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Thread: Calcium buildup = slow flush?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member CarlH's Avatar
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    Default Calcium buildup = slow flush?

    A plumber told my father-in-law that his problem with a slow flushing toilet was due to calcium build up. At times, it took as many as three flushes to clear debris from the bowl. The toilet had been augered and the drain line had been cleaned out as far a 160ft from the house. The toilet itself is a 50 year old American Standard that flushes by dumping all the water from the top of the bowl. There is no siphon jet. I did end up replacing the toilet with a Cadet 3 and my father-in-law is happy with that one.

    I'm just curious to see if the plumber was feeding my father-in-law a line or if calcium buildup can be a problem for old toilets. I did neglect to inspect the bottom of the old toilet after I pulled to see if I could spot any obstructions. There is second toilet of the same make in this house and looks like it flushes the same way, but no complaints on this one yet. Perhaps there is not complaints because it is not used on the same level or not used by the same individuals.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Default

    Probably the calcium buildup he was referring to was in the holes or passages under the rim. These areas definitely do get limed up, and that for sure can affect bowl washdown and the rim flush action. You also get a scale buildup in the throat and trapway. This is not a buildup such that it blocks the pipes, but it adds a lot of friction, and for sure this also affects flushing. This is why reputable manufacturers take the extra step of completely glazing the waterways and trapways.

    The fact the your new toilet is performing well seems to confirm the diagnosis on the old toilet.

  3. #3
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlH
    I'm just curious to see if ... calcium buildup can be a problem for old toilets.
    Yes, and just like Jimbo has described. I once got one working "like new" by chipping the scale out of the siphon jet hole in the bowl, but I was unsuccessful with another that flushed from the rim. One way to check for this kind of problem is to attempt a "manual flush" by using about two gallons of water from a pail. If that pail of water makes the toilet flush fine, then the flush problem is most-likely related to how quickly the water in the tank can get into the bowl at flush time.

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