Toilet won't flush, not sure what to try next

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by tim_002, Apr 8, 2019.

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  1. Apr 8, 2019 #1

    tim_002

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    I want to start by saying I only know the basics about plumbing so I may ask for clarification on some things.
    As the title states I have a toilet that won't flush. This toilet is in the master bathroom. This started about a week ago and since then I've tried several things to try and determine the cause and I'm running short on ideas. Nothing seems to be conclusive. Each flush attempt the water sits in the bowl and over the course of an hour goes down. You can slightly hear water draining from the toilet while it does this. I've tried some things from what I have read on other sites and Youtube. Here's what I've tried:
    • Plunging like there's no tomorrow. Did this on several occasions over the course of the week. After enough plunging the water level goes down but it never "flushes".
    • Pouring a bucket of water down the toilet (trying to eliminate water pressure and clogged jets as the cause). The bowl just fills up. No flush.
    • Ran a 5ft closet auger down the toilet. No resistance going in or out, nothing pulled out on the auger.
    • Poured hot water and dish soap down the toilet. Let sit for an hour. This had no effect. Water level continued to slowly recede like it has since this started.
    • Replaced the toilet completely. Wife said she wanted a new toilet and I wanted to rule out the toilet as an issue. Upon installation of new toilet and wax seal no change in behavior. Flushing still just fills the bowl. Slowly recedes over an hour.
    • Removed new toilet and poured a bucket of water down the drain pipe. The water level in the pipe does not rise no matter how much water I pour down it.
    • Ran a 20ft drain pipe snake down the pipe with zero resistance. Pulling it back up and there's nothing snagged on it.
    • Inspected the toilet flange and there's no crazy obstructions there. It doesn't appear to be undersized as it fits perfectly over the drain pipe and onto the toilet.
    Some details about what is going on around it:
    • In the same bathroom the drain for the sink and tub are quick and are not backed up at all. No slow drain there.
    • No other drains in the household have this problem. It's only the toilet in the master bathroom.
    • On one occasion when the washing machine was running we noticed the toilet started gurgling.
    Just over a week ago this thing flushed fine. It backed up a couple times and cleared and since last Monday it won't flush at all.

    None of this seems to make sense to me. I can pour water down the toilet while it sits in the tub and it "flushes". I can pour water down the drain pipe and the water level doesn't rise so it doesn't appear to be backed up. But if I put the toilet on the drain pipe the system fails and doesn't flush. There doesn't seem to be an obstruction in the main pipe otherwise the sink and tub would back up. The toilet is new and we don't have kids so there's no chance something got flushed down there. This new toilet hasn't seen human waste yet. I'm out of ideas and could use any advice you guys would be willing to give. Thank you!
     
  2. Apr 8, 2019 #2

    Geofd

    Geofd

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    you said you snaked about 20 ft in....how far is it to the main.....do you have access from below??????when you mention the laundry and t he toilet gugling that points to a stoppage or restriction
     
  3. Apr 8, 2019 #3

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    I don't have access to below. I don't think it's far to the main.
    I did get something done today however. There is a PCV pipe on the outside wall behind the house. This appears to be an overflow and it has water coming out whenever I flush the main bathroom. My understanding is that this should not have water coming out. It smells like sewage too. It's the first screenshot. I took the pipe end off of it and it had a damn paper towel floating in it which I pulled out.

    If I were to guess I am looking a clog situation that isn't bad enough for the other drains to stop up, just the toilet closest to it which is the master bathroom toilet. Does that sound about right?

    I ran the 20ft pipe cleaner down this pipe and could hear it knocking behind this manhole cover thing (I'm assuming that is property of the utility company?) so my guess is the clog is not between those.

    I've called the utility company to come out and see if there is clog on their end.

    If none of this makes sense it's because this house is new to us and we moved out of an apartment, where we didn't have to deal with this stuff.
     

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  4. Apr 9, 2019 #4

    Geofd

    Geofd

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    that's your clean out...you should snake from thereto the street....if that line is holding water its clogged
     
  5. Apr 9, 2019 #5

    Geofd

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    the paper towel wont break down nether will wet wipes even tissues don't break down easily
     
  6. Apr 9, 2019 #6

    Mikey

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    How old is the house?
     
  7. Apr 9, 2019 #7

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    The house is built in 1988. We just purchased the house and moved in 3 weeks ago.
     
  8. Apr 9, 2019 #8

    frodo

    frodo

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    take the new toilet back and get another
    you may have a defective bowl
     
  9. Apr 9, 2019 #9

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    Ok stupid question time. What is that manhole cover looking thing? Would that be the property of the utility company? And the cleanout pipe is at the back of the house while the street is on the other side. I'm trying to figure out if this is something I need to call a plumber for or if the utility company needs to come out and check their line.
     
  10. Apr 9, 2019 #10

    frodo

    frodo

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    if you have a sprinkler system that might be the control zone valves

    remove the top and see what it is
     
  11. Apr 9, 2019 #11

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    It appears to be a grinder pump. Hard to tell, though, because it is completely full of sewage. If this thing is supposed to turn on when a certain water level is reached it is not functioning correctly.
     
  12. Apr 9, 2019 #12

    frodo

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    bingo

    that might be your problem..check a breaker first
    if the pit is full then your line to your house is full
    trouble shoot the pump or call a plumbr to inspect it
     
  13. Apr 9, 2019 #13

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    This looks like its going to be fun! (that's sarcasm)
    The breaker had tripped so I flipped it on. Immediately the alarm for the grinder pump sounds but the pump does not stir. No noise at all coming from it. Eventually the alarm stops and the red light on top of it goes out. I check and the breaker had tripped again.

    So this point is it fair to say the grinder pump is dead and needs replacement?
     
  14. Apr 10, 2019 #14

    frodo

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    no....it means you need to have someone trouble shoot the problem.
    if the breaker is tripping..i assume, because it is code, the breaker is a gfi breaker
    i would first look for a short in the wire to the pump
    i think you need to call a plumber
    it could be a simple loose connection

    off topic, are you saying you bought a house with out a house inspection?
    dude..no no no...always pay the $300.00 for a house inspection it could save you thousands
    this lesson you are about to learn if you have to buy a new grinder and have it installed
     
  15. Apr 10, 2019 #15

    tim_002

    tim_002

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    That's the thing. We did a home inspection and it's with a very reputable company in this area. I'm wondering if they didnt find this because at the time the toilets flushed and drains all work in the home. And this might have started after we bought the home because this wasnt a problem. Either way we have to deal with it now.
     

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