HELP - toilets keep clogging!!

kismet08March 9, 2009

My oldest sons are 16 and 13, and between the two, not a week goes by that a toilet is not clogged in my house. They swear that they aren't using too much paper. I do their laundry, and judging from the skidmarks in the undies, I tend to agree! I am at my wits end. Between the two boys, I can count on having to unclog a toilet (not always the same one) at least twice/wk on avg. I'm tired of it. Is it them? Is it the toilet? These are Mansfield toilets, original to the house, circa 1999. Is replacing them going to solve this? or is it just the age? I have 4 toilets - 2 up, powder main and one in the finished basement. I'd have to have to replace them, esp. since they are only 10 years old. Any suggestions??

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I forgot to mention that 99% of the time, everything goes down (thankfully). I usually try dishsoap and hot water first. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I buy the cheapest paper I can, a lesson learned in a previous home. However, we are not the original owners of this house, and have only been in it for one year. Could a build up of crud be a cause? would snaking help?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 7:27PM
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Wow... a lot there.

Let's start with the plumbing problem: Toilets can become not effective at flushing if the water level in the tank isn't high enough (there's generally a water level marked inside the tank)or if the water isn't moving from the tank fast enough (water passages clogged) or completely (flapper valve not adjusted right). Check the operation of the toilets by making sure the water level is correct and that the tank is emptying all but the last inch or so of water.

Cleaning the water passages involves either flushing an acidic solution through the water passages or cleaning them with a pipe cleaner, small wire tubing cleaner or similar.

The thing is that the correct amount of water must move from the tank to the bowl quickly in order to effectively flush solids completely through the trap. Otherwise they clog.

If you suspect that the water passages are clogged and you don't want to mess with cleaning them, replace the toilets.

Now for the rest of the story: At 16 and 13 the boys are plenty old enough to plunge their own damn toilet. They are also old enough to do their own laundry and deal with the aftermath of their poor hygiene. Really! You might even teach them some basic plumbing skills by having them fix or replace the toilets. Your future daughters-in-law will thank you.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Since the problem is with all the toilets I would replace one with another brand and see if the problem goes away.

For what it's worth, we have good success with Kohler cimarron, standard bowl only (the elongated bowl leaves bowl residue too often, so avoid that).

For other choices maybe this thread will help:

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:25AM
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Get a Toto Drake.

Our old 1.6gpf toilet (came with the house built in 1999) was maddening--used to plug 3-4 times a week! In the two years since we've replaced it, I can count the number of times our Toto has plugged on two hands.

BTW, a nice feature of the Drake (though I don't know if it's considered a true "dual-flush" action) is that it gives you a water-saving "half-flush" if you release the lever right away. If you don't have a lot in the bowl this is usually enough to send it down, as it still gives a powerful initial flush.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 12:18PM
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FWIW, we also had the Drake installed replacing a fairly new Eljer. It's the best things we've done to our house!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 8:35AM
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Their food choices, lack of hydration, and general bowel health could also be part of the problem. Try to increase their fiber consumption and keep an eye out for constipation. Tell them any time they produce an obvious "clogger" to leave it to soak and soften. That will give you a chance to check on what kind of cement they are producing. Korean or Japanese style instant mild seafood or kim chi ramen noodle soups are also helpful as snacks but they may not care for the entire flavor packet. Stay away from the soup packages with any red on them unless the kids are really into spices. Stuff like mac and cheese, large amounts of bread, butter, aren't helpful. "Goes together like chocolate candy, peanut butter, and dirty underwear!" is a joke with a lot of truth in it for some.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Wow, and I thought I ventured off-topic...
Way too much information.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 11:30AM
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