HELP! Clogged, gurgling apartment toilet

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-23-13, 02:30 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
HELP! Clogged, gurgling apartment toilet

Hello everyone. This is my first post and I am humbly asking for a bit of help.

Background: I live in an apartment and we have on-site maintenance, but I'm only home after-hours during the week and we don't have any maintenance dudes around on the weekends. I'm an engineer and prefer to do my own work as opposed to paying somebody a ton of money to come in. Plus it's not like I'm dripping wads of money for a plumber whenever my toilets go south.

The problem: So one of my two toilets is acting up. The sequence goes like this: 1) Toilet is empty; 2) I flush it and the toilet fills, air bubbles pop out of the full toilet, and it comes to rest with a full bowl; 3) It slowly drains (the amount of time to drain has been as much as 5 minutes but it's down to about 20 seconds after A LOT of plunging); 4) When it finally drains, it gurgles air bubbles again and the only water left is maybe a 2" diameter puddle at the top of the drainage orifice.

What I've tried: Lots of plunging, unsuccessful amateur snaking, and professional help. The professional was our maintenance guy whom I paid to come out on a Saturday. He plunged and snaked, and the toilet worked for about 6 hours before it went back to the exact condition I described above.

I'm lost: We just bought some Draino, which colleagues with some plumbing experience have told me is OK to use in toilets, but I'm nervous to put that nasty sauce down there if it's really fubar.

Please help!
 
  #2  
Old 03-23-13, 03:29 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,876
Received 1,342 Votes on 1,240 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

I'm not a Draino fan and haven't heard too many success stories with it either.

Did the maintenance guy have any idea ? Those guys should know the issues those buildings have. It sounds like a clog on one hand and a vent issue on the other hand.

Are you in a basement apartment ?
 
  #3  
Old 03-23-13, 04:47 PM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 24,452
Received 751 Votes on 690 Posts
I hate to say I'm with PJmax on everything. I feel that Draino and pour down the drain chemicals are a waste of money and pose a hazard when trying to clear a clog. The problems you describe are often caused by a partial clog or a vent problem. Both of which are in the piping/plumbing of the building and not what I would consider a DIY fix for a renter.

How are all the other fixtures in the home doing? Have you noticed that the toilet has more problem after draining the tub or are any tubs or sinks gurgling?
 
  #4  
Old 03-23-13, 05:23 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you for your responses.

The maintenance dude didn't say anything. He was mad as hell that he had to work on a weekend... I wish I didn't have to work the days I'm paid to work on!

I did end up putting draino in the toilet. It seemed to help a little bit, but I'm still stuck with a toilet that doesn't flush. It just fills and then slowly drains. It's more-or-less useable for urinating, but nothing else.

Is there anyway I can check ventilation? My other toilet works fine, though they both have terrible flush action and both need to be flushed several times per use for solids to prevent clogs.

Any ideas?
 
  #5  
Old 03-23-13, 07:37 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for the help.

So after watching Zero Dark Thirty again, I (figuratively) grabbed my balls and went after the toilet. I dumped no less than THREE jugs of draino into the ************ (and we all know liquid plumber is ****) and after and hour or so, things seem to be OK.

Now this toilet is unpredictable, so I may be back here soon. But I hope my experience may help any dudes who find themselves in desperate straights and are in desperate need of a ****ter.

Peace to you all.
 
  #6  
Old 03-23-13, 10:34 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,876
Received 1,342 Votes on 1,240 Posts
Do you know what your drain lines are made of ? PVC , copper, other ?

I've seen drain cleaners leave the clog and eat the copper.
 
  #7  
Old 03-24-13, 01:49 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
Several possibilities. First test is to obtain a bucket that will hold at least 3-1/2 gallons of water. Pour this amount of water directly into the (clean) toilet fairly rapidly and see if it flushes decently. If it does then there is nothing wrong with the drain or vent piping.

If it fails this test then it will likely require removing the toilet, something that you, as a renter, should not do.

If it passes the bucket test then it is most likely that the flush holes around the rim and the "forcer" jet at the base of the trapway are severely chocked by calcium deposits from hard water. You can use a bent wire coat hanger to probe the holes in the underside of the rim.

Did the maintenance man use a regular snake through the toilet or did he use a toilet auger? Here is a YouTube showing a toilet auger (ofter called a closet auger) in use. How to Clear a Toilet Clog using a Closet Auger - YouTube Using a regular snake is a waste of time so if he used a regular auger it proves he hasn't a clue as to what he is doing.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: