Get A Full Flush

By Mark J. Donovan

August 12, 2016 4 min read

If you have one or more toilets flushing slowly or not completely you may very well have a systemic problem somewhere in your home's waste-vent sewer pipes. It is important to understand that there are three key ingredients necessary for a toilet to flush properly:

--Sufficient water running through.

--Adequate air venting to allow the flushed material to keep moving during the flush.

--No blockages to hamper the movement of the water, waste and air through the toilet.

Fail to deliver on any one of these three ingredients and a toilet will not flush properly. If you have a toilet or multiple toilets flushing slowly and incompletely then you need to troubleshoot, diagnose and solve the problem by following the steps listed below.

*Step One

Use a plunger to remove any potential blockages in the waste line of the toilet. Make sure you use a plunger that can make an effective seal with the toilet bowl. Also make sure the plunger is fully submerged in the toilet bowl water when plunging to ensure a strong enough plunge of air into the toilet bowl outlet. This process should loosen any blockage and allow the water and waste to begin moving freely again through the toilet and waste pipe.

*Step Two

Turn off the water to the toilet tank, and then flush. Using rubber gloves feel for any obstructions in the toilet P-trap. Also check in the toilet inlet for any debris that could be clogging it. Then turn the water to the toilet tank back on.

*Step Three

Remove the toilet tank cover and check the water level in the tank. The water line in the tank should be such that it is sitting about 1 inch or less from the top of the overflow tube. If it is lower than that, the toilet may not be getting enough water to fill the waste pipe and to create enough suction when you flush the toilet. If necessary, adjust the screw on the float ball assembly so to adjust the standing water level in the tank.

*Step Four

When flushing the toilet, listen for any gurgling sounds coming from other nearby drains, e.g., the bathroom sink as well as other nearby sinks. If you hear gurgling sounds, then this is an indication that the toilet vents are blocked. You will need to get up on your home's roof and clear the vent stack pipe. There may be leaves, sticks or pine needles clogging it. Run a garden hose down the pipe and spray water down it. This should, hopefully, clear any clogs.

*Step Five

Using a straightened paper clip, poke the water inlet holes around the inside rim of the toilet bowl to clear any mineral deposits that may be clogging them. Mineral deposits can impede water flow into the toilet when you flush, which ultimately prevents the formation of adequate suction required for proper flushing.

*Step Six

Use a toilet auger to clear the waste lines if you've done all of the above and still not had success. Insert and feed the auger line into the toilet bowl until you encounter resistance. Then crank the auger handle to work the auger head through the blockage.

*Step Seven

Lastly, run a sewer auger down the roof vent stack to clear out any obstructions that the water hose may have failed to remove. Again, when an obstruction is felt, crank the auger handle until resistance is eliminated.

By following these seven steps, you should be able to resolve your home's toilet woes.

Mark J. Donovan's website is at http://www.homeadditionplus.com.

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