Slow Draining Toilet - Can't Find Answer

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  #1  
Old 01-19-07, 06:43 AM
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Slow Draining Toilet - Can't Find Answer

Hi All,

I've got a toilet that is acting up. When you flush it, the water slowly rises to the top and then slowly goes down and leaves the bowl. The water doesn't move fast enough to remove solid waste. Also, the toilet is loud when flushing......like it is straining itself.

The tub and sink in the same bathroom let water down normally and do not bubble or anything. If I take a bucket of water and pour it into the toilet, it flushes normally. I took a coat hanger and bored out the bowl holes and the siphon jet, but they don't seem to be clogged.

Any ideas? The toilet could be original to the house (20 years old), so it is not new or anything.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 01-19-07, 07:03 AM
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I'm having the same problem, and I definitely think it's the rim holes. I tried a coat hanger too, but I don't think I got in far enough.

My next step is going to use CLR, but I'm not sure of the best way to utilize it. Should I pour it down overflow tube or the flapper? Should I cover the rim holes or not? How many gallons of CLR should I pour down?

If the CLR doesn't work I may just go all out and try muriatic acid.
 
  #3  
Old 01-19-07, 07:28 AM
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Mine, too.

Hello, group-

We believe my 2-year-old son (today is his 2nd birthday!) flushed some Q-tips down the toilet yesterday.

Since then, I've used the plunger to try and dislodge whatever is down there, but every flush results in the same thing: the bowl fills almost all the way to the top, then drains slowly until it has only a little bit of water in the bottom.

It's obvious to me that it's draining very slowly, and that's what causes the near-overflow.

Anybody know if there's something I can pour down the toilet to fix this, or any other solutions?

WhiZa mentioned muriatic acid... I'd stay as far away from that as possible! Not sure what effect it has on plumbing, but I used some on my sidewalk a couple of years ago, and even outdoors, the fumes are extremely dangerous. It's hydrochloric acid, and it's hard to get rid of what's left in the bottle when you're done... I had to bring it to a hazardous chemical dropoff site in my area.

So what is this CLR of which you speak?

-Mark
 
  #4  
Old 01-19-07, 07:52 AM
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Sounds like somethings in the toilet. Get a toilet auger. After it clears flush with paper to see if it clogs again.
 
  #5  
Old 01-19-07, 03:34 PM
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I agree, I think you have something stuck in there. When my daughter was young she flushed what looked like a mini barbell plastic toy. The water would go down but not the solids. I tried snaking but that didn't work. I ended up pulling the toilet off and still had a hard time getting the toy out but it worked great after that.
 
  #6  
Old 01-19-07, 05:15 PM
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If you are able to pour water in the bowl and it flushes normally that usually means its a soft flush. If it was clogged it would just overflow in the bowl.
 
  #7  
Old 01-19-07, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mjpatey View Post
So what is this CLR of which you speak?-Mark
CLR is a Calcium Lime and Rust remover. Safer than acid (less powerful though), and stronger than vinegar. It would work great if you have deposits (usually from hard water) you need to break up.
 
  #8  
Old 01-19-07, 08:17 PM
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Tried the auger...

I tried the toilet auger (6' model, $50 from Home Depot)... got it all the way in several times, wrenched it around for a while, and there's been no change. At 6', the end of the auger definitely must have been beyond the end of the toilet and into the drainage pipe, but it had no effect.

So maybe the problem is beyond the toilet? The reason I don't think so is because the sink and bathtub right next to it are draining just fine.

So... the obstruction must be in the toilet, but simply gets pushed to the side when the auger comes through, then gets knocked back in place during a flush.

What do you all think... make sense? And if so, I guess I need to remove the toilet and remove the obstruction by hand, right?

Thanks for the CLR info... sounds like it doesn't apply to my situation.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd really appreciate hearing them!

Thanks,

-Mark
 
  #9  
Old 01-20-07, 01:12 AM
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Mjpatey: Maybe the pipe this toilet drains to isn't vented properly. If you know something about venting, you can probably guess if/how it's vented.

Please don't use chemicals for drain problems of any kind. Not for the environment; for the pipe's sake!

If you flush a big wad of toilet paper, does some paper drift back up after?
 
  #10  
Old 01-20-07, 02:22 AM
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When you say the tub does not gurgle, did you fill the tub with water, open the drain, and then flush? If it gurgles, you have a vent problem. This is often a clog or obstruction in the vent.

If you have checked to make sure the water level in the tank is good, cleaned the rim holes, and run the auger down the drain, the obstruction could be further down the line beyond where the auger reached. There could be tree or ivy or other roots blocking the line.

NEVER use the blue drop-in tablets in the back of the toilet. These causes water that runs over trap to goop up, slowing flush by reducing siphon action. If you have these in the back of the toilet, remove them and flush several times to see if there is improvement. The drop-in tablets are particularly a problem in the low volume toilets.

NEVER pour toilet cleaners into tank. Drop-in cleaners and other cleaners in tank will expedite deterioration of tank components. If using commercial cleaners, read and follow label directions for cleaning bowl. For mineral deposits, there are commercial products such as CLR (calcium, lime, rust remover). Muriatic acid is not recommended for indoor use. It is toxic and corrosive!!

Switching from thick, fluffy toilet tissue like Charmin to lighter tissue like White Cloud may improve flushing. Reducing amount of toilet tissue used may be helpful, too.
 
  #11  
Old 01-20-07, 07:50 AM
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Mark - I don't think you have a vent problem. An obstruction like a toothbrush, small hairbrush etc, can lodge crossways in the toilet trap. It collects toilet paper and reduces flow significantly. A closet auger will often pass right by the obstruction but will usually clear some of the TP without clearing the blockage.
If the obstruction is wedged, the only way to get it out may be to remove the toilet and turn it upside down. I don't want to discourage you, but I once had to smash a toilet to remove a wedged makeup brush. I had replaced the toilet and I destroyed the blocked one to make a point with my teenage daughter. She got it when I handed her back her "missing" brush.
 
  #12  
Old 01-20-07, 10:02 AM
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I've seen what Wayne's describing before. Small obstruction that admits an auger, or plenty of water when not snagging toilet paper. You can test for this by flushing a pile of paper. If the toilet *does* flush completely (though reluctantly) yet some paper drifts back into the bowl, then you know something's hooking it.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 01-20-07 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Extraneous commentary removed. No debate allowed in forums.
  #13  
Old 01-20-07, 12:03 PM
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Boy, thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I'm going to take some time and try a couple of things you mentioned after the weekend (I work weekends and have off on Monday and Tuesday). For now, we're just using a different bathroom.

This bathroom is on the third floor of our house, so I don't think we have roots, etc. obstructing. Also, other toilets and drains are draining just fine in the house, so I'm thinking it's more like what Wayne Mitchell is talking about. I know my son dumped a container of plastic Q-tips in the toilet... I'm imagining a network of 5 or 6 of them stuck in there, being pushed aside when the auger comes through, then moving back into place when the water flows again.

I will try the tub/toilet test twelvepole mentioned, and see if I have a vent problem... if not, it's time to buy a wax seal and take this thing off! I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all the insight!!!

-Mark
 
  #14  
Old 01-20-07, 12:38 PM
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Smile Doug S. JR

Removing a tank and bowl is not difficult. Besides the wax seal, have some rags handy, and I always replace the tank washers and rubber gasket anytime I remove a tank. Don't over torque the nuts when you secure the bowl. I learned the hard way!

Re, your vent. Are the sink, tub, and toilet all connected to the same vent?
Kitchen, laundry, other bath rooms, on the same stack?
 
  #15  
Old 01-20-07, 02:12 PM
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Re: Doug S. JR

Doug,

I'm not sure what's connected to what. I'm completely new at this, and am just attempting it myself to save some money if I can. Is there some way I can test to see what's on the same vent as this toilet?

And I apologize, but I don't know what a stack is... To be honest, I'm not even sure what a vent is; I'm assuming from the context that it's a pipe that carries the toilet waste (and waste water from whatever else is connected to it) to the house's main waste disposal pipe. If that's not it, please let me know.

In fact, if anyone can recommend a web site that's got good info like this for people like me, I'd love to read up on it.

Anyway, is there something I can do to test what vent and stack everything's on?

I do appreciate all the help!

-Mark
 
  #16  
Old 01-20-07, 04:14 PM
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Toiletology 101: The Drain, Waste, Vent System

http://www.toiletology.com/howitwrk-05.shtml

Scroll down for view of typical DWV system. A vent is any part of this system where air can flow in to relieve the vacuum of descending wastewater. You know when you've got a straw full of pop with your thumb sealing one end. A puzzled plumber midway on the straw might not think to check for a "thumb".

The drain your 3rd floor toilet feeds into likely also doubles as a vent for lower fixtures. We call an oversized vertical pipe like that, a "stack".
 
  #17  
Old 01-20-07, 05:17 PM
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Thanks for the link!

That's a great link. They could use some help with Web design, but the info is very thorough! I also was checking out the info right here on doityourself.com, and am beginning to understand some basics.

You'll think this is funny, but I had no IDEA those things on the roof had anything to do with the plumbing system! I always assumed they were connected to the exhaust fans.

So the vent pipes look like a continuation of the same pipe that feeds a bunch of plumbing appliances. I think I get it now... I'll do the tub drain / toilet flush gurgle test and see if my vent is the culprit. Since my son did dump a box of Q-tips in the toilet, I'm thinking that's the problem rather than a blocked vent, but just in case!

-Mark
 
  #18  
Old 01-20-07, 05:23 PM
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I think the confusion in this thread is that we are trying to help two different posters with two different problems. XS6DFG0's problem was not Q-tips!

Kids flush some amazing things down the toilet. Frequently, this requires removal of the toilet to remove them. The worst case I heard was someone's dentures.
 
  #19  
Old 01-20-07, 05:51 PM
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True.

What twelvepole said is very true (regarding the multiple problems in a single thread)... when I posted, I added onto an existing thread rather than starting my own (thinking we were both after the same answer).

Because of the differences in our problems, I probably should have posted separately to avoid confusion in this thread. Sorry about that. I hope XS6DFG0 and WhiZa find their answers too, despite the effects of my forum etiquette gaffe.

-Mark
 
  #20  
Old 01-20-07, 06:24 PM
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Welcome to DIY, mjpatey! You're new, so you have an excuse. We that have been around forever still make mistakes, so we blame it on being old and forgetful. Hope you resolve your toilet problems.

If you need more help when it comes to pulling your toilet (don't forget to shut off the supply line!), post back in this thread so we can further assist you.
 
  #21  
Old 01-21-07, 05:20 PM
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Mark - Pulling a toilet is a piece of cake. Probably an hours work. Nothing to be intimidated about. The earlier advice about not overtorqueing the flange bolts is right on and rubber gloves are handy for cleaning up the floor flange. It will be messy with squashed wax.

A couple of other things if you do have to pull the toilet. If you have an older house be prepared for a possible flange repair/replacement and if you don't want everyone else in the house on your back, be sure to stuff a rag in the drain while you're prepping the toilet. Once the toilet is removed there is no longer a trap to isolate sewer gasses and it can get pretty rank.

PS - Don't forget to remove the rag before you reinstall the toilet.
 
  #22  
Old 01-22-07, 06:27 AM
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Getting back to MY (the original) problem...................

I have tested the vent stack as directed. There is no gurgling in the tub or toilet. I filled the tub up with 3 inches of water, opened the drain, and then flushed the toilet.

When I pour a bucket of water into the toilet, it flushes like their is no tomorrow............sucks everything down once the siphon effect begins.

I do not believe anything has fallen into the toilet unless my wife is lying to me. I'm not saying it could not have happened, but we are not missing anything from the bathroom.

Before I used the coat hanger on the bowl holes, they would not generate a very good swirl action. Now they swirl the water better but still not a very good flush.

I opened up the tank and took a peek inside. There is a lot of fine reddish particles laying at the bottem of the tank. What is this stuff and is it possible that it has gotten into the water-ways of the bowl?

Would you guys replace the toilet since it is 20 years old with cracks at the back of the bowl?

Thanks
 
  #23  
Old 01-27-07, 08:44 PM
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You have been setting here for a long time without a response, My suggestion is to replace it, it will save a lot of headaches in the future, they are on sale from time to time. Have a nice day. Geo
 
  #24  
Old 01-28-07, 07:13 AM
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I just turned off the water, flushed it, plugged up all the holes with duct tape, poured CLR down the flapper, let it sit for 8 hours, removed the duct tape and turned the water on. It flushed with much more power than before. This definitely solved my slow drain problem, temporarily. Now I'm on to the hard water in the house problem
 
  #25  
Old 03-26-09, 02:41 PM
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Slow draining toilet

WhiZa, I have the very same problem. I have a 28 oz bottle of CLR. How much do you recommend to pour down the flapper?
 
  #26  
Old 03-27-09, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by flushtrated View Post
WhiZa, I have the very same problem. I have a 28 oz bottle of CLR. How much do you recommend to pour down the flapper?
All of it! That may not even be enough. For to CLR to get to every hole it needs to fill up each one by one until it gets to the front of the bowl. You may also have tiny leaks like I did. By the time the 8 hours was done I dont think there was much CLR left.
 
  #27  
Old 05-10-11, 06:37 PM
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how should i remove feminine products from the toilet that my teenager has flushed
 
  #28  
Old 05-10-11, 07:07 PM
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Too late if its down the drain.....If its clogging the toilet use a auger. It will usually pull it out. If not, plunger, and send it on its way.

Most women flush them even though it says not too.

Mike NJ
 
  #29  
Old 02-11-13, 08:03 PM
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Slow Toilet

I just finished with a slow flowing toilet. It would fill the bowl and slowly drain down and not leave much water in the bowl. I had to take the toilet off after draining the water and disconnecting the water line. I had a bunch of waste stuck at the bottom of the toilet just before the drain pipe. Took some time and work, but I only had to clean out the bottom of the toilet and replace the wax ring and I was done. I didn't have to buy an auger or snake, just a $5 wax ring. I hope this helps.
 
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