04:23PM | 08/11/01
Member Since: 08/10/01
2 lifetime posts
Toliet will flush but won't take anything down. When I have poured chemicals down, it will work for the one flush, then the next time it will not. I have a septic system and am worried it may need to be pumped, (it was cheked a year ago when the house was purchased). I am not having any other water issues. Not sure if it is a blockage or an issue with the toliet. Please Help!

Jay J

07:22AM | 08/12/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Ronsbury,

Well, for starters, with a septic system you want to AVOID pouring anything caustic down the drains. They only wreck havoc on a system. If you're a family of 4 (including, say, 2 small children), then depending on your living habits, you may need to have your system cleaned at least once per year. A lot depends on what your family uses for soap, shampoo, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, and what goes down the disposal. You may already know what you're suppose to do (and not suppose to do) when it comes to septic-living, but for perhaps your benefit (and that of others that might be interested), it's BEST to 'educate' yourselves on how to live w/a septic system.

The fact that your system was OK a year ago, as you've already read, it's VERY easy to get behind the 8-ball. Now, let's agree to get past that ...

Yes, it sounds like the blockage is in the line somewhere's between the toilet and the septic tank. What you need to do now is remove the toilet from the floor. Be VERY careful when working w/the screws and such that hold the toilet down. Over tightening can break the porcelin; Under tightening may cause a leak. (You'll need to buy a new Wax Ring when you put the toilet back.)

Now that the toilet is off, assuming you have a 3-gallon tank, pour 3 gallons down the drain, carefully but steadily. Have a mop handy. After that, pour a 2nd bucket down there, carefully but steadily. (Have 2 3-gallon buckets w/you pre-filled because, assuming the 1st one goes down as you say w/no problem, we want to see how much water the piping will take before you see if fill to floor-level. See what I mean?)

Assuming that something like 5 gallons goes down before the water fills up to floor level, that will give you an idea of how far down the blockage is. And by watching the water 'leach down', you might have an idea of how LARGE the thing-that's-causing-the-blockage is. From there, you need to find what's known as a Clean Out. Remove the clean out and use a Pipe Snake to try and 'push' or 'pull' the blockage.

If the piping takes both buckets, and then some, then the blockage may be way down the line. Again, try to snake the line, from 1 clean out to the next, each time insuring there isn't anything in the piping. If you're UNCOMFORTABLE w/all this, call a Pro and have him fix the problem and give your ENTIRE system a check-up. It will be money well spent. He may have info on how to 'use' your system. Your Municipality should have hand-outs too. The WEB is certainly FULL of info on what should go down the pipes.

Consider this a lesson (for lack of better words.) EVERYONE in my Township wants OFF of their septic systems! They prefer the out-of-sight, out-of-mind, system (i.e., public sewer.) You're not alone.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: Don't continue pouring 'stuff' down your pipes. For sure, you'll cause more problems than you're trying to solve. This is why I'm suggesting you have it cleaned, serviced, AND INSPECTED again (to start over.) Again, it's money well spent ...


09:52AM | 08/12/01
Member Since: 08/10/01
2 lifetime posts
Thanks Jay J, I will give it a try!
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