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Thread: Toilet blockage=bad toilet or bad drainage?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member DIY_Tim's Avatar
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    Default Plumber baffled...bad toilet or bad drainage?

    We had a plumber out to fix a toilet that was experiencing slower flushes and causing frequent blockage. The toilet had been snaked and auged and seemed to be flushing fine when he was on-site. We also both went out to the yard and watched the flow to the street through the main clean out. The plumber thought the flow rate was fairly strong and was frankly confused as to why we would be having problems. He suggested that the next step was to do a video of the line to the street, but again, due to the strong flow he didn't feel this was the issue. Our home was built in 1958 and the toilets may be original, they say "Standard". His suggestion was to replace the toilets. Due to their age and appearance this is something we're willing to do regardless (considering the Toto Drake II), but in speaking with a few people they don't think it's very likely to be a problem with the toilet itself.

    Thanks for any help you can provide,
    Tim
    Last edited by DIY_Tim; 07-18-2010 at 08:36 AM. Reason: clarification

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Sometimes a foreign object like a pen, comb, action figure, etc. Small children are often the cause of this, but we adults can knock things without realizing it, too. These things can lodge in the trap and catch paper which will slow the drain. Even snaking and augering can miss them. When the paper is gone, the object doesn't slow the water down so the flush appears normal. You may be able to determine if that is the cause if you pull the toilet out and go from the underside up into the trap. This may be worth a try.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I would be looking for something in the trapway too.
    If the main line was bad, it would be backing up the entire home.

    Is your tub backing up?

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    The toilet you describe is probably original and probably use close to 8 gallons of water per flush...

    I doubt you have any problems with the line because no plunger or, toilet auger will fix that and you do see strong flow.

    The toilet is probably the cause with things like incorrect water level in the tank, a flapper or tank ball that closes to quickly, and clogged internal water passages in the bowl, siphon jet, and ports under the rim.

    The bowl clogging may or, may not be curable but wouldn't be wiser to consider a new toilet that works well and only uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less?

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    A toilet that old may rely on a lot of water from the under-rim holes, and you can observe whether you are getting that. Those holes do get limed up over time, and can be cleaned out tediously with acid bowl cleaner, pipe cleaners, etc.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The problem is probably IN THE TOILET itself, but since there are several possible causes we cannot tell you HOW to correct it without being there. The older American Standard toilets were very sensitive to proper water flow during the flush, and sometimes people "modify" them to save water and cause the type of problem you have.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The problem is probably IN THE TOILET itself, but since there are several possible causes we cannot tell you HOW to correct it without being there. The older American Standard toilets were very sensitive to proper water flow during the flush, and sometimes people "modify" them to save water and cause the type of problem you have.
    Yup exactly why I suggested bowl tuning or, replacement with a better toilet that uses substantially less water...

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