Toilet flushes are hit and miss -

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-24-12, 08:32 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
Toilet flushes are hit and miss -

I read over the sticky notes. Gave me a lot of ideas, but don't see this issue exactly. I have a toilet with personality. I flush the toilet after using and works fine. I can use it and flush and it is stopped up, and water backs up in the toilet coming up to the rim of toilet seat and I plunge it to get it to go down, and then sometimes I flush it with nothing in it at all and it stops up and water comes up to almost to the rim near toilet seat, and I plunge and it goes down. I have bought a rotating snake from a bulding supply company to try to see if there was some type of partial block and it did not help.

I have another toilet in my house that works fine all the time. I can actually feel the power of suction when I flush it. Both are the same age, and same toilet make and model.

So for some reason I am not getting this power in the one toilet that acts up. I have no back up anywhere in tub, sink, or anything. To me it seems like a suction problem pulling the water down the drain. I have replaced all the insides in the tank. Still the same -

I don't know enough about how toilets work to know where the pull down the drain is coming from - seems like I may have build up in this toilet. I read about cleaning a blow hole of hard water build-up, but I do not know what the blow hole means or where it is located.

So are there areas in the toilet that I can clean and make sure are not clogged with build-up? Would that affect the power of the flush?

Please give me some guidance - it is frustrating to say the least - and it is the guest bathroom - so I have to keep a plunger out by the toilet in case it happens to them -
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-24-12, 08:42 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,221
Likes Received: 34
We see this behavior once a year or so in one of our units and invariably the reason is something got flushed and stuck but it's not something so big it causes a blockage on it's own or that a snake can't get past it.

We have to pull the stool and turn it over to get the offending object out of the trap.
 
  #3  
Old 05-24-12, 09:13 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,542
I have the same issue as mitch17 described. The offender was my 2yrs old who flushed something that he shouldn't have (donno what it was, as it went down before I saw it).

Be sure to purchase a new wax ring before removing the toilet.
 
  #4  
Old 05-24-12, 09:30 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
I am the OP - so take the toilet out is not fun, but no problem. Replacing wax ring - good tip.

Where is the trap located when I turn it over? Just look up into the toilet itself or down in the hole where the toilet was sitting?

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 05-24-12, 09:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,542
The trap is right where the water disappears when you flush it. If you tip it upside down (may require two people), you should see the exit of the trap. Would hate to say it, but you might need to stick your hand in (from the bottom) to remove what is stuck.

Removin the toilet should be pretty easy. Turn off the water supply, Empty the tank, scoop out the water from inside the bowl (spunge out if possible), disconnect the water supply, remove the two bolts that hold it down and go.
 
  #6  
Old 05-24-12, 10:07 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
I have seen a toilet replaced twice. It does look like it is straight forward, and dirty job. Guess that why we have showers though. I won't touch anything, use gloves, and throw away my clothes after this event.

I am a girl, so I think I will try to get a guy to help me. I don't think I can pick it up by myself, or want to try. Definitely two person job - can't wait to see if I find something! Maybe diamonds? It has been this way since I purchased this home. I don't have children, and neither did the first owners (two males). House built in 1998-1999.

Any other suggestions before I do this?
 
  #7  
Old 05-24-12, 10:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
so it must be something really small trapped there since I used that turning snake thing I bought and it didn't help. Plus the on again and off again temperant of the flushing. Thank you so much.
 
  #8  
Old 05-24-12, 10:20 AM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 17,733
Likes Received: 3
Some thing to check.

When the toilet is flushed make sure the water level in the tank is full. Sometimes toilets that leak from the flapper cause the water in the tank to become lower. You may be flushing when the level is low and before the fill valve kicks in to refill it. This is often a cause in low flow design toilets. More or less homeowners always think something is clogged.

Now if that is not an issue then check the flush with and without debris.

Use a toilet auger and make sure it gets all the way in down to the horn. The augers are designed to pass the horn or base several inches. Now you may have something in there and the auger may be just passing it. A skilled auger person should be able to retrieve it.

So what you do after that is let the toilet fill then flush with nothing in it. Do this a few times. Water with no debris passes a blockage or opject easy.

If it flushes well then try wads of toilet paper. If there is something still in the toilet the wads of toilet paper will get caught up and clog the toilet. A simple plunge should clear it, then try again to make sure.

This will tell you there is something in there and you need to be agressinve with the auger.

I have pulled out plastic bottles, baby rattles, hair brushes, cleaning wands...etc.

I have seen it all. The bable rattle was the only one I could not get out. It was jammed in the trap of the toilet. I did not know until I took the toilet outside and took a hammer to it. Thats when I found it.

Let us know.

Mike NJ
 
  #9  
Old 05-24-12, 10:27 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
I am the OP - so it there is not anything in the trap what is plan B? It has been like this for 9 years. I do know that that bathtub cold water that goes through the water softner system is outside hooked up to the outside hose right out that brick wall. So my bathtub in this room is cold water hard water combined with hot water going through the water softner system. The outside hose outlet is going through my water softner. I have two other outside outlets that do not. So if toilet were stopped up and it was a back-up to the drain would it come back up in my tub?
 
  #10  
Old 05-24-12, 10:32 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,542
Q-tips (donno the non-brand name) are a very common issue. Some people don't think and toss them in the toilet.

As for tossing out all your cloths... Don't think it would be needed. Just make sure to empty out all the water out of the tank and bowl. There should be very minimal water dripping from the toilet when you empty it completely.
 
  #11  
Old 05-24-12, 10:38 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,221
Likes Received: 34
Most of the water in a toilet is clean, nothing to worry about. If you're really concerned, a pair of gloves should be all you need and there should be no need to do anything different than usual with your clothes.

The fact the toilet has been like this for nine years means little other than the item causing the clog is not going to disintegrate with water immersion.

As an aside, my favorite retrieved flushed item was a spoon. Yep, had to ask about that one - someone had been pouring a leftover stew down the toilet to get rid of it and the spoon fell in. Water got past it fine but paper would catch on it and cause a temporary clog. The snake got past it just fine as well.
 
  #12  
Old 05-24-12, 11:20 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,105
To add to what Mitch said...no reason to get rid of clothes. I mean, heck, people wash diapers all the time, don't they?


Matter of fact when I was in charge of a barracks...I learned you can just clean the toilets using pine cleaner and disinfectant..then use them as buckets for swabbing the floors.
 
  #13  
Old 05-24-12, 11:29 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,542
Gunguy45,

Funny, I thought I was the only one that did that (at home).

My wife gives me crap for doing it. Going to point her to your post and say "See, I'm not the only one."
 
  #14  
Old 06-05-12, 11:21 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
lawrosa I am going to try all your suggestions today. I heard somewhere that toilets are pretty clean actually, and I cleaned it this morning rust/calcium remover under the rim. When I used the snake before I read the directions that it had to go through all the curves of the flushing part.

Could this have anything to do when the line to the street? It is about 30 yards from this toilet to the place it goes at the sewer cover. The other toilet is further away from the sewer line and never had a problem.

Okay - going to test and will report back. Thank you so much for information. I consider a simple plunge to be once or twice? So that is how I will test unless you tell me different.
 
  #15  
Old 06-05-12, 12:21 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 17,733
Likes Received: 3
You need to use a toilet auger like this.






Also how old is the toilet?

After you try my suggestions you can also try pouring two gallons in the bowl from a bucket. Do this several times to see the flush action. If it flushes well then I would say there is calcium build up. You would need to try and clear the holes under the rim of the toilet.

Be careful. You dont want to break anything. The holes are kindof at an angle to insert coat hanger in all the holes in the same direction.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fa5spW7Kyvc Mike NJ
 
  #16  
Old 06-05-12, 12:41 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
I already tried the toilet augeryou suggested, and it did not help at all. I have it out in the garage if I should try again.

I will check the holes under the rim and make sure they are clear. To me it seems like a "suction problem" - there does not seem to be enough pull when flushed every time. It will flush fine sometimes full or empty, it will flush and act like there is no "pull" to take it down the flush hole with or without anything in the toilet except water.

So what generates that pull when flushed? I will watch the video now. Thank you for trying to help.
 
  #17  
Old 06-05-12, 12:49 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
Okay this has taught me a lot.

1. My toilet stops up about once a week with or without anything in the bowl. It can be plunged once to three times and cleared.

2. I purchased an auger tool about a year ago thinking that if I used that it would stop the problem above. It was not needed to unstop the toilet. I just used it to try to eliminate the issue above.

3. So is it time to call a company? If so, what type of company works on actually checking the line between the house and the sewer?

4. It has never over flowed. It just goes to the top. I plunge and it clears.

5. Can I dig to check my own pvc line from toilet to street? It is on my property?

6. The house was built in 1998 and I assume the toilet is 1998 or 1999 model.

What would you do?
 
  #18  
Old 06-05-12, 01:33 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 17,733
Likes Received: 3
Answer these questions.

After you plunge it clears right?

After you clear it, flush a few times. How does it flush? ( Wait until the tank fills up completely)

What is the level in the tank when you flush it. Again make sure the level in the tank is full before you flush.

Now that you can clear it with a plunger, throw some wads of toilet paper in there. Then flush. Does it clog real quickly? ( If it does plunge and do it again. Post results.

Do it a few times. Again make sure the tank is full before you perform these tests.

If it was a main line clogg you would have water come up the tub in that bathroom normally.

Or if you run the tub and sink at the same time, you should or may see water movement in the bowl of the toilet.

4. It has never over flowed. It just goes to the top. I plunge and it clears.
This sounds like its isolated at the toilet. The paper test should confirm this. But you need to perform this test.

Last: What is the make and model toilet?



Let us know.

Mike NJ
 
  #19  
Old 06-05-12, 01:45 PM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 17,733
Likes Received: 3
Also this is the proper way to auger a toilet. Its hard to find the pros doing it right.

Notice when he cranks it in where he holds it. Its not held from the main handle. He gets a good crank going by holding it midway and feed it slowly. Let the auger work.

Now once he gets it into the bottom he quickly withdraws it. He does not crank it back out. This often grabs the object and pulls it back out.

You can also insert it quickly without cranking it right after you withdraw it in that quick manner. I do this a few times. This is how I more than not pull out crazy objects.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L2-l7sZFHSg#! Mike NJ
 
  #20  
Old 06-05-12, 05:26 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: San Diego Ca. USA
Posts: 1,018
Likes Received: 2
Hi, Lots of Ideas on this post.As noted before after you use a bowl auger you want to check the result flush with no paper, Then flush with lots of paper then flush with no paper again. I have found The second flush after the paper will not flush. That means something is still in the toilet. then auger again. Could be a comb or tooth brush in there that lets the auger by but catches the paper.
Also make sure tube from the fill valve to the overflow squirts water down the overflow when you flush the toilet. Some folks pull it out to save water. That's a big no no.
Nine years is a long time and I don't believe toilets wear out. When all else fails I would pour about a quart of muritic acid down the overflow let set for about 45 minutes then flush.
Good Luck Woodbucher
 
  #21  
Old 06-05-12, 07:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 373
My toilet had been acting up for a week or so. It would flush fine for days, then back up. I used the plunger, closet snake, and a 5 gallon bucket of water. But it would still start running slow, and back up. I didn't really want to pull the toilet, I only have one good working arm. Then I got a brain storm, I couldn't push it through with the plunger, snake, or bucket of water. So as my last chance, I got out my shop vac, 3 toys later, it was running like new, and I didn't have to fight and pull the toilet.
 
  #22  
Old 06-07-12, 06:34 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,221
Likes Received: 34
Toilets are pretty straight forward - when it goes from flushing well to not so much, it's almost always a clog of some kind.
 
  #23  
Old 08-02-12, 10:58 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
The make of the toilet is Sterling GPF 1.6. I don't have my glasses on so I think it says GPF
 
  #24  
Old 08-02-12, 11:05 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
I did the tests that you mentioned above and have the results.
 
  #25  
Old 08-02-12, 11:13 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
okay I went flushed the toilet without anything in it and waited until it filled back up to flush again. I did this 3 times empty and it filled the bowl to normal. I did not look in the back tank for the water level.

So the next three times I used the paper test. I put about 12 sheets of toilet paper and it flushed fine without anything else in it. After it filled the tank I did the toilet paper test again and it seemed to hesitate or be a little different, but it worked like normal and filled up the bowl again. The third time I did the paper test it is clogged. It did not take the bowl water down, it gave a hint of trying and then hearing the tank on the back start to fill up and it will require a plunge now to flush. I could try to flush again when it is not going down, but always they makes the water in the toilet bowl go up to just at the edge of the rim. So not going to try that. Does that help with what is wrong? This was all done with a clean toilet - nothing but water and paper - nothing else was in the bowl when doing this test.
 
  #26  
Old 08-02-12, 11:18 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,221
Likes Received: 34
Yep, sounds to me like something is in there which is letting the water pass but which hangs the paper, which builds up to cause a clog.
 
  #27  
Old 08-02-12, 11:19 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
toilet paper testing

please help me with this problem -
 
  #28  
Old 08-02-12, 11:36 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
so with a clog - and I thought that was the problem at first - I bought the auger snake and used it on this toilet. It didn't help at all. I have two bathrooms. The other toilet is fine and never has a problem and connects to the same city lines.

We can pull the toilet and look (not fun) and replace the wax ring at the same time - again (not fun) and I will be so upset if that doesn't fix it.

As a professional, what would you try next? This toilet is closest to the drain going out to city lines. The other toilet has to travel a ways. This one is about 3 feet from being outside to the line and the line runs about 40 feet to the street for this toilet. We have a pie shaped lot - the other runs a ways.

Is there anything that could have been done wrong when they built the house that caused the toilet to act this way? My bathtub in that same bathroom is connected to hot water heater,in the house for hot water and the cold water for my bathrub is connected to the outside faucet water that does not go through my house

So this outside water faucet runs through my house and my water softner. Could the toilet be connected wrong with these symptoms?
 
  #29  
Old 08-02-12, 11:45 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
not trying to find blame at all - just wondering if you can have a plumbing problem to a toilet wrong that would cause this problem?
 
  #30  
Old 08-02-12, 12:01 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,221
Likes Received: 34
I mentioned it before but we have this happen on occasion in our units and we pull the stool - the reason is always (for us) something which was flushed but will not go down and is stuck in the trap and only accessible from underneath.
 
  #31  
Old 08-02-12, 12:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
okay - thank you Mitch - going to do it - have the new wax ring already - just hoped - and have those protective gloves - and have a guy that will help me. I hope he will put hand up in the toilet -

Should we also look in the hole below the toilet? Guess so - this is going to be great if this works. I am sick of having a plunger by my toilet.

So I mentioned the brand of toilet I own and it was put in the house in 1998 when it was built. Would you purchase a new toilet?

I mean have they changed toilets, upgraded them, and if we can afford a new one is it better to have a new one? This one is 14 years old. I would think they made changes - and if we have to pull it - then I would like to upgrade if there is a difference.
 
  #32  
Old 08-02-12, 12:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
thank you Mitch. Thank you Lawrosa. Wish me luck -
 
  #33  
Old 08-02-12, 12:25 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
wait - just went back to the bathroom with toilet problem. I had not plunged it and it was stopped up with a normal bowl level and toilet paper was there. Now all the water out of the toilet bowl is gone. The only thing left was the wet toilet paper. I flushed and it was still stopped up and plunged once - cleared.
 
  #34  
Old 08-02-12, 01:31 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,221
Likes Received: 34
Toilet paper does disintegrate with time - your results do not change my hypothesis.
 
  #35  
Old 09-25-12, 12:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 276
UPDATE: My husband pulled the toilet. He did take it outside and clean out the clog. He even sprayed it with the hose to clean it out after pulling out what he found. He felt like something was still in it and thought about just replacing the toilet. He didn't and put the toilet back. He told me he was not sure he had fixed the problem. I started using the toilet about four times and it was backing up....and I plunged it. Went down like normal - thinking I am going to pick out my new toilet. It has been at least five weeks and never had to use the plunger again. Did not get a NEW toilet and this one is working fine after that one plunge like the day after he put it back together....

So far so good - great advice - and it worked - Thanks again
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes