07:49PM | 10/23/05
Member Since: 10/22/05
5 lifetime posts
I have a new house with two Gerber toilets (1.6 gpf/6.0 lpf, 17"). Intermittently, it does not flush completely. It needs a plunger to clear the lines. Also, the water level appears to be low from time to time. I've never had a problem like this before. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


11:51AM | 10/27/05
Member Since: 08/29/04
227 lifetime posts
This problem could be related to the tank or the trap. In a new 1.6 gallon toilet, the bowl has 1.6 gallons and the tank has 1.6 gallons. When you flush the toilet, you are replacing the bowl water with the tank water. If the bowl doesn't re-fill completely every time you flush, you will have to expend part of the tank water to fill the bowl to its apex before it will flush. This will cause the toilet to have a weak flush or it won't flush. The bowl is refilled by the 1/4" tube that extends from the top of the float valve to the center pipe in the tank called the overflow. If it has no water flowing through the tube or the tube is not in the overflow, the bowl will not refill after a flush.

If the flapper doesn't stay up long enough, you won't have enough water leaving the tank to the bowl. Sometimes flappers close too soon because they are water logged.

If something has gotten down past the flapper into the rim of the toilet where the water begins the flushing action, the water will not enter the toilet with enough speed to create a flush. I have seen pieces of toilet tank cleaner inside the rim.

If the tank doesn't fill to within 1 inch of the top of the overflow tube, it will not have enough water in it to flush the toilet properly. The level of water can be adjusted to increase the volume by raising the float.

If the trap of the toilet is not glazed, then scum can build up on the inside of the trap and make it block up more often. In addition paper products can catch on the rough surface and begin to catch other items.

If the vent on the roof is blocked or partially blocked, the toilet will not flush properly. The key is, for every gallon of water you put into the toilet you have to move a gallon of air. If the air has no place to go, the toilet will not flush right. I have seen everything from a birds nest to a dead rat blocking the main vent of a house.

Believe it or not, a toilet is a very delicately balanced item. Since they have switched to 1.6 gallon toilets, they have had to strike a very thin line between flushing and water conservation.

Good Luck.

Raymond VinZant Plumbing Prof.


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