Hot Topics: Toilet Needs Frequent Plunging
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Sometimes a toilet won’t flush and it’s time to pull out the plunger. However, when this starts being a constantly problem, our forum can help get to the bottom of the unseen problem.
Original Post: Toilet needs frequent plunging
Hello, I have a one bedroom apartment and the toilet occasionally needs to be plunged for liquid waste. I did pull it, surprised I couldn't get a snake through the top or bottom of the toilet when it was laying on my bathroom floor. I'm thinking a toy might be stuck in the pipe [from the previous tenet’s kids] but I'm not sure if that is the case or not. The water here is very hard, have to scrub it twice a week to keep it white. Is there a liquid I could put down it to make it so the frequent plunging would go the way of the dodo bird?
Highlights from the Thread
Do you own this apartment?
Tried poring at least a 5 gal. bucket of water down the drain to see if it's the drain not the toilet that's the issue?
There is no magic liquid that's going to remove a solid object from a toilet if that's what it really is. Are you using a toilet auger to snake the toilet?
Pilot Dane Group Moderator
You said apartment. If you are a tenant then your landlord should be working on this problem unless you oddly enjoy pulling toilets.
I second Joe's recommendation to avoid pour down the drain cleaners.
Your water hardness likely has little to do with the drain problem. In severe cases it can clog the holes under the rim which can affect the quality of flush. It's easy to spot when you flush. If water comes out some holes but not others something may be clogging them. I have also seen drop in tank "blue things" break apart and the chunks can also clog the holes around the rim.
If there is a toy, especially a ball, inside the trap of the toilet replacement is usually the only option. Getting a regular drain snake through a toilet trap can be difficult but if you can't get a toilet snake through that could indicate an obstruction. I take the toilet outside and set it up on a couple bricks so the drain on the bottom is clear of the ground. Take a big bucket of water and quickly pour it into the bowl. Does the toilet flush? Does the water flow through well? If it flushes and the water flows well then I'd focus on the drain pipes before rushing out to buy a new toilet.
Since the toilet is removed get a 5 gallon bucket of water and quickly pour it down the drain pipe in the floor. Does it flow freely? Even if it doesn't back up do you detect a change in tone or sound of how the water goes down the pipe. If it's backing up somewhere down the line you can often hear the pitch of the water sound change.
stickshift Group Moderator
We have to remove a trapped object every year or two but it usually falls out when we pull the stool and flip it over - that apparently did not happen for you?
If you own the apartment and this is a typical problem AND you're not getting results from pulling the toilet out, AND the piping down stream checks out, get a new toilet. It's not worth the hassle.
chandler Forum Topic Moderator
I have taken out toilets in rental houses that I maintained years ago, laid them on their side and hit the crook with a hammer, mostly to reveal Morphin Ranger toys that expanded once the twerpy kids flushed it. No way it was coming out in either direction.
It sounds like baby wipes. Try to suck them out with a wet vac. If that doesn't work, go to the cleanout in the cellar, if there is one. I removed what seemed to be an entire package of them once. The package said "flushable" WRONG. They were called Kan-do by Proctor & Gamble. I tried to call them & couldn't get through, no surprise there. I started a thread called "No Kan-DO" I hope that P&G is reading this forum.
I rent, pulled the toilet at least a year ago, used what looked like a snake in a round plastic case, the top of the case was missing, couldn't get that wire down the toilet. I mentioned it to my landlord the week after I moved in. He said he would talk to a plumber, have not heard from the plumber yet. The mounting screws of the toilet broke when I gently loosened them with a pair of pliers after spraying PB Blaster on the rusty nuts. About 3/4 of the time, it works like it should, so I have no idea what it could be. I'll try pouring a 5 gallon bucket of water down it and see what happens. If that doesn't show a difference, I'll pull the toilet again in the morning. Never signed a lease and the rent is inexpensive. We do our own maintenance and write it off the rent, it's faster for things like bad electrical outlets and leaking pipes that need replacement. I'll also check the basement and see if there is a cleanout valve.
Thank you for the advice folks, I'll post updates when available, no wifi at home now.
stickshift Group Moderator
I know you haven't gotten a good response from your landlord but, as a tenant, this is his problem and not yours to resolve.