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Thread: Slow draining toilet, tried everything and still no luck...

  1. #1

    Default Slow draining toilet, tried everything and still no luck...

    Currently our toilet is flushing real slow. We've tried the plunger on it and have also used a toilet auger to poke around in there and still no success. I've also tried some of the toilet chemicals out there but still nothing.

    The problem seems to be further down the toilet in an area that can't be reached. Any ideas what I can do?

    P.S. All other toilets in the house work fine.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Forget about chemicals, they flat don't work. Your main drain is likely partly clogged and it is more than a hand DIY snake can reach or clear if it does reach it. Often they will just poke a hole through. You need to call a professional plumber who can use professional equipment to auger clear to the street or septic tank. Anything else is just a waste of time and effort. It is possible that something has fallen into the toilet that is wedged in the trap. Common things are kids action toys, makeup kits, shampoo bottles, etc.. The toilet auger probably just goes around them if that's the problem. If you think that is a possibility, you could pull the toilet and see if you can locate the jam from the underside. That's fairly quick and easy, and it's lots cheaper than a plumber.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Yep, the cheapest thing is to pull the toilet to see if something is stuck in the trap. (See the infamous "GI Joe's final mission" photo from Terry.) All this test will cost is a little time and a wax ring (about $3.00 at a supply house.) I had a paratrooper stuck in the line to the city main when the kids were toddlers...he was a pooper trooper at that point and was backing up both toilets.

    If nothing is obvious then call in a professional. Doing this midweek is ideal. Don't call them on Friday or Monday and expecting anything quickly.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member DTV's Avatar
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    We just recently moved into a house. Everything is working great except the master bathroom toilet and an outdoor sink. During inspection, the inspector said the outdoor sink could use an "air admittance valve" installed after the trap to help the draining.

    After moving in, we noticed the master bath does not flush properly. If flushed with nothing but liquids in the toilet (#1), the toilet will sometimes flush ok, but most of the time won't complete the flush (will fill up, swirl around, and drain out, but no complete flush with the "gurgle" noise). With even a some toilet paper in the toilet, the water backs up and will "clog".

    The "normal" water level of the toilet is pretty low and doesn't sit as high as most toilets. I have tried using a little auger to get in there, got it a couple feet deep, and I couldn't feel anything (managed to scratch the porcelain while i was at it, whoops!). Is this a venting issue? Is this a toilet issue and the toilet needs to be replaced? No other toilet in the whole house has any issues. My only fear is we bought the house from a "DIY-er" and hope it's nothing major with how he did the plumbing.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You address 4 separate issues. First, an air admittance valve aka Studor, is legal in some areas and not in others. If an inspector recommended it, it must be OK where you are.
    although most professional plumber don't like them, they do work, but must be install with access for replacement as they can fail over time. Second, the slow moving drain is a sign you may have a partly clogged line. Homeowner sized snakes are seldom effective on these. Neither are chemicals. Once you determine there is nothing caught in the toilet trap, the solution is a professional plumber who has an industrial sized auger and knowledge to use it to clear the drain. Your third problem has no remedy. Water level or water spot in the toilet bowl is determined by the weir that is the trap cast into the toilet, and there is no adjustment for that. Unfortunately, there are many toilets in use today that are really very poorly designed. What's even worse, many poorly designed toilets are still being sold, often under very well known and famous brand names. Do you need a new toilet? Hard to say until the drain system has been cleared and otherwise evaluated, but you should know that poor flushing and frequent clogs are not a price you have to pay to have a low flow toilet. For example, many Toto toilets are now using as little as 1.28 gallons per flush and they work very well. It's all in the design and quality control. Oh yeah, these toilets also have a generous water spot.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member DTV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    You address 4 separate issues. First, an air admittance valve aka Studor, is legal in some areas and not in others. If an inspector recommended it, it must be OK where you are.
    although most professional plumber don't like them, they do work, but must be install with access for replacement as they can fail over time. Second, the slow moving drain is a sign you may have a partly clogged line. Homeowner sized snakes are seldom effective on these. Neither are chemicals. Once you determine there is nothing caught in the toilet trap, the solution is a professional plumber who has an industrial sized auger and knowledge to use it to clear the drain. Your third problem has no remedy. Water level or water spot in the toilet bowl is determined by the weir that is the trap cast into the toilet, and there is no adjustment for that. Unfortunately, there are many toilets in use today that are really very poorly designed. What's even worse, many poorly designed toilets are still being sold, often under very well known and famous brand names. Do you need a new toilet? Hard to say until the drain system has been cleared and otherwise evaluated, but you should know that poor flushing and frequent clogs are not a price you have to pay to have a low flow toilet. For example, many Toto toilets are now using as little as 1.28 gallons per flush and they work very well. It's all in the design and quality control. Oh yeah, these toilets also have a generous water spot.
    Gary, thanks so much for the great reply. I will pull the toilet this afternoon and see if there is anything in the trap. If not, I will get a professional plumber out to auger the drain. From the sounds of it, you don't think it's a venting issue right? I understand the water spot "issue" and that it's a result of the toilet and nothing else. Thank you guys for all the help, will post an update this afternoon.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    To test the toilet for max bowl fill, take a bucket and slowly pour some water in the bowl. Wait a bit, and see if the level is different than it was. If so, then you may have a replacement fill valve that isn't filling the bowl fully. The factory ones (should anyway!) come calibrated so that the tank and the bowl both fill to the proper level when the tank is full. It's possible if the valve was replaced with a generic one, the balance may not be right.

    If you pour too fast, it will act like you flushed it. If you go slow, the excess will just flow down the drain with no other effect after it fills up. A toilet bowl is normally filled to overflowing...yours may or may not be filled properly...this will tell you for sure.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member DTV's Avatar
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    Toilet pulled, nothing in the trap I can see and the snake doesn't feel like anything is stuck in the trap. Have a plumber coming out to take a look tomorrow morning. If the drain isn't clogged it looks like I'll be in the market for a new toilet and by the looks at all of the posts re: Toto and Cadet 3... this will be an interesting research project. Didn't realize something like toilets would have so many reviews/discussion.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Well, if you're going to do it once, get the Toto.

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    DIY Junior Member DTV's Avatar
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    How weird.. was searching around toto's website to find out the closest dealer. Ended up going through your website to find the approximate price. Next thing you know I find out you are in Bothell, WA! I'm down in Newcastle.. 20 minutes or so from ya!

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member DTV's Avatar
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    So had a plumber come out this morning. He used a toilet snake and made sure nothing was in the trap. Put the toilet back together with new wax ring and the toilet was still acting up.

    He thought it was maybe the flapper and tried replacing that and it still wasn't flushing properly. If the handle is held down for a couple of seconds and the tank gets fully drained, it flushes correctly for the most part.

    Not sure how much I trust him though since in the end he thought maybe the float kit was bad and suggested replacing that. Isn't the float solely responsible for filling the tank and has nothing to do w/ the functionality of the actual flush?

    He said it isn't a clogged drain or anything though... is it time to try a new toilet?

  12. #12
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Far too much money being spent on plumbers.

    Just pick up a Toto Drake and send the old one on it's way.

    There is something in the trapway that is hiding, and if the plumber can't find it, it's time to give up on it.

    I had an American Standard Cadet 1.6 gallon like that.
    Once it started having problems, it never stopped.

    I too, took it outside, and augured and augured.
    I never did find the problem.



    We use a closet auger with the large 1-3/8" end on it.
    Smaller cables can go right by the obstruction and not move it.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Terry,

    If I was in the business I would invest in some sort of boroscope for stuff like this. I've borrowed them from our corrosion and pressure vessel code inspection folks to inspect vessel internals through nozzles.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member s321965@gmail.com's Avatar
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    Default slow draining toilet

    I recently repaired a slow draining toilet my first step was to pull the toilet and check to see if there is anything clogging the drain or in the toilet itself both the toilet and the drain were free of obstructions the next step was to check the functionality of the toilet at the waist outlet there are two holes 1 To remove waste and the other to assist waste removal the smaller waist assist hole was clogged therefore the bowl would Just swirl when flushed after un clogging the smaller hole the toilet would properly flush the entire process took approximately an hour cost to the homeowners was $65 one hour labor and $5 in that Materialwhich consisted of a wax ring

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