some cast iron? If itis cast iron, then you mightbe in for replacing the line.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Default copper or cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    Is all of the water pipe copper, or is some cast iron? If itis cast iron, then you mightbe in for replacing the line.
    The home is only 8 years old, all of the pipe is copper.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    I'm not a pro plumber, just a long-time DIYer.
    If there is no galvanized pipe and it's all copper, it may be frozen if that supply pipe run is on an outside wall.
    Eight-year-old copper supply pipe should not be clogged for any reason other than that.
    Do NOT use flame to thaw frozen pipe. Use a high dryer on High heat. A flame could overheat it and cause a steam explosion.
    Good Luck!
    Mike

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen
    I'm not a pro plumber, just a long-time DIYer.
    If there is no galvanized pipe and it's all copper, it may be frozen if that supply pipe run is on an outside wall.
    Eight-year-old copper supply pipe should not be clogged for any reason other than that.
    Do NOT use flame to thaw frozen pipe. Use a high dryer on High heat. A flame could overheat it and cause a steam explosion.
    Good Luck!
    Mike
    The pipe runs in an inside wall so I know it is not frozen (since this problem reared its head about 5 months ago and mysteriously unplugged by itself a day later).

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    I was working in a house that the same thing happened. No water. We cut into the water supply and discovered what appeared to be pieces of paper in the line! I thought that maybe someone used the paper to hold back water while soldering. I'm not a pro so I would wait until you get some more opinions before you start cutting into yor line.

    Molo

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Is there a valve between the main house valve and the shut off below the toilet?

    With the main valve off, and the faucet/bibb closest to the main opened, have you tried blowing back to dislodge whatever?

    Thinking aloud: It seems you have a pebble, glob of solder, or other object (that's survived in flowing water for 8 years) acting as a flapper valve. The most likely location is a choke point such as a valve or elbow. Since only the one fixture is affected, it must be on the final section of pipe that supplies only that toilet. Since it stayed in place with the main turned off, it seems unlikely that it's at the top of a vertical run of pipe entering an elbow to turn horizontal.

    Do you have access to the pipe for that length, or is it inside a wall? You can make sure the elbow just before it comes from the wall is clear by using a length of copper electrical wire, or other appropriate (not to damage pipe) probe.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedL
    Is there a valve between the main house valve and the shut off below the toilet?

    With the main valve off, and the faucet/bibb closest to the main opened, have you tried blowing back to dislodge whatever?

    Thinking aloud: It seems you have a pebble, glob of solder, or other object (that's survived in flowing water for 8 years) acting as a flapper valve. The most likely location is a choke point such as a valve or elbow. Since only the one fixture is affected, it must be on the final section of pipe that supplies only that toilet. Since it stayed in place with the main turned off, it seems unlikely that it's at the top of a vertical run of pipe entering an elbow to turn horizontal.

    Do you have access to the pipe for that length, or is it inside a wall? You can make sure the elbow just before it comes from the wall is clear by using a length of copper electrical wire, or other appropriate (not to damage pipe) probe.
    Thanks for the idea. I agree with your assessment. To make sure I understand, you are saying to turn off the water at the main water valve, open up the toilet valve and then turn on the water hoping to dislodge the particle from a horizontal run. If that doesn't work then I should run a length of copper wire or something through the pipe. I did try some wire earlier but I could not get the wire to turn horizontal once it went into the pipe leading from the wall. I will try a more flexible option next.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lampe3d
    To make sure I understand, you are saying to turn off the water at the main water valve, open up the toilet valve and then turn on the water hoping to dislodge the particle from a horizontal run.
    .
    Not exactly. Turn off main. Open faucet (or other water outlet) closet to main to relieve pressure that is pushing/holding object in place. Then blow back into the line from the toilet connection.

    I did try some wire earlier but I could not get the wire to turn horizontal once it went into the pipe leading from the wall. I will try a more flexible option next.
    Does the pipe run horizontal after it enters the wall, or vertical, going down to a basement or first floor? How many potential choke points are there? Is the toilet plumbed separately from the bath lav and tub faucet, or downstream on the same pipe. If this is first floor above basement you might be able to see and identify most likely choke points.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedL
    Not exactly. Turn off main. Open faucet (or other water outlet) closet to main to relieve pressure that is pushing/holding object in place. Then blow back into the line from the toilet connection.


    Does the pipe run horizontal after it enters the wall, or vertical, going down to a basement or first floor? How many potential choke points are there? Is the toilet plumbed separately from the bath lav and tub faucet, or downstream on the same pipe. If this is first floor above basement you might be able to see and identify most likely choke points.
    great questions, this is a second story bathroom. the pipe runs horizontal after it engers the drywall, toward the sink, which I am not sure if it connects to it, i am assuming no, since the sink works. the tub also works.

  11. #11

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    TedL: Then blow back into the line from the toilet connection.

    TedL, what do you mean by "blow back into the line from the toilet connection". I am a novice.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member TedL's Avatar
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    Expel air from your mouth or some other source, such as a small compressor, so as to push the blockage back in the direction it came from. A short length of hose may make it easier than putting your mouth to the wall.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedL
    Expel air from your mouth or some other source, such as a small compressor, so as to push the blockage back in the direction it came from. A short length of hose may make it easier than putting your mouth to the wall.
    I blew back in the pipe with an air compressor, but to no avail, blockage still intact. I didn't know any plumbers so just picked one out of the yellowbook. If anyone thinks that was a bad idea (picking this company) please advise.
    Last edited by Terry; 01-23-2014 at 09:26 AM.

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