Toilet won't flush - not plugged - almost out of ideas!

Discussion in 'Toilets and Sinks' started by pilsner31, Feb 16, 2018.

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  1. Feb 16, 2018 #1

    pilsner31

    pilsner31

    pilsner31

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    Hey Guys, first post, sorry for a long one. I have a toilet that will only flush one out of maybe 20 tries. The history. Brand new house 4 years ago, about 2 years ago, out of the blue, toilet stops flushing. I know, this problem has gone on long enough, but its our ensuite so we've lived with just going #1 in it for a while. I'm a busy guy but its starting to bug me that this thing is winning.

    What I've done so far:
    - pulled the toilet and used a rigid see snake camera, no blockage as far as I could insert it
    - below the toilet has two 90's then Y's into the same drain shared with our main bath toilet which flushes like a champ
    - 5 gallon bucket of water poured down toilet, flushes like a champ, I have to believe there is NO blockage in the pipe
    - thought maybe the flush holes were blocked, coat hanger'd every one, all clear
    - took the tank of the toilet off, took a pic with my camera towards the front, all looks good
    - took flapper and put it in my main bath toilet, flushed like a champ still, both flappers have the same setting underneath, not sure what it means, maybe the float/drop rate? have to think the flapper isn't the problem
    - the overflow tube is clear all the way into the 3" flapper opening

    Now the only thing I can think of is somehow the water isn't going through the flapper fast enough to start the siphon? The only thing I notice with this toilet that doesn't happen on my other two, (all 3 toilet are the same, 1.6 gpf American Standard) is when you flush this one, water comes back up the overflow tube almost to the top and kind of gurgles then goes down the tube.

    I can't see why the flapper/overflow tube assembly would be the culprit, but that was going to be my next move and just replace it while I have the tank off. I know I could swap the one from the other toilet to see if that works but I don't want to take that tank off too.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I can't find any other situation online that is the same. The only other thing I can think off is get the see snake back from work, and camera behind the rim around the flush holes to see if something is blocking. But I'd say that is unlikely.

    Again, its odd that once in a while the thing will just flush normally. It does exchange the water though, as yellow turns to clear for #1's. Can't be a factory defect either as it flushed normally for the first 2 years.

    FYI, I'm on an acreage with good city (Saskatoon, SK) water. I have a drip system with two tanks and a pressure system. Can't think of anything else for clues.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
     
  2. Feb 16, 2018 #2

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    Is your tank completely full when you flush? If you say "I don't know" then I would suspect a flapper that is leaking the water slowly into the bowl, and when you flush, there isn't any (or much) water to do the flushing. Can you take a picture of the tank innerds and post it to help you more?
     
  3. Feb 16, 2018 #3

    pilsner31

    pilsner31

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    Yes, its full. I know the flapper seal isn't perfect though as every once in a while I'll hear the toilet tank top up its water, but its only on for a few seconds. When I've been testing, for sure its always had a full tank. For reference, here is a picture of the tank, its from my downstairs toilet because my tank is still off the bad one but they are the same.

    IMG_2934.jpg
     
  4. Feb 16, 2018 #4

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    With those low flow toilets, you need to adjust the water level to just below the overflow tube (black tube with the hole going down). This should fix your problem.
     
  5. Feb 16, 2018 #5

    havasu

    havasu

    havasu

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    By the way, you can usually use your thumb to turn the phillips head looking rod counter clockwise to increase the water level. It should go up to the black arrow on the back side of your tank wall, where is says "overflow top." It may take a few adjustments to get it to stop right at the mark, but necessary with these stupid one gallon flush toilets.
     
  6. Feb 16, 2018 #6

    TomFOhio

    TomFOhio

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    Another thing you might want to check is the vent on the roof for that bathroom. If it looks ok and no birds nest or anything take a hose and just run some water down it to make sure its clear. Also is there a hole down at the bottom of the bowl? If so take a small screw driver or something and make sure that hole isn't limed over.
     
  7. Feb 16, 2018 #7

    CT-18

    CT-18

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    All other drains in the house are fine, you have dumped 5 gallons down the drain with the toilet off and that was fine. At this point why not just take that toilet and smash the crap out of it and set a new one.
     
  8. Feb 17, 2018 #8

    Geofd

    Geofd

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    if you bought an American standard flapper if the chain is made up of beads
    and a syrafoam float you have to read the back of the pack
    it will tell you how many beads above the flapper the float had to
    be a Korky flapper will also work fine I have 2 American standard
    toilets they can be finicky ......

    I didn't read the part about your over flow tube try turning the water
    pressure (Valve)down a little it sounds like there's a log of water pressure there
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  9. Feb 18, 2018 #9

    RenewDave

    RenewDave

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    Hi, by what you’ve said here, I think you have some sort of obstruction within the water closet. Some blockages act like old butterfly valve, letting liquids and some solids through but then it moves and stops other solids from exiting and boom a back up. That AS water closet is a good flusher. The only other thing I see is that you have an after market flush lever(moen, I think) I am not a fan of those universal handles. I’ve seen them get out of adjustment and not pull the flapper correctly.
     
  10. Feb 18, 2018 #10

    pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut

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    At the bottom of the bowl there are two holes, a large outlet and directly across from it a small inlet. If water does not come out of the small inlet fast enough the toilet will not flush reliably. Did you coat hanger this hole too? One of our toilets had this problem and cleaning out that hole made it work perfectly.

    Some modern toilets do more than just passively gravity feed water to that hole. So if you have some fancy toilet you may not want to stick a coat hanger up that hole.

    If the channels inside the bowl are gunked up some place beyond the reach of a coat hanger you can clear them by:

    0. Open the window from the bathroom to the outside, put on gloves, eye protection,
    and preferably a mask.
    1. empty the bowl of all water
    2. pour weak acid into the tank outlet (lift the flap, pour in with a funnel so none gets in the tank.) HCl acid based toilet bowl cleaners may work.
    3. close the flap and lid.
    4. cover the bowl with plastic wrap, tape down the edges
    5. Close the bathroom door (to keep the fumes out of the house)
    6. let it sit many hours.


    Since your toilet is not flushing reliably I would end this by neutralizing the small amount of fluid in the bowl with some bicarbonate of soda, then flushing it carefully with water from a bucket. Wash out the inside by pouring some water into a funnel in the tank outlet. Once you are satisfied that the acid is out of the toilet try flushing it normally. Ie, you really don't want the toilet overflowing acid onto the floor.
     
  11. Feb 23, 2018 #11

    justin_dewan90

    justin_dewan90

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    Sounds like the jets are plugged.
     

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