A Common But Nasty Problem?

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remove it in the direction it entered. I know removing a broken drill bit is done the same way. But, $600 bucks for a plumbing video when the toilet is clogged seems obsessive. It's too bad you got stuck for such a bill I would have expected them to at least comp you the repair after charging that amount of money.....Ross
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They video taped the main line. This was after I took the toilet off 3 separate times, burned my face with acid trying to fix it, and ultimately the sinks in the basement started backing up. That's when I took the plunge (no pun intended) and called the videographers. Never again.

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And there is your problem.
If you call a plumber, and ask him to video a line, he will oblige.
You should have asked him to CLEAR the line.
But, first you tried to save some money doing something you know absolutely nothing about (but hey - how hard could it be? It's just plumbing right? Anybody with an asscrack can do plumbing!)
And in the course of all this, you burned yourself with nasty chemicals, wasted hours if not days pulling fixtures that did not need to be pulled (A plumber uses this strange device built into your system - it's called a CLEAN OUT), and then spent who knows how much to pay somebody to do something that wasn't needed.
And so now, because you didn't know what the hell you were doing, or what needed to be done, and so got burned again - you have resolved to NEVER call a plumber again.
That's clever.
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that one but heck...haven't we all....take care, Ross
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I hardly think my response was vulgar. Humorously worded, perhaps. I am truly amazed at the odd things people will try for a problem that has two well-known, inexpensive and effective solutions. So much so that I really thought a couple of you were kidding.

Plumbers ARE expensive, but plungers and closet augers are very inexpensive. I've never considered calling a plumber for a clogged toilet.

It doesn't particularly surprise me that a shop vac might be able to pull out a toilet clog. But I am quite sure that I can plunge almost any clog in less time than it would take you to to just get your shop vac into the bathroom. The few clogs serious enough to require a toilet auger take another minute or two.
Neither one of these methods requires cleaning out a hose, bucket, and attachments or replacing a filter. I don't think my sensibilities are overly delicate, but I can't imagine how to clean out a corrugated hose that's had the contents of a toilet run through it. I'm betting it's done outdoors and is less than completely effective. Could the whole process take any less than a half hour?
My answer to the original poster's "honest question" was simple and obvious and I stick by it: Use a plunger first; it almost always works. Use a closet auger in the rare occasions when that fails.
Greg Guarino
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When a toilet and its drainpipe are seriously clogged, you can plunge until exhaustion and all you will do is break the seal at the bottom of the toilet. Been there, done that, replaced the ceiling and the light below. Talk about gross cleanup.
Then there are the "closet augers". I own several attachments to the drill, and have rented a few. Sorry, there's nothing easy or fun or clean trying to wrestle a springy wire thing, or to clean it.
Give me the shop vac any day.
wrote:

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Hmmm. It sounds like you haven't actually seen a closet auger. Here's a picture:
http://ace.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pACE2-953623dt.jpg
It doesn't attach to a drill. The rigid piece of pipe prevents you from having to wrestle with the snake. Its curved end allows you to insert the snake directly into the toilet drain opening. The 3' length of the unit keeps your hands at a safe distance from any muck. The rubber sleeve prevents the pipe from scratching the bowl. In short, it is a single-function device designed for exactly this task.
The picture may be misleading because it shows the snake fully extended. You start off by witdrawing the "crank" end from the pipe. This leaves just the "head" of the snake protruding from the pipe, so you can easily insert it into the toilet. There is actually a rigid rod inside the pipe, rather than more snake. When you retract it it still allows you to crank the snake.
You crank it a bit and try to feed more snake into the toilet. Then you crank a little more, insert a little more, etc. I can usually tell when I've gotten through the actual obstruction. It has never taken me more than a couple of minutes.
As for cleanup, I usually just hit it with a hose and then hang it up somewhere. It is not at this point clean enough to eat off (although probably cleaner than your vac hose), but it has no other function and I don't keep it in the kitchen.
To each his own and all, but given that I have never run across a clog that can't be fixed quickly with a plunger or closet auger, I see no reason to try something that seems slower and messier.
Greg Guarino
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The shop vac idea is a new one to me too. Now I know why some go so cheap at garage sales. I'd never!
First step is to have a good plunger. Heavy duty with the second smaller tube that fits inside the toilet drain opening. Have bowl approx. 3/4 full of water. Now take that plunger and smash it down along the side of the bowl until as many air bubbles as possible are seen. While holding the plunger compressed under water wiggle/slide it over the drain opening. Make sure it seats properly over the drain opening, and then pull up. This sucks the debris back the way it came from, and loosens it much more quickly.
If that doesn't work the next step is to use the aforementioned toilet auger.
If that doesn't work the next step is to rent a roto rooter type device.
If that doesn't work the next step is to pull the toilet and look around inside the curvy cavern with a little mirror on a stick. One time I found a snuff can lid wedged in there sideways that the auger and roto passed right on by. The lid kept catching toilet paper on every flush.
Plunger works 90% of the time Auger for that next 8% Roto rooter for the next 1% Pull toilet for the last 1%
Shop vac, ROFL!
Acid? Well, I ain't never done no acid man...
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When I was a kid, we had malfunctioning toilet. My sister h ad dropped a little aluminum dish that was part of her tea set -- it was clogging the drain line.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Closet auger cleanup: Flush toilet while auger is fully inserted into bowl/drain. Seriously, it works reasonably well.
I cleared a slow running toilet this Saturday for a friend. Cranked on the closet auger for a couple minutes, and pull the flush handle. When I withdrew the snake, some rust and hair came back. And then the bowl flushed completely. Much better.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Interesting use for a shopvac.

Remind me never to buy a used vacuum from you on ebay. ;) Or did you just return the vac to HD when you were finished with it?
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You people terrify me. What, exactly, are you flushing? What are you eating?
Now, don't get me wrong. Like most people, I too, have stood up and found things that amazed me.
But really, this is the second 'mammoth turd problem' post in less than 4 days.
Remember: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.
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My toilet clogs all the time. What can I say? I have an unrestricted intestine. I use the plunger at least 1/3 of the time. They simply don't make drains big enough on most toilets. I've never had a problem with those higher pressure institutional toilets though.
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TMI
Too Much Information
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No it's not. What data, exactly, do you think should go into desining a residential toilet? You may get queasy, but I'm a afriad a most important parameter would be the sizes and distributions of sizes of human turds.
Frankly, my family has the same complaint. We're not from Mars. Why aren't residential toilets designed for humans?
Banty
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Because they are designed by politicians. Buy an old (or Canadian) toilet that uses more water, especially one with a syphon, and your problems are over. My wife clogs toilets all over the place, but never at home since mine use more water. Politicians think it saves water to flush 3 times and call a plumber.
--
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Nick Hull wrote:

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Wack toilet with sledge to loosen clog, as many times as needed. Now call plumber for a more expensive, toilet replacement job.
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Ron Hubbard wrote:

Dig a two holer out back.......
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Ron Hubbard wrote:

Around here plumbers don't want to unclog drains. Look in the Yellow Pages under Drain Cleaning or some such. It's money well spent -- 2 hrs and $75 and you're home free with no mess.
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