What do you think is causing this clogged toilet?

kswartwoutApril 24, 2013

Situation: we moved into a really old house a few months ago which was pretty poorly maintained. The toilet in the powder bath would sometimes not flush even with urine only and no toilet paper. Then magically it would be better a day or two later. We replaced the toilet with a TOTO Drake II. This toilet is doing exactly the same thing. It clogs for no reason, unplung-able, and then magically is better if we wait. We can never unclog it with a plunger. All of our other sinks and toilets seem fine. We recently installed a clean out outside and had roots cleared in our main line.

So, does this sound like a case for using a snake down the toilet? Could there be a clog in the line below the toilet? Or does it sound more like a plumbing vent problem? Our roof is slate and very steep, or else we would have already tried to clear the vent. Please advise what you think this could be caused by so that I can determine if we should buy a snake, or hire someone to clear the vent. Probably both, but I'm curious what you think. The fact that it clogs for no reason, on both toilets, and then resolves itself has me scratching my head.

Thanks!

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aliceinwonderland_id

It sounds like you have a problem in your drain line - something is preventing the toilet from moving water down the drain. It is not likely to be a venting problem.

Is this toilet lower than others? Since it's a really old house, are you certain the drain for this toilet goes to the same drain as the others? Can you look at the drain line under the toilet - is it pitched properly?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:33PM
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kswartwout

Yes the toilet is lower than others in the house. It is on a different plumbing vent than the others. Does that mean it is also on a different drain line? I have no idea if it goes to the same drain as the others.

I don't think I can look at the drain line under the toilet, I believe that bathroom is on slab.

Hmm...so should we buy and try to use a snake, or just call a plumber?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:53PM
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aliceinwonderland_id

Call a plumber or drain cleaning company. Running a snake through a toilet is unlikely to get to the problem particularly when the newer toilet has the same problems as the old one. Generally, to do a good job of clearing the line, the toilet should be removed. Not knowing how your home is configured, I can't say whether this problem toilet shares a drain line with the others. It could be completely separate.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 1:04AM
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brickeyee

Remove toilet and run a full bore cuter on a power drain setup down the line.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:31AM
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kswartwout

brickeyee, would you mind giving me a link to what I need to buy or a specific name for this tool to purchase? Is this diy-able? I don't mind buying a tool if it saves me a plumber visit and we can use it in the future.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:44AM
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GreenDesigns

It's not DIY or worth buying a tool unless you are a plumber.

Here is a link that might be useful: Power auger with cutter

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:55PM
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GreenDesigns

On the other hand, every home should have a manual plumbing auger. Be sure to lay down plastic before you try to snake a toilet drain out. I'd remove the toilet and flush it out from back to front to be sure there's nothing caught in it, and then manually snake the drain as far as you can.

Here is a link that might be useful: Manual snake

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:58PM
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kswartwout

Thanks for the link. I'll probably buy a manual snake, because as you said, it seems like something every homeowner should probably have, and it might be worth a try. Then I'll call in the pro if necessary.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 1:05PM
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brickeyee

Manual snakes are very good at punching a small hole through a blockage in a 3 or 4 inch line from a toilet.

A partial blockage they just skip over.

Some rental houses have power augers (sorry, I was just drawing a blank on the full name).

Keep in mind they are bulky, heavy, and take some finesse to use.

Good ole' Roto Rooter has made their fortune off power augers.

In some places even the plumbers refer to them.

It is not a piece of equipment for the inexperienced.

A buddy rented one and his friend lost half a thumb trying to 'help' him (luckily non-dominant hand).

My buddy covered his medical bills (not small to clean up an amputation).

.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:02PM
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rgress

It sounds more like an issue with the vent line to me. Do you know are there any horizontal sections in the vent line? If so there could be a dip in that section allowing water to create a trap. But that doesnâÂÂt explain why it sometimes works and sometimes doesnâÂÂt.

If it was me I would try and determine if there was a way that the vent line could sometimes be plugged and at other times it becomes unplugged.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:36PM
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aliceinwonderland_id

A blocked vent will cause a toilet to flush more vigorously. Venting impedes siphoning action - siphoning is how a toilet flushes.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 4:17PM
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bus_driver

"A blocked vent will cause a toilet to flush more vigorously."

I do not agree with that statement.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:45PM
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