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Thread: Chronic toilet backup... including Toto Drake

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member hamerj's Avatar
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    Unhappy Chronic toilet backup... including Toto Drake

    After reading this forum and speaking to several local plumbers, I replaced a toilet that was backing up often (~ weekly) in our master bath with a Toto Drake. Although the Toto doesn't back up as often, it still backs up periodically... approx. 2 or 3 times/mo. Only 1 member of my family has this problem (and she has it with other toilets in the house also). The Drake (nor its predecessor) has never backed up on me... so I don't think it's the plumbing lines. Also, the house is < 15 years old. The user who encounters the problems is NOT putting anything down the toilet that shouldn't be flushed. Is not using too much TP, etc. To say this is frustrating would be an understatement.

    Question... how do I solve this problem? I recently learned of pressure assist toilets. In particular a Koehler Highline appears to get good reviews. Will this Koehler provide a more powerful flush vs. the Toto (I know they're loud... at this point I don't care). I'd consider putting a commercial grade toilet in if it solves my problem. Appreciate any comments and suggestions.
    Last edited by hamerj; 11-27-2013 at 09:05 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    The Toto Drake is a commercial-grade toilet.

    I have seen this kind of thing in action. The clogger claims they don't use too much TP, etc., but the Drake, amazingly, clogs -- and only when that particular person uses it. The reality is that they probably are using too much TP per flush. Having extracted a massive amount of TP from a Drake where the person swears they are not doing that, I'm leaning towards that as an issue. If there's only one person who does it, it's likely operator error.

    Suggest to the person that they flush more frequently -- first after using the toilet, then dividing up the wiping session into two flushes. Having given a person this paradigm, I saw this problem solved completely.

    The reality is that the toilet is a device, and people need to be instructed on how to use the device. It's not something that we should be ashamed to discuss.

    Also, if you're using Charmin Ultra, think about switching to something less cloggy. In the case I describe, this didn't turn out to be necessary with the revised flushing paradigm.

    The issue isn't how powerful the flush is. It's how much stuff you're trying to squish through a 2-1/8" pipe all at once. It's not the giant hole that you can see at the bottom of the bowl that gets clogged; it's the much-narrower trapway that you're trying to jam all that paper into that will clog.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 11-27-2013 at 09:39 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    From reports, it appears about 2% of the population, as a result of a medical condition, tend to produce abnormally large, and often very hard stools. They are like trying to flush a long stick...few toilets can do it. The one that seems to be best at this is maybe one of the Caromas (from Australia). A typical toilet has a slightly larger than 2" diameter trapway. The Caroma toilets have a 3" diameter trapway. As a result, they can handle larger/harder deposits. Depending on how hard a deposit is, pressure assist on the 'standard' diameter trapway, won't make much difference.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member kcodyjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    won't make much difference.
    Forgive me for correcting you Jim, but let's make that "won't make much *positive* difference."

    I can imagine all sorts of things happening that would make Beavis & Butt-head turn red laughing so hard.

    Any idea what medical condition(s) do that to people? It might explain a few years from my own past, before I started drinking coffee en masse...

    EDIT: dug this up. Might be worth showing it to your "problem pooper."

    http://www.gutsense.org/constipation...-highlight.gif
    Last edited by kcodyjr; 11-28-2013 at 10:17 PM. Reason: more info

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some people just don't eat much roughage nor get much of any exercise. Some people have nerve damage issues and don't get the impulse to do their thing until it has been there for awhile (which allows the body to draw more water out and more to accumulate). I'm sure there are more possibilities, but it you have that problem, unless you can change your diet (more fluids and roughage), it may always stay that way. SOme medicines can make that worse.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member hamerj's Avatar
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    Appreciate the input. I'm certain in this case... it is not user error. Any experience with the Kohler (or other) power assist toilets (not the plug-in types... just the compressed air)? I recently stayed at a very nice resort and they used a Kohler power assist. It looked like a standard toilet but had a very powerful flush. I'm guessing... they use this model b/c the engineers don't want to be unplugging toilets around the clock. I believe the specific toilet was the Kohler Highline.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Kohler makes a gravity Highline and a Sloan Flushmate Highline.

    Completely different toilets.

    The pressure assist bowl only works with the pressure assist tank. It does work well.
    If you want the high performance Kohler Highline, make sure you pick up the Flushmate model.
    Last edited by Terry; 02-22-2014 at 09:55 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member hamerj's Avatar
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    Thanks Terry. Do you think the Flushmate Highline would be able to handle "loads" that would occasionally clog a Toto Drake? I'm desperate to find a solution to chronic clogging. Thanks.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Yes. I would go for the pressure assist model in your household.

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    DIY Junior Member hamerj's Avatar
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    Thanks Terry. One last question... would the install specs of the Highline be consistent with the Drake? In other words, if a Toto Drake is currently in place, can I replace with a Highline without any plumbing modification, etc. ? And... what should I expect in terms of maintenance... replace the flushmate periodically?

    Thanks again.

  11. #11
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    They both are standard 12" rough bowls.
    Normally you go ten years or more before servicing the Flushmate. They have pretty good video instructions on the Flushmate web site.

    http://www.us.kohler.com/us/Highline...cts/423903.htm

    I sell some of these for those with medical issues. Some of my customers are on medications that affect "output".
    Last edited by Terry; 02-22-2014 at 09:57 AM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Still think it would depend on how hard and long the stool was. The pressure assist can break it apart some, but depending on how much is still there, it may not cut it. It depends somewhat on whether is it a volume or length/hardness issue. The Caroma will pass bigger/harder (i.e., drier) logs before it clogs.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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