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RMedina

04:45AM | 03/07/05
Member Since: 03/06/05
4 lifetime posts
Bvplumbing
My toilet seems to have lost all suction. There isn't anything caught in the lines. The water rises to the top of the bowl and sometimes completes the cycle and sometimes just sits there. It's slow in emptying and just doesn't have the suction to empty the bowl.

Jim D

12:16AM | 03/08/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
RMedina - hi, in reading through this BBS for a couple years, I've seen this problem described various ways. The problem is either something stuck/clogging the drain line, or your vent stack is plugged. The toilet doesn't use suction to work - the flush action relies on the tank water forcing the contents of the bowl to flow over the trap in the base of the toilet. That flow then carries the waste down the drain line. I believe the vent stack allows air to exit the drain lines so the lines don't "vapor lock".

LonnyThePlumber or one of the other pros will hopefully post some troubleshooting actions you can take to try and clear the clog. I'm guessing you can start with a good plunger to see if you can loosen/pull a clog out of the trap and back into the bowl. Next would be to use a toilet drain auger that will work in the fairly tight/narrow bends of the toilet trap. Then, you might need to get onto the roof to check your vent stack for that toilet and make sure it's not plugged with water/snow, a bird nest, etc.

Other questions that might need answered - are you on a septic tank or on a city sewer line? If you have septic, when's the last time the tank was pumped out? Is this problem more apparent in the winter than in the summer? Do you have large bushes/trees growing over the top of the drain line outside the home? Did the problem seem to build over time - in other words, the number of times the bowl fails to empty has gradually exceeded the number of times the bowl empties successfully - or did it seem to occur "overnight?" Has anyone flushed sizable paper products (e.g., feminine napkins) down the toilet versus using the trashcan?

I hope this helps you some - and I'm sure the experts will help you better (I'm just an "advanced novice" when it comes to plumbing). Good luck - regards! Jim D/West Point, VA

RMedina

03:37AM | 03/08/05
Member Since: 03/06/05
4 lifetime posts
Jim..thank you for your advice. I will take notice of it and pass that information on to my landlord. This problem was not present until after my toilet was worked on by my landlord. He changed out the float and it's components. I am on city sewet system and this problem just recently started. Since my wife and I are the only ones who use this facility I can honestly say it shouldn't have anything of large capacity inside it. Again...thank you.

Jim D

12:38AM | 03/10/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
RMedina - hi, here's another question...does the toilet flush completely if you hold the handle down for 7-10 seconds? It's possible your landlord didn't properly adjust/test the toilet after he installed the new float & components. Some people will hold the hanle down for several seconds and others will push the handle and immediately release it. If the components were adjusted to work for the "handle holder" then they may not work every time for the "handle pusher".

Another thing I experienced recently was a handle mounted on the front of the tank. The handle had some parts built into the handle itself that affected its operation. Adjusting the chain from the handle to the float didn't work so I had to look around a bit to find a new handle.

You should be able to remove the top of the tank and watch how the float and components operate. Hopefully, you'd see if there's something happening inside the tank that's causing the problem. Of course, it could be coincidence that something else like the vent stack became plugged/obstructed after the tank repair was completed.

I hope the landlord gets your problem fixed - regards! Jim D/West Point, VA

RMedina

03:53AM | 03/10/05
Member Since: 03/06/05
4 lifetime posts
Jim...as you mentioned the flushing is affected by how long the handle is held down. And by coincidence...I have found myself holding the handle down longer in order for it to flush completely. Before the landlord worked on it...it was flushing with one push down and release...but now it has to be held down for a while and released just before the water escapes at the bottom. As you mentioned...I do believe that it is out of adjustment and that is what I think I need to do. If possilbe any assistance in helping me adjust it to make it work properly would be greatly appreciated.

Jim D

12:01AM | 03/11/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
RMedina - hi, it sounds like the chain that connects the handle to the flapper valve has too much slack in it. When you flush, the handle and chain's not pulling the flapper up high enough to allow the tank to empty completely before the water movement forces the flapper to seal again.

Turn off the water to the tank, take the cover off the tank, then empty the tank by flushing. Watch and make sure the handle, chain, and flapper aren't hitting other components inside the tank. Adjust the length of the chain so there's as little slack in it as possible when the flapper is closed. When you push the handle, the flapper should raise to a 75-degree angle or so (but shouldn't go more than 90 degrees). Once you're done, turn the water to the tank back on and test it by flushing.

If this doesn't seem to work, you may need to swing by a H-ome D-epot or L-owe's, visit the Plumbing section, look at the displays and talk with someone there. They may be able to locate the same repair kit your landlord used, and help you determine what other corrective actions you can try.

I'm not a plumber, but merely a DIYer who's installed some of those repair kits in the past. They can be installed wrong but the problem you're describing sounds like a fairly easy flapper chain length adjustment is all that's needed. Let us know if this helps you or not. Regards! Jim D/West Point, VA

RMedina

12:27PM | 03/12/05
Member Since: 03/06/05
4 lifetime posts
Well..believe it or not.i may have solved the problem. I bought a 3 ft hand-held auger type part at Wal-Mart and used it. It removed a woman's make-up brush from inside. I think that was my problem...cause it appears to be working fine now. Thank you for all the help Jim D. You may not be a plumber buy you sure are as good as one. The wife was out of town...so of course she had no idea how it got there...Ha Ha. Take care and hope to talk with you again.
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