Cleaning drain clogs

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On 11/11/14, 12:52 PM, Ken wrote:

When a toilet flushes slowly, sometimes it's because the water from the tank isn't entering the bowl fast enough to raise the level and get things flowing fast. If it happened to me, I'd dump a bucket of water into the bowl to see if that, too, drained slowly.
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That explanation of the heat generated by the alkaline crystals dissolving in water being sufficient to crack the toilet bowl is a surprise to me. I woulda put that into the "Official reason" category, which is generally as likely to happen as a snowflake in he11.
It seems to me that if a person dumped a whole package of those crystals into a toilet bowl, the water in the toilet bowl would absorb that heat and maybe warm up a few degrees. I'm guessing there would have to be a low water level in the bowl and plenty of those crystals used to generate enough heat to actually cause the porcelain to crack. After all, during the hot summer months, the water in a toilet TANK will be close to room temperature, or 90 degrees in an un-air-conditioned house, and when you flush the toilet, all of that water is replaced with much colder water, say 55 deg. F, and yet it's rare for toilet tanks to crack because of the thermal stresses caused by that sudden 35 degree temperature change. I wouldn't think that adding Drano crystals to a toilet bowl would raise the water temperature of the bowl water by anything even close to 35 deg. F.
But, I'm not going to argue with the nice people at Drano.
--
nestork


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-- Twentyfive doublespaced lines of speculation removed.
The point heat from a reaction of lye+aluminum and water can easily reach 212 degrees. As a point heat source, that is certainly a large enough rapid temperature rise to crack porcelain.
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So you are saying, you don't see a clog now, but it flushes slow at times? It may not be the drain.
It may be the holes around the rib are getting blocked by crud and mineral buildup and not passing the water to the bowl fast enough. It then does not flush with the force needed.
Check the holes. It may be time to clean them or to replace the toilet. If you do, consider a comfort height with elongated bowl and a slow close seat.
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On 11/12/14, 2:36 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I think it's time for a 5-gallon water bucket. I guess a modern toilet won't hold 5 gallons. If you fill it close to the rim and it takes a long time to flow out, that's a slow drain. If it's a clog caused by the tub, I'd expect water to flow into the tub from the drain.
If the drain is slow and the tub isn't affected, it's likely to be the drain channel in the toilet. I have one of those poorly-designed 1.6-gallon toilets that used to be common. When it gets slow, I know I'll end up with a clog unless I do something. I plunge and check with a stopwatch until the time from pushing the lever to the gurgle, is down to normal.
With other toilets, when I've seen slow flushes and the level in the bowl didn't get high, the problem was a low level in the tank. I guess mineral buildup would be harder to fix than adjusting the tank level.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Appreciate your thoughts, but I have done the muriatic acid thing. Some time ago it was worse and that prompted me to remove the toilet to gain access to the drain. When I removed some hair from the drain it did improve, I guess I thought there still might be some hair and crud that I did not remove.
As for your suggestion of getting a "comfort height and elongated bowl" for a new toilet: It is true the toilet is old, just like me. But I am a hard ass Marine and do not require a soft place to crap. A straddle trench would work if it would flush.
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On 11/12/14, 6:32 PM, Ken wrote:

What you need is a 55-gallon drum. Cut it in half to make two "sitters." If you want luxury, put a board across. It will be more comfortable than the jagged edge of the drum, and you can put things like Starbucks coffee, a laptop computer, and a caramel popcorn box on it.
For sanitation, each morning, you should pour some kerosene in it and burn it.
I keep scratching toilet seats with my hard ass. Why don't they make them of cast iron?
With my toilet, a flush takes 6 seconds from the time I push the lever, but it takes only 2 seconds if I pour in a bucket of water. So my flush depends on how long it takes the water to flow from the tank to the bowl.
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On 11/12/14, 6:32 PM, Ken wrote:

I have a 5-gallon toilet that may be more than 60 years old. I try to remember to flush it annually.
When I dumped in a bucket, that left the bowl level low. To my surprise, it didn't flush when I pushed the lever. The rush of water from the tank brought the bowl to its normal level, where it stayed. It overflowed down the drain but didn't flush.
That shows that if the refill tube in the tank doesn't refill the bowl all the way, the toilet may not flush well. If I had an old toilet that didn't flush well, I'd pour water slowly into the bowl to bring it to the overflow level, then see if I got a good flush.
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On 11/12/2014 6:32 PM, Ken wrote:

Good to known Marines never get arthritis in the knees.
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The toilet drain in houses I've lived in are completely separated from any tub or sink drains. Separate stack entirely. It's probably code too.
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Vic Smith wrote:

I thought the same thing, but when I remove hair from the drain under the toilet with the snake, I knew it had to be connected to the tub.
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In wrote:

In older homes, the bathroom sink drain and the bathroom tub drain are often made of lead and they often run along the bottom of the bathroom subfloor and are leaded into the side of the main sewer line right under the toilet.
Here is a photo with one example: http://tinypic.com/r/axl47b/8
It is a photo of an open ceiling from underneath the toilet.
The toilet drain comes down through the ceiling right above the two 2x4's that go across the right half of the photo. The toilet drain then curves (the part that you can see fairly well) and goes through a 2x8 floor joist and ties into the vertical stack that goes down inside the side wall (at the very bottom of the photo).
The two smaller lead drain lines that you can see tie directly into the curved toilet drain line right under the toilet. They are the drain lines for the bathroom sink (the top one) and the bathroom tub (the straighter bottom one).
I see this often in older homes where all of the bathroom drain lines tie in right under the toilet.
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So the drain hardware is enough to keep out the snake, but not hair? Seems strange.
Were they short hairs from someone whose hair is thinning? Or long hairs that fall out after a long time, and are long by then? (IIUC at least in younger people, hairs that fall out are replaced by other hair, but I don't know if that is from the same follicle, or if they drill another hole nearby.
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On 11/12/14, 10:45 PM, micky wrote:

I assumed it was horse hair. I don't know about you, but I help my horse in and out of the tub by grabbing the mane with one hand and the tail with the other.
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Probably code then, because these were old houses. "Toilet stack" and "sink line" are in the vocabulary here. Cook county, IL.
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