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Thread: Toilet won't flush

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member sprinklerman's Avatar
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    Default Toilet won't flush

    I just bought a house a few weeks ago and have been having problems with the toilet ever since. Everytime it flushes, the bowl will fill up, and seconds later it seeps back down to normal. I have run a 25ft. drain snake through the drain with no luck, it comes back clean every time. I have just pulled the commode off of the floor flange and have taken it outside for cleaning of the trap, and have also just run a drain snake down the toilet drain with still no luck. I used the tank filler valve to try and fill the drain with water to see if it is in fact clogged, but the water runs right through the drain, it never backs up.

    Now, after pulling the commode, I noticed the wax ring is horribly discolored and warped. Yes, there was some seepage around the toilet, but my main question is, could the wax ring be letting air into the drain system and cause it to not suck the water down when I flush, or am I out of my mind? All other drains in the house work just fine, I am at my wits end here.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The only way the wax ring would slow the draining of the toilet is if it was blocking the pipe (maybe using a thick or double one, when only one was needed, or it fell off and wasn't centered). A small snake may only go through a clog, and not remove it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Apprentice Plumber jfarnold's Avatar
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    A previous homeowner addition?
    Probably isn't vented properly.

    Some of these toilets can really hold onto those new polycarbonate perfume bottles and shy of using an inspection camera or breaking the toilet you wouldn't necessarily be able to identify the problem.

    As for the wax ring, if it was lying across the flange that could be your problem.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member sprinklerman's Avatar
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    I went to Lowe's and bought a 1/2" 50 ft drain auger, and with the toilet removed, went at it for 2 hours to no avail. I couldn't tell if the auger was binding or if I hit a clog, I would pull it out slowly and the head would come out clean every time, but I could sometimes see dirty brown water while retracting it. Maybe I didn't try hard enough? I don't know, but this is really getting frustrating.

    It is a previous homeowner addition, the house was built in the 1920's and all the plumbing is PVC so I would assume it has been renovated probably recently. How would I check to see if it is vented properly? I know there is a cast iron pipe that runs up the side of the house by my garage, supposedly where the drain piping is run, maybe someone tied into that somehow and it is clogged?

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I would not even bother trying to use a 1/2" snake to clear a toilet line. But that might not be your problem anyway.

  6. #6
    In the Trades SacCity's Avatar
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    If the toilet is running slow on the first flush and you've cleared the line a ways then the blockage is within the toilet it self.

    You can try to auger the toilet, if you have it off try running a garden hose down the toilet. You should be able to have full water flow through the toilet.
    For example I had a job where the three year old had flushed a number of maxi pads. Those expanded when wet and formed a hard difficult to remove blockage.
    Michael

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    The line under the toilet is full of water?

    Then you need to have it snaked clean...

    If you don't have the right equipment and the know how then you need to get someone that does.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member sprinklerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    The line under the toilet is full of water?

    Then you need to have it snaked clean...

    If you don't have the right equipment and the know how then you need to get someone that does.
    I am a pipefitter by trade, I have the know how to clean a drain, and I have the equipment to do it (or if I don't I know where a Lowe's is), but I am by no means a plumber.

    Now I must've broke the line somewhere, this morning I left for work only to find that water was flooding out from underthe house. I talked to the previous owner, he assured me that the piping under the house is cast.....OOhh what fun. Going under the house now to look and find out where the leak is. I must've hit a weak spot in the cast with the drain snake, or the tree in front of the house rooted the pipe.

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    One consolation is that there may have been a hole in the pipe for a long time. If you were able to clear out some roots, it may have collapsed more or allowed the hole to flow.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member sprinklerman's Avatar
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    It has been leaking for a while. It is coming from a PVC elbow that looks like it was a dry fit when installed, water just flows out like no tomorrow. Only problem is, I can't reach it, the floor joists are too low and I can't fit myself under them so I have to cut out flooring in the laundry room to repair. What a mess. And that still doesn't explain the toilet issue. I guess I can pull the toilet off once again, fill the tank up and try to flush it while it is off the flange, see if it flushes then, if it doesn't, then obviously it is bad.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member sprinklerman's Avatar
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    Just a little update here, new toilet did the same as the old... I went outside and pulled the vent pipe out of the lead joint, and as soon as I pulled it water came out of it, and was sitting in the bottom of the fitting. Tried to suck out as much as I could with a shop vac and had the wife flush the toilet,,,, it flushed. So I know somewhere in the line it is clogged, problem #1 figured out. Now to fix....

    And today will be the day I tear up the floor and fix the PVC. Fixing the piping is nothing, tearing up the floor is the PITA.

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